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Anatomy of a Rumor Part 2
February 15, 2005

What happened recently is a perfect illustration of the topics I covered in a previous Musing.

What a lot of people fail to realize is that gaming websites and online stores are notoriously unreliable. They frequently post flat-out inaccurate information, or they take a correct piece of knowledge and then start speculating on it, passing off their speculations as if they were fact.

Take, for example, the Mega Man X Collection. Capcom showed a promotion video of this at a convention, and so several gaming websites picked up on it. Capcom apparently never bothered to say exactly what was included in the package—they didn’t even say what systems it was for. (At least, this is from what I’m told—you know how secondhand knowledge goes.) So some of the gaming websites guessed. They simply drew whatever conclusion they thought was obvious and posted it as if it was fact. This led a number of people to e-mail me with the inevitable, “I know this is true, I saw it on website XYZ!”

It doesn’t help that Capcom is usually quite slow in posting press releases and other new items on their own websites (at least for their English releases). For example, I knew about the XBox version of the Anniversary Collection for months before Capcom posted a press release on it. This means I have a difficult time finding confirmation to these rumors, since I am rarely at these trade shows where they are discussed by Capcom employees, so I end up having to rely on (unreliable) secondhand reports. And with secondhand reports, it’s difficult to determine which part of the report is actual fact, and which parts are pure fabrication by the reporter who is simply turning his own guesses into “fact.”

So it becomes a no-win situation. If I try to post all of these rumors that everyone is so sure are real, inevitably I will end up sometimes posting things which aren’t true. If I don’t post such unfounded rumors, I get the typical flood of e-mails of (all together now): “I know this is true! I saw it on website XYZ!”

Therefore I lean toward the side of accuracy. After all, what if I did post that the X Collection was for PlayStation 2 like everyone is saying, and then Capcom came out and decided to announce it was an exclusive to the XBox? Do you start to see what I mean?

So don’t sweat it. Capcom might take their sweet time in doing so, but they will eventually post official confirmations of those rumors that are accurate. I keep the Previews page updated according to that time schedule. So be patient—we’ll get confirmation long before the game is out anyway.

Oh, and please refrain from sending “I know this is true! I saw it on website XYZ!” e-mails, thanks. =)

- The MegaMaster



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