If you frequent Magic: The Gathering’s official site you may have been surprised to find that Wizards of the Coast put up ‘spoilers’ for the entire set of New Phyrexia in one go. The reason they did this, as opposed to the slow progression of daily cards we’ve seen in the past, is that the “God Book” for the set was leaked on the internet. Yesterday WoTC announced that the people responsible had been discovered:
We regret to report that the New Phyrexia spoilers posted prior to April 25 were done so without authorization of Wizards of the Coast, and that the sources of the leak have been discovered. We have received confessions from both Guillaume Matignon and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa describing what happened and apologizing for their actions. Two other players—Martial Moreau and David Gauthier—have also been identified as being involved.
You can read the full press release on Magic’s official site.
And you can take the Jump for my thoughts on the issue.
There is a good deal of discussion online about whether this is even a problem. People argue that seeing the whole set at once won’t discourage anyone from buying booster packs for the set. That’s probably true, in previous instances all cards were revealed (through official channels) by the time the set was available in stores. But there are two other issues here.
The first one is that WoTC interacts with a number of independent companies (mostly websites, but as you can see from the release some print media as well) and allows them to reveal cards from upcoming sets, which in turn drives spoiler-hunters to those sites and subsequently back to Wizards of the Coast’s, building hype along the way. The reveal of the full list completely undermines this, and those companies that had made legitimate deals with WoTC are now out that many hits to their sites. There’s no point in going to a site to see a spoiler that you already knew about.
The second is an issue of integrity. When a company releases classified information to a critic or journalist with an expectation of discretion any breach of that trust is grounds for action. If nothing else, because a company can’t set a precedent of inaction, that would almost guarantee repeat incidents in the future. WoTC has taken steps to reprimand the people responsible for the leak, but has not pursued legal action so far.
Lastly I think that this story is made particularly sour because the people involved are Pro Tour winners, and one of them is the current reigning champion. Add to that New Phyrexia’s significance to Magic’s timeline, and you end up with a bad situation all around. I think that, business aside, if there is a way to hurt a company’s feelings, then this is the way to do it.