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Tipster Dupes Journalists with Fake Xbox 720 Info

By - Source: Pocket-Lint | B 24 comments

Today's Xbox and X-Surface rumors were the product of a hoax.

With Microsoft remaining tight-lipped on the details of its upcoming console, the last few months have been filled with snippets of information from inside sources and leaked or rumored specs from those close to the project. Understandably, as E3 draws closer, the rumor mill is going to kick into high gear. This happens with all big product launches. As we get closer to an actual announcement, all kinds of information starts flying around. However, as one tricksy gamer proved Wednesday morning, anyone can make something up and call it a rumor.

The story begins with several sites posting information on Microsoft's upcoming Xbox hardware. Though it's commonly referred to as Xbox 720, someone claiming to work for Microsoft this morning told several sites that the new Xbox would simply be called 'Xbox.' This source also provided additional information, such as details on the previously rumored 7-inch gaming tablet (the source called it 'X-Surface'), and confirmed some of the Xbox 720 specifications we've heard over the past few months. This includes the 8-core CPU for the console itself, as well as the 800MHz GPU.

Unfortunately, as the day wore on, it emerged that this source within Microsoft was nothing of the sort. Posting to the Tumblr 'x-Surface.tumblr.com,' this person explained they had cooked up the hoax to highlight the lack of fact-checking going on in games journalism. 

"Pocket-Lint.com were the first to run with the news, almost exactly one hour after saying 'we have to make an effort to validate'; two hours before I got the chance to reply," the author writes. "It was posted with zero validation, no fact-checking, no source information. Just a simple email basically saying 'I work for Microsoft - believe me?'"

The poster goes on to show off screenshots of the email he sent out to Pocket-Lint (as well as others), list the websites that covered the news and claim games journalism is broken. On the flip side, sites like Pocket-Lint and iDigitalTimes are defending the position of the games journalist. Mo Mozuch from iDigitalTimes writes that it's not wrong or harmful to report on rumors. He also says that the people writing the news are also gamers but just happen to be lucky enough to get paid to keep track of all the news.

"Words like 'rumor' and 'alleged' and 'unconfirmed' aren't just CYA phrases. It's the truth. These rumors we find ARE unconfirmed, but that doesn't mean they're harmful or wrong," Mozuch writes, adding, "Pocketlint, the site that was first to be duped by the prankster, went out of its way to say the source was not confirmed by Microsoft and the information could be false."

For its part, Pocket-Lint highlights that it said the information was unverified in its original post and that it took a risk on posting the information.

"We did suspect that we could be taking a punt on the validity, as the paragraph above and in the original story shows, but decided to publish anyway because, like you, we like to read rumours and hearsay," Rik Henderson wrote. "Let us not forget that iPhone 6 rumors appeared the same day as the iPhone 5 was launched, but we still want to read them."

Interestingly, the anonymous tipster behind this hoax says he and most gamers are sick of hearing rumors and unverified information. What's your opinion on rumors? Do you like to read them or would you prefer they not appear in your news feed at all? Let us know in the comments below!

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 23, 2013 10:36 PM
    It's not just the tech/game journalists having the problem. It's the problem of the entire media industry, at least nationally in the US.

    Quote:
    Print first, fact-check never!
  • 11 Hide
    smeghead4269 , January 23, 2013 10:44 PM
    Quote:
    Like you, we like to read rumours and hearsay.

    Speak for yourself.
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 23, 2013 10:36 PM
    It's not just the tech/game journalists having the problem. It's the problem of the entire media industry, at least nationally in the US.

    Quote:
    Print first, fact-check never!
  • 7 Hide
    twisted politiks , January 23, 2013 10:43 PM
    I don't see a problem with reporting rumors, as long as the journalist(s) state such news is based on rumor.
  • 11 Hide
    smeghead4269 , January 23, 2013 10:44 PM
    Quote:
    Like you, we like to read rumours and hearsay.

    Speak for yourself.
  • -4 Hide
    dozerman , January 23, 2013 10:45 PM
    Yup. Just like the fact that an assault rifle was never used at Sandy Hook.
  • -3 Hide
    DRosencraft , January 23, 2013 10:57 PM
    There is nothing wrong with reporting rumors so long as they are listed as being just that; a rumor. It's usually plastered in the headline that it is only a rumor, and anyone who really cares about the topic would have an idea after one article whether or not they are likely to hear facts any time soon. If you don't want to read about something, it's very easy to just not click on it. Now if we're talking about rumors being reported as facts, that IS a problem, but it sounds like this was some guy who is tired of clicking on links to stories reporting rumors, and decided to deal with it in a juvenile way. We talk all the time about the freedom of information on the internet and free speech, but the other side of it is trust that people don't go about spreading patently false info. This wasn't the case of some random info pulled out of a dark corner somewhere - he went out of his way to directly contact these people and lie saying he worked for MSFT. If he didn't like the rumors, then he had an easy fix - stop clicking on every story about the new Xbox or PS4 until E3 in June. Problem solved.
  • 7 Hide
    Shin-san , January 23, 2013 10:58 PM
    A lot of fanboys have been eating up those rumors as well.
  • 0 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , January 23, 2013 11:13 PM
    Quote:
    Interestingly, the anonymous tipster behind this hoax says he and most gamers are sick of hearing rumors and unverified information.
    I'm fine with rumors because I'm smart enough to take them with a pinch of salt. It's fun to speculate on the specs of upcomming hardware. Nearly all of the sites that reported on this leak noted that it was a rumor and was unconfirmed, so I have no problem with them reporting on it. The fake tipster has no business speaking for all gaming fans by saying we're all sick of unconfirmed rumors. Smart people know that all we'll have is rumors until Microsoft and Sony are good and ready to officially unveil their consoles at a hyped up event.
  • 7 Hide
    abbadon_34 , January 23, 2013 11:17 PM
    Good thing the news here is old enough for allow for fact checking, wait a sec...
  • -2 Hide
    mugiebahar , January 23, 2013 11:51 PM
    Fact checking? Are you insane what will Fox News and Fox in general do? You really want them to check facts on top of fabricating them? You know how much work that is, they won't have the time to do both. And personally I love a watching people drummer then me on TV. And that is a hard objective to find people drummer, lol.
  • 4 Hide
    mugiebahar , January 23, 2013 11:53 PM
    Lol i didn't check the post lol. It should read dumber not drummer lol, LMAO I am dumb
  • 4 Hide
    CaedenV , January 24, 2013 1:14 AM
    The only problem with rumor media is that rumors are printed immediately... while facts take Tom's upwards of a week to report on!
  • -5 Hide
    alidan , January 24, 2013 2:10 AM
    Microsoft basically gave up on gaining, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the next Xbox was just a DVR that can also play games. That's that I really do hope they try them at least pushing to get some DirectX 11 elements into the console, like tessellation, if they just managed to get that as a standard feature in the console PC gaming will have something to be happy about, because the console can always use a lower and tessellation map while the PC could use a far higher one, take a look at an old Nvidia tessellation demo where they basically had a 30 polygon model that they had transform into something as a few thousand. Just imaginative maybe the console got 1000 but the PC got 5000.

