How Rumors Get Blown Out of Proportion on the Internet

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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How Rumors Get Blown Out of Proportion on the Internet



For a perfect example about how 24/7 news coverage of the industry can result in molehills rapidly becoming mountains, look no further than a showdown between Epic Games and Naughty Dog in our very own March Mayhem '10.

It's no secret that rumors become "facts" very quickly in this age of 24/7 gaming news coverage-and-blogging. A quick rumor about how Nintendo's next console will use a chihuahua as a controller gets picked up on one site, then another, and by the time you wake up in the morning it's accepted as fact on the internet that Nintendo has a secret factory down in Tijuana churning the puppies out.

Now here's a silly little story that perfectly demonstrates just how easily things can get blown out of whack. In the current round of our March Mayhem Developers' Showdown, we have a very close race going between Epic Games and Naughty Dog [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/532.182543-Poll-Round-2-South-5-Naughty-Dog-vs-4-Epic-Games].

Now, as we encourage fans to get involved, so do we encourage developers to rally their bases. This story starts (as so many do) via Twitter, as the a challenge of his own [http://twitter.com/Naughty_Dog/statuses/10886950225] calling the other company out: "@Naughty_Dog YOU'RE GOING DOWN! IT'S ON!"

Said "call out" was, of course, all in good fun - both developers have made it more than clear how much they respect and enjoy the others' work, and it was about a (totally awesome) popularity tournament, nothing more. But then, Bleszinksi's Tweet was picked up on Gears of War 3 [http://www.vgarabia.com/2010/03/23/cliffy-b-naughty-dog-youre-going-down/] was looking to take a chainsaw-gun to Nathan Drake and curbstomp him.

To their credit, the folks at VG Arabia did realize their mistake - but not before the news story was one of the hottest-rated top stories [http://n4g.com/dev/NewsCom-496276.aspx?CT=1#Comments] on N4G.com.

As Bleszinski himself lamented [http://twitter.com/therealcliffyb/statuses/10939511506]: "Rule #76: On any given day one of my tweets will appear as a very controversial headline on the game news aggregate site n4g.com."

Behold, the perils of the modern age. The moment you're the developer of any popular game, anything you ever say in public can be used as a weapon against you. Must be a pain in the neck.

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AkJay

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Feb 22, 2009
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Great, now were are probably going to have massive amounts of people sign up JUST to vote for either Epic Games or naughty Dog, then never show their faces here again. It'll be a Turbine incident all over again.
 

Weaver

Overcaffeinated
Apr 28, 2008
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Well, I guess it's called March Mayhem for a reason then!
It really is a pretty chaotic half month ;)
 

DrunkWithPower

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Apr 17, 2009
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Hmmm, it's a good thing I don't have any twitter or videogame company powers. I would make a social tornado that eventually leads down a road of "Bungie, Naughty Dog, Epic, Activision, Bioware, and Valve are now soul property of Nintendo." The fans cry, I drink their tears from a company mug.
 

RvLeshrac

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Oct 2, 2008
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Sites that don't properly source stories (For the mainstream, TMZ and National Enquirer) just drive journalistic integrity down for everyone. Sites that publish completely unconfirmed BS as legitimate news need to be 'curb-stomped' by more reasoned news sites, since it makes them look just as bad as they republish the fake story.
 

AvsJoe

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May 28, 2009
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AkJay said:
Great, now were are probably going to have massive amounts of people sign up JUST to vote for either Epic Games or naughty Dog, then never show their faces here again. It'll be a Turbine incident all over again.
It's no different than what Zynga is doing today. Have you seen the numbers? They're not gonna get stopped unless another company employs the same tactic.
 

BehattedWanderer

Fell off the Alligator.
Jun 24, 2009
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Hehehe...Let's see Nathan Drake wise crack his way out of a chainsaw to the face. Hey, maybe it'll even become one of the old crossover fighters, of the Marvel vs Capcom variety? Epic vs Naughty Dog! Gears of War and Unreal vs Crash and Daxter. Hey, who knows, maybe a few more IP's down the line, and we'll actually see this happen.
[sub]Still waiting on Nintendo vs Omnis, where it's an all-party throwdown of over 200 characters ready and willing to take each other on in the ultimate showdown.[/sub]
 

SharedProphet

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Oct 9, 2008
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John Funk said:
Nintendo's next console will use a chihuahua as a controller ... it's accepted as fact on the internet that Nintendo has a secret factory down in Tijuana churning the puppies out.
Tempted to write a blog post quoting this out of context (and linking back to the article, of course). Writing this comment has assuaged the temptation, though.
 

