Spoilers have been in the news a fair amount this week, one way and another.
First off was Kotaku printing some leaked spoilers (no spoilers in this link btw, it’s a story about them with links for those who are interested) for the storyline of the forthcoming Modern Warfare 3. This also inadvertently leaked the fact that MW3 existed, which was duly announced officially a couple of days later.
I can’t really think that anyone felt that knowing MW3 existed was a spoiler, unless you think it spoiled the effect of the official announcement (which probably involves everyone pretending that it was a surprise). What I do wonder is how many people who are celebrating Infinity Ward’s next shot at the franchise know or remember that many of the big shots from that studio no longer work there.
In news over here, Steven Moffat (the show runner) complained publically about fans leaking the plot of the first two episodes of this season of Doctor Who. The Times responded magnanimously by leaking the plot of this week’s episode.
In today’s ever-more-connected world, it’s increasingly difficult to avoid spoilers, but evidently this isn’t helped by people actually leaking advance information. You can understand the news sites motivations – nothing like a good leak to get eyeballs on webpages. And it only needs one of your friends to read the spoilers and decide to pass them on to make it irrelevant as to whether you clicked the link yourself or not.
I’m sure both game devs and programme makers don’t have massive issues with spoilers being issued after the game is released or the programme is aired. It still affects players/ viewers but it also props up the PR, and encourages them to play/watch the item as soon as possible – a tricky proposition if you happen to be in the wrong timezone. And whilst this may lead to pirating, you can assume that the real fans will buy the thing anyway when they get the chance, at some point.
But there’s also no doubt that you’ll have a very different experience watching something with a twist in the tale if you don’t know what’s coming than if you do. However commercially clever it is to spoil a piece, it’s pretty much never in the players’ best interests. And if you print spoilers, you may lose the chance to see people’s genuine responses to the forthcoming surprise …