Microsoft’s major court leak pierces through the hype

The video game industry revolves around secrets — it often feels like everything about a game in development is closely guarded

Microsoft’s major court leak pierces through the hype

The video game industry revolves around secrets — it often feels like everything about a game in development is closely guarded. It’s a far cry from the literary world, where books are announced and detailed in trade publications well ahead of publication, or in entertainment, where casting news trickles out over a course of years. Video game creation, design, production, and distribution comprise a volatile, ever-shifting process, and for the companies behind the biggest games, too much transparency would dissolve carefully crafted exterior narratives. That’s why it was such a huge deal when Microsoft accidentally uploaded non-public documents to a California court’s file repository last week.

The conversations recorded therein give us a glimpse behind the curtain of hype and marketing, into the reality of a corporation that wants to make more video games, but really wants to make more money. In short: This week’s massive leak reminded us that Microsoft is, after all, a corporation.

On Sept. 15, Microsoft sent the court dozens of documents, which contained hundreds of lines of redacted information, as part of the Federal Trade Commission v. Microsoft case. However, it also mistakenly included pages of company secrets attached to one of those documents. Said secrets had not been redacted, and anyone with a program like Adobe Acrobat could view them in full. That’s what ResetEra forum user LiC, who reportedly first discovered the hidden documents, did several days later. The California court has since taken down the entire FTC v. Microsoft file repository, but not before we got a look into the frank conversations that happen among Microsoft’s executive suite.

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