DrunkWithPower

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AvsJoe said:
It's no different than what Zynga is doing today. Have you seen the numbers? They're not gonna get stopped unless another company employs the same tactic.
*Gasp* My beautiful bracket... Left side is done for. Stupid Farmville.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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Heh...some people just blowing stuff out of proportion...Gotta love it. Dosnt happen just online though...look at any media output...

Well, they realised there mistake...if not too late lol
 

matrix3509

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Sep 24, 2008
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BehattedWanderer said:
Hehehe...Let's see Nathan Drake wise crack his way out of a chainsaw to the face. Hey, maybe it'll even become one of the old crossover fighters, of the Marvel vs Capcom variety? Epic vs Naughty Dog! Gears of War and Unreal vs Crash and Daxter. Hey, who knows, maybe a few more IP's down the line, and we'll actually see this happen.
[sub]Still waiting on Nintendo vs Omnis, where it's an all-party throwdown of over 200 characters ready and willing to take each other on in the ultimate showdown.[/sub]
The chainsaw would be immediately stopped by Drake's diamond-hard hair. Heh...
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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RvLeshrac said:
Sites that don't properly source stories (For the mainstream, TMZ and National Enquirer) just drive journalistic integrity down for everyone. Sites that publish completely unconfirmed BS as legitimate news need to be 'curb-stomped' by more reasoned news sites, since it makes them look just as bad as they republish the fake story.
To be fair, I think there's a legitimate basis for posting rumors, as long as you properly identify them as rumors. "Hey, we're getting reports that X Y and Z, these are unconfirmed but it's very interesting to hear"
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
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Jul 18, 2009
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Can't they just challenge each other to a friendly game of volleyball?
 

BehattedWanderer

Fell off the Alligator.
Jun 24, 2009
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matrix3509 said:
BehattedWanderer said:
Hehehe...Let's see Nathan Drake wise crack his way out of a chainsaw to the face. Hey, maybe it'll even become one of the old crossover fighters, of the Marvel vs Capcom variety? Epic vs Naughty Dog! Gears of War and Unreal vs Crash and Daxter. Hey, who knows, maybe a few more IP's down the line, and we'll actually see this happen.
[sub]Still waiting on Nintendo vs Omnis, where it's an all-party throwdown of over 200 characters ready and willing to take each other on in the ultimate showdown.[/sub]
The chainsaw would be immediately stopped by Drake's diamond-hard hair. Heh...
The chitinous exoskeleton and bones of many a creature has fallen before the whirling teeth of those chainsaws, and never has it met its match.

Until Now...

Cast from the collected mass of a thousand collapsed black holes, Nathan Drake's Hair will Rise to the Challenge. This March...The most dangerous fight the world has ever seen...When the Naughty Dog comes face to face with the Hair of Epic proportions...It. Will. Be.

Epically Naughty!

[sub]Yeah...all that for a silly pun. I know, it's horrible, but I couldn't resist[/sub]
 

the1ultimate

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Apr 7, 2009
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Oh I know that story. It's perfectly true by Hans Christian Anderson. Playing "Chinese whispers" is a good way to illustrate it. It's also an example of <a href=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GossipEvolution>Gossip Evolution.

Of course these days the apparently extreme desperation for controversial news undoubtedly plays a part.
 

Twilight_guy

Sight, Sound, and Mind
Nov 24, 2008
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The Escapist: Causing clamors in the gaming world since 2010

Well, that's a funny story about the overblown nature of the internet sites and news racing to be first. I wonder what would happen if this was a competition between favorite countries...
 

Icecoldcynic

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Oct 5, 2009
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Don't you just love that humble little 'Update' notice at the bottom? It's essentially "Whoops we misinterpeted that slightly... Oh well!".
 

elricik

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Nov 1, 2008
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We should make this an official game at the Escapist. We can see how many fake news stories we can make people believe. Won't that be fun?