Once in a while, you see gaming outlets reporting about alleged leaks of this or that “dream game” by obscure retailers from countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and more. Today we saw just the latest of those with a fabled “Crash Bandicoot” for PS4 appearing on the site of Swiss online retailer Alcom.
Unfortunately, you should probably hold your horses, and keep your hype firmly chained to the ground. This kind of rumor is, quite frankly, rubbish. If those feeding it to you bothered to do any research (or cared in the slightest about not misleading their readers), it most probably wouldn’t be reported at all.
If we look at Alcom’s site, we see that apparently have some really solid inside sources: they list The Last of Us 2, Gran Turismo 7 (on top of GT Sport), God of War 4, Resident Evil 7, Resistance 4, Red Dead Redemption 2, Half Life 3, Left for Dead 3, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor 2, Alan Wake 2, Destiny 2 and many more, some of which with obviously fake covers.
Of course, I’m being quite sarcastic abut the inside sources, because all of those are essentially false listings. You’re looking at placeholders for games that whoever handles the site simply hopes that might be announced in the future.
Exactly the same can be seen over quite a few other retail websites, especially in localized markets.
It only takes two minutes browsing the site’s most wanted page to understand that we definitely shouldn’t trust it for any kind of “leak,” but obviously those who sell you the big shiny Crash Bandicoot rumor won’t tell you that.
So why are websites like Alcom doing this? It’s actually quite simple. They pick up any rumor about upcoming games, or even simply sequels of popular franchises that aren’t even rumored, and create a placeholder listing for them. This allows them to accumulate early pre-orders, getting an early start over bigger and more popular retailers that only list pre-orders when they effectively have allocation.
Some of those titles might actually happen in the future, so it’s simply a case of throwing excrement at the wall, hoping that some of it sticks.
The funny thing is that media outlets peddle their rumors, this kind of retailer picks them up, and then more media outlets report on the resulting listings at leaks, in an endless cycle of rumor mongering.
At times retailers do mistakenly list games that aren’t announced yet, but that normally happens with productions that have a very close time window between announcement and release, like collections and remasters. In that case, what happens is simply that the retailer already has allocation or pre-allocation from the publisher or distributor, and someone schedules the wrong date for publishing the listing.
In this case, and most of the times in which the “leak” seems “too good to be true,” it’s simply a placeholder to grab your pre-orders early.
This is not to say that a new Crash Bandicoot (or most of the games listed above) will never happen. The possibility of them actually being announced is exactly what small retailers that engage in this kind of practice hope, but they certainly have no information about them. They’re simply guessing and gathering rumors like everyone else could do.
I can certainly understand the temptation to believe. Fans have wanted a new Crash Bandicoot for years, but there’s really nothing to see or believe here. If a new adventure will come for Naughty Dog’s ancestral platformer, you won’t read it on a Swiss retailer’s website.