A video game website owned by British magazine and digital publisher TI Media, issued an apology to Take-Two Interactive for running a story based on a “Red Dead Redemption 2” leak, and donated “over £1 million to charities chosen by Take-Two Games.”
“On February 6, 2018, we published an article that was sourced from a confidential corporate document,” according to the post that hit the site Thursday afternoon. “We should have known this information was confidential and should not have published it. We unreservedly apologise to Take-Two Games and we have undertaken not to repeat such actions again.”
The article, which detailed a number of aspects of the game including a battle royale mode, has since been replaced by the apology.
Neither Trusted Reviews nor Rockstar Games responded to questions from Variety about whether any laws were broken in obtaining the “confidential corporate document,” if either entity were concerned about the chilling effect this might have on video game journalism or why the two agreed to this apparent settlement.
Take-Two did issue a statement to Variety about the apology before receiving questions.
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“Take-Two takes security seriously and will take legal action against people or publications who leak confidential information,” the Take-Two statement reads. “Because this situation involved information about ‘Red Dead Redemption 2,’ Rockstar Games directed the settlement funds to these three great charities: the American Indian College Fund, the American Prairie Reserve, and the First Nations Development Institute.”
Leaks are not unusual in the field of entertainment, especially in video games. Rarely, though, do they lead to successful legal action or take-downs.
For instance, in 2011 Kotaku published a series of stories that not only prematurely unveiled “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” it features images, audio, plot details, modes and weapons from the game. It was one of the biggest leaks in the video game industry’s history.
Activision, publisher of the Call of Duty games, didn’t attempt to take down the stories nor did the company threaten any legal action. Instead, it pushed forward its advertising campaign. Ultimately, the massive leak didn’t appear to have any impact on the game’s sales.
In 2007, Kotaku posted leaked details of a major initiative by PlayStation to create an online world for players. After the story hit, PlayStation blackballed Kotaku, but within hours — amidst public outcry from gamers, journalists, and developers — the company backtracked and apologized. That face-off, and the company’s decision to back off its threats, ultimately led to PlayStation becoming more open with a larger selection of journalists about their titles and business.