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Tipster Dupes Journalists with Fake Xbox 720 Info

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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  • A Bad Day
    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.

    Print first, fact-check never!
    Reply
  • twisted politiks
    I don't see a problem with reporting rumors, as long as the journalist(s) state such news is based on rumor.
    Reply
  • smeghead4269
    Like you, we like to read rumours and hearsay.
    Speak for yourself.
    Reply
  • dozerman
    Yup. Just like the fact that an assault rifle was never used at Sandy Hook.
    Reply
  • DRosencraft
    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.
    Reply
  • Shin-san
    A lot of fanboys have been eating up those rumors as well.
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    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.
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    Good thing the news here is old enough for allow for fact checking, wait a sec...
    Reply
  • mugiebahar
    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.
    Reply
  • mugiebahar
    Lol i didn't check the post lol. It should read dumber not drummer lol, LMAO I am dumb
    Reply