Here’s how YouTube’s new gaming leak culture actually works

June 3, 2024 by No Comments

According to a report from 404 media, the alleged internal Google database tracking has potential privacy and security issues, with an employee responsible for several leaked Nintendo ads in the past. But according to our sources, this is just the tip of the iceberg in this new Google/YouTube leak culture. First, it should be emphasized that 404 Media’s report is based on data spanning 2013 – 2018, but this is still a problem.

Two days ago, I tweeted YouTube has investigated two cases (that I know of) when employees violated their contractual agreements by accessing data in the backend. While only one of these investigations is purely gaming-related due to leaking ads, it’s important to dive into the first example and how it led to a significant internal investigation that cost some people their jobs.

The first research was done at the end of 2022. The catalyst? ‘Try not to make me laugh’ video by popular content creator KSI. Back then, he used to do a weekly YouTube series called KSI ‘Try not to make me laugh’ In it, if he smiles, he will display an Amazon gift card on screen for one of his viewers to redeem. At first, he started with $100 per gift card per laugh and got more and more with each video. In the last video, KSI offered $1000 per laugh, bringing the total amount of cards for his fans to redeem to over $10,000+. the catch? They were all redeemed before the video went public.

The scandal led KSI and his team to tap YouTube, which resulted in Google conducting an internal investigation. According to our sources, who wished to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak about the company’s internal processes, the investigation led to the dismissal of some people, some of whom were not privy to the scandal. “Your videos aren’t just viewed for monetization approval,” a source said. “They see employees all the time,” they continued. This includes private, scheduled or unlisted: showcases, game announcements and other footage not intended to be released.

Of the two that I know of, YouTube’s second investigation happened right after the GTA 6 leak, which might just be a coincidence. After all, it’s now common knowledge among those in the industry that many gaming leaks come from unlisted, scheduled, or private YouTube videos — and an investigation may already be underway at this point. However, the outcome probably led to disciplinary action against one or more individuals.

However, these findings do nothing to stop it from happening again.

Sony’s recent state of play was a big eye-opener for me, and the latest example I can tell of just how widespread this new YouTube leak culture is. Within about 18 hours of State of Play being scheduled on YouTube, four different people sent me the full game listing. Some game names are slightly different from others, perhaps due to the different regions and the rush to write each one first, but they are all generally recognizable. Such a person said that the information was sold to a stranger for a small three-figure sum, and then spread it to more people for validation.

It is unclear how this will be resolved. However, repeat searches clearly aren’t working, and not uploading content to YouTube before an ad is a marketing nightmare for publishers. For example, it’s not ideal for your first glimpse of a game to be in 360p due to YouTube’s inferior processing times. Then, there are other marketing needs like sending content to marketing partners, content creators, media and more.

But yes, there you have it. A lot of information gets leaked before it’s revealed, at least to my understanding anyway. After all, it is no coincidence that accurate information was leaked before it was revealed as it was.

It’s also a mystery why people aren’t being removed for breaking the rules, but there are probably so many people viewing this behind-the-scenes content that it’s impossible to remove so many people.

Dataming and searching for trademarks are also common ways for people to find information, and I can discuss them further in the future if requested. But I also want to suggest readers Reddit post from Jason SchrierIt describes in detail several other ways of sourcing.

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