    That's really my only hope for this console generation is they put features into it that need to be put on the PC games. Because I already know that 3-D models are already modeled in the million polygon range and are scaled back for a real-time play, at least with main characters and such.
  • 2 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , January 24, 2013 2:13 AM
    I think I'm beginning to understand Tom's article release timing.
  • 5 Hide
    madjimms , January 24, 2013 3:09 AM
    dozermanYup. Just like the fact that an assault rifle was never used at Sandy Hook.

    I don't think your comment fits in at all actually.. Maybe post it on a political/news website?
  • 3 Hide
    hakesterman , January 24, 2013 3:29 AM
    Since Microsoft or Sony have offered no details of their up coming system, everything you here is hearsay and Rumor so take it with a grain of Salt. I won't believe anything till i actual see the box spec's in my Hands, and i still may have to lool twice to believe it.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , January 24, 2013 3:35 AM
    hakestermanSince Microsoft or Sony have offered no details of their up coming system, everything you here is hearsay and Rumor so take it with a grain of Salt. I won't believe anything till i actual see the box spec's in my Hands, and i still may have to lool twice to believe it.

    Microsoft's been showing off they want to do with the Xbox for last three E3's

    Apparently they're done with gaming and just want the damn thing to be a DVR with streaming capabilities. They want to be a cable over the Internet service.
  • 0 Hide
    hakesterman , January 24, 2013 3:45 AM
    Microsoft's been showing off they want to do with the Xbox for last three E3's

    " Apparently they're done with gaming and just want the damn thing to be a DVR with streaming capabilities. They want to be a cable over the Internet service. " ----------------

    I was referring to Hardware Spec's not Features, pay attention!
  • 0 Hide
    universal remonster , January 24, 2013 4:40 AM
    "Oooohh I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing." - Hans Landa
  • 1 Hide
    kinggraves , January 24, 2013 6:37 AM
    I agree with the poster above that in general, there is too much misinformation being passed around thanks to internet copypaste journalism. Rumor milling in this case isn't so bad. Maybe Microsoft is reading those responses and using them as actual feedback. Maybe they ARE the ones that let these rumors slip so they can get opinions on them. What's really the issue is that the reader does not have the sense to separate reality from rumor and treats it as fact. There is also the fact that there are different degrees of rumor. The journalist should not only say "this is a rumor" but that it is an unconfirmed source with no verification or reliability. Then again, they wouldn't get a lot of hits with that tagline, would they?
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , January 24, 2013 8:31 AM
    hakestermanMicrosoft's been showing off they want to do with the Xbox for last three E3's" Apparently they're done with gaming and just want the damn thing to be a DVR with streaming capabilities. They want to be a cable over the Internet service. " ----------------I was referring to Hardware Spec's not Features, pay attention!


    That is my point, how much hardware you need to actually have a DVR. From the way I see it Xbox get away with a very minimal jumping graphics capabilities. And for the last 3 E3s they haven't given a damn about gaming.

    Given what they've been giving us the last three E3s what you think is more plausible that they finally want to dump an eight core processor and have an ungodly GPU on there or do they just want to get by on the bare minimum may be increase the graphics of the system and dump a DVR and it.

    I'm honestly more interested in what Sony has to do because the only part of the company that's really profitable right now is there gaming section, they're probably going to dump 4K into the console just so they have some kind of a platform to offer 4K video when the TVs that actually support it come out to the consumer market and that the insanely rich high-end market. And because Sony is really just banking on the gaming side of their business keeping the rest of it afloat right now I can honestly see them trying to dump a few more things into their system the Microsoft levered dream of just because they only did gaming right. But because I'm almost convinced that Microsoft is going to be the lead platform again I want them to at least have the bare minimum of tessellation in their system so it can affect the PC and a far greater way than the console will.

    Yeah I know I'm being a bit pessimistic about this but I'm just looking at what they're giving us, and they have given us nothing to hope for from last three years. Hell Nintendo has given us more of hope for with the purchase of Bayonetta 2.
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