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Bootlegged copies of Kingdom Hearts III leak more than a month before its release

By Cal Jeffrey · 9 replies
Dec 17, 2018
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  1. Kingdom Hearts III is not due out until the end of January, but it appears that copies of the game are already floating around the internet. Games can sometimes leak as their release date approaches. It usually happens after the studio sends out review copies.

    However, with six weeks still to go on KH3, reviewers have not even received advance versions. So it is unclear how the game has made it into circulation.

    A Facebook user going by the name Broderick Jackson was attempting to sell copies for $100 each over the weekend. He had also posted videos to prove what he had was real. Kotaku reached out to the pirate asking how he got ahold of the game so early, but he only said, “I am the man… plain and simple.”

    On Sunday, Square Enix posted a statement from KH3 Director Tetsuya Nomura on Twitter. According to Nomura, what is out there is only a “small portion” of the game and not the entire thing.

    “We’re aware that a small portion of Kingdom Hearts III has been circulating online before its official release,” the director said. “We’re sorry to see this caused concern amongst our fans who are excited for the release.”

    He urged fans not to share the videos and said they had intentionally held back the game’s epilogue and a “secret movie” in anticipation of such an event. He also indicated that they are aware of how the game got out but did not share details.

    In fact, Quinton Flynn, who is the voice of Axel in the game tweeted that “they captured the guy responsible” for the leak.

    The Kingdom Hearts subreddit has since banned any posts containing spoilers including links to video clips. They would like the forum to remain spoiler-free.

    Kingdom Hearts III is due out on January 29, 2019, for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    Hopefully they find whoever leaked it and slap them with a huge bill. These kind of leaks do cause a lot of financial harm to game studios.
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    There is absolutely zero evidence of that.... many argue that it actually HELPS game sales, as more people get exposed to the game. In this case, it’s basically free advertising for the game - I know I had no clue the game was coming out before I saw this article and I bet I’m not alone.

    What makes this more suspicious is that if the game was really finished, why on Earth wasn’t it released before the holidays?!? If a game is released in January, it’s because it wasn’t ready for the holiday buying season.... which leads me to believe that this leak might even be purposeful.

    To be clear, I’m not saying that piracy is good or right, nor am I advocating it - I just don’t think we can accept publisher’s claims that piracy is killing their sales and justify their outrageous prices.
    Reehahs and Burty117 like this.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    This game is being distributed before it's official release. There's a big difference between regular piracy (after launch) and pre-launch piracy. A majority of a game's profit, much like movies, is made in the first month. After that sales taper off. A game being distributed before it even launches is bad news.

    In this case you have people who want to play the game who can simply acquire a pirated copy and play before launch. It should be plain to see that in the case of pre-launch piracy, many people who would have otherwise purchased the game may simply pirate it to get early access. This is unique to games leaked before their official launch.
  5. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    Again, there is zero evidence of that.... pre-release piracy can be argued to act as advertising....
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483



    "Public sharing of movies and TV shows before their commercial release is considered to be one of the most damaging types of piracy."

    "With no official copies on the market, entertainment companies are unable to compete in what would ordinarily be the most profitable window of opportunity for sales. That’s why, year after year, individuals who leak content early become targets for law enforcement."

    That's from torrent freak, a torrent oriented website and even they know this.

    Here's a paper on it: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1782924

    Their conclusions state that, on average, predicted box-office revenues can be reduced by 19% by pre-release piracy compared to post-release piracy.

    In fact there are dozens of articles on pre-release piracy you can read and they all come to the same conclusion, it hurts the movie's revenue.

    Now why don't you share the studies your opinion is based off? I've yet to see your data that says pre-release piracy doesn't affect sales.
    ShObiT likes this.
  7. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,769   +428

    Not trying to get in the middle of your argument, just trying to clarify something that Squid asked about.

    The leak was not the finished game. It was a beta at best, and possibly an alpha.

    Carry on.
  8. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    This study was on the effects of piracy on MOVIE sales, not GAME sales - and while the conclusion seems to support the loss of revenue, the study itself admits that this is not certain - you can never accurately predict what something WOULD HAVE MADE without piracy if it has already been pirated....

    The paper you quote also claims to be the first paper based on empirical data. Piracy has been going on in the digital world for a few decades now.... you might want to ask yourself why this is the first "real" paper on the subject.... could it be because the big companies don't want you to know the real effects?

    The lack of evidence, both for and against piracy, speaks glaringly on our assumptions - "everyone" can tell you that piracy costs the big companies billions.... if this was really true, there would be hundreds of papers supporting it!

    Look at smoking - despite the tobacco industry attempting to suppress them, tons of papers finally surfaced linking it to cancer.

    Until REAL evidence comes out, I am skeptical about the true harm of piracy.

    Once again, I DO want to reiterate that piracy is both morally wrong and illegal - just because I don't think it causes as much harm as most people think, does NOT mean I advocate it in any way!
  9. kevbev89

    kevbev89 TS Maniac Posts: 187   +167

    Well I got curious and googled around. I guess this should help defend your point?


    I think to me it is just kind of a "ughhhhhh" feeling. What fun is there to have the surprise spoiled before the mass majority even see it? It is kind of fun to read the comments when EVERYBODY is enjoying the game together.

    Then again I would take these publications with a grain of salt. There are tons of papers that actively refute and defend a topic over and over. A lot of these papers are written by PhD or academic individuals just pumping out papers with facts they filter out to support their claim.
  10. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    Unfortunately that study does not cover pre-release piracy, only post release. In addition, it was conducted in the Japanese market which certainly affects piracy rates.

    Let me just state this as a closer, I do agree with you on post release piracy, in that it likely does increase sales. It's only the pre-release piracy that I think is problematic.

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