'Smash Ultimate' Leaks: Why Nintendo's Freaking Out Ahead of Its Big Launch

What will it take for Nintendo to convince its most hardcore players the virtue of patience?

This week, gamers eagerly awaiting the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate bore witness to various leaks of the game’s big secrets. They spilled onto the biggest Smash fan communities on Reddit and YouTube. What will it take for Nintendo to convince its most hardcore players the virtue of patience?

Nintendo caught an unlucky break when an apparently full version of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch console leaked online over Thanksgiving. Nintendo has not officially commented on the matter, but it has shut down a few YouTube channels that uploaded content early.

Over the weekend, various corners of the internet, including 4chan, Twitch, and YouTube, began witnessing a surge of new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game play and information. The leak, Motherboard reports, was first shared on the Discord server for WarezNX, a community populated by Nintendo Switch hackers. (The WarezNX Discord server has since been deleted.)

In reports from Motherboard and Kotaku, confirmation over the leaked game’s legitimacy came from a single hacker known by either alias “JJ” and “JJB,” an administrator of the Switch piracy community WarezNX. “It is almost unheard of that a major release such as Smash releases this early,” JJ told Kotaku. “It’s very big in terms of leaks.”

Though JJ told Motherboard they banned “low-level users” from the server — “Point of doing it was I did not agree with Smash leaking as early as it did,” they said — JJ has uploaded two different videos on YouTube that show the game’s menu screen.

Piracy is illegal, but for many streamers on YouTube who depend on subscribers and delivering content to them as early as possible, the pressure to upload content early is understood as a “do or die” scenario.

Dystify, a YouTuber known for uploading content out of Nintendo games, came across the full soundtrack of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate out of the leak. Suddenly, Dystify faced the conundrum of uploading the tracks early and keeping his audience happy, or risk being beaten by someone else and losing out on views. Kotaku has the full story.

For the average gamer, it’s actually not hard to avoid leaks and spoiler-y information. As most of the information exists on communities like Reddit, and in the sketchier parts of YouTube, simply not seeking the information out will help preserve the experience — assuming a leaks video doesn’t autoplay after the one you’ve just finished watching.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches December 7 on Nintendo Switch.

*Related video: Watch The Original ‘Super Smash Bros.’ Commercial from 1999.

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