In the world of Ubisoft’s recently revealed near-future action game Watch Dogs, information is a valuable commodity that is harnessed by companies and individuals alike. In the gameplay video showed off at E3, the protagonist is quickly able to learn about the people in his immediate surroundings by hacking into the ctOS, a central system in which every citizen’s information is stored. The game’s story presumably serves as a cautionary tale, as we consistently give up more information to the cloud and reveal more about ourselves via the publicly accessible Internet. It would seem Ubisoft did too good of a job of extending this cautionary tale to the real world, as they managed to leak thousands of email addresses of folks participating in an alternate-reality game revolving around the mark in the aforementioned gameplay video.
Gamers following the art gallery featured in the gameplay video, Joseph Demarco’s dotconnexion, were sent an email announcing the untimely death of the gallery’s founder in a “tragic, yet unexplained accident” (watch the video for the explanation). Unfortunately for said gamers, many of the emails contained all the addresses to which the email was sent in the CC line, instead of being invisible due to being entered in the BCC line. A whole slew of gamers anticipating the release of the title now know the ramifications of entrusting their information to the cloud, but I can’t imagine they appreciate the opportunity to learn what its like to have personal information accessible to the masses. And for those of you questioning whether this was indeed just a further layer in the ARG, and wondering if all the other email addresses might have been fake, Kotaku