This week, the 2019 E3 media list was leaked online, the Big Three announced the next steps in reforming loot box mechanics, and Take-Two Interactive investigated a streamer for an alleged breach of sensitive information.
ESA exposes sensitive information of thousands of E3 attendees
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the organization that runs the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), recently exposed contact information and addresses of over 2,000 E3 attendees after a link to the 2019 media list was found on the E3 website. As soon as the ESA was notified of the breach, they shut down the E3 website and removed the link. However, it was not soon enough, as a storm of journalists, editors, and freelancers have since reported receiving anonymous – and some threatening – phone calls and emails. Since the incident, the ESA has faced widespread backlash and criticism for its carelessness. Journalists are now questioning the legitimacy of the ESA, and are unsure of the relevancy or future of E3. Forbes stated, “Right now, it is hard to imagine any journalist or attendee wanting to trust the ESA with their personal information again in the wake of this, which could further depress attendance and coverage (at E3) next year, assuming there is a next year.” Digital Trends, VICE, Kotaku, and more are following the story.
Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony begin to reform loot box mechanics
At the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Loot Box Summit this week, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced that Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have voluntarily agreed to require game publishers on their platforms to disclose the rarity of items that may be obtained through loot boxes in any new games or updates moving forward. By disclosing the odds and rarity of items in loot boxes, the Big Three hope to curb the growing concerns between loot box mechanics and gambling – especially in children under 18. Publishers such as Activision-Blizzard, Bungie, Bethesda, Bandai Namco, Epic Games, and more have since agreed to the disclosures, which will begin to take effect in 2020. More publishers are expected to agree to the disclosures before the 2020 deadline. GameSpot, The Verge, Business Insider, Forbes, and more reported on the news.
Take-Two Interactive sends private investigators to YouTuber’s residence
Borderlands YouTuber Matt Somers – known as SupMatto – published a video this week explaining his unexpected 2-week absence. In the video, Somers reveals that Borderlands publisher Take-Two Interactive sent private investigators to his residence to question him about how he knew sensitive information about the upcoming Borderlands 3 title ahead of its release. Somers explained that he had obtained the information in the archives of a Twitch account found in the official BorderlandsTwitch extension video. After speaking to the investigators, Somers’ Discord channel was terminated and his YouTube channel was hit with multiple copyright strikes. Somers’ claims that he was not the first person to discover the channel or its information, and that he did nothing wrong since the Twitch account was publicly accessible. Take-Two Interactive disputed his claims, however, explaining that the Twitch channel in question should not have been accessible as it was set to private. IGN, Kotaku, PC Gamer, and PASTE Magazine covered the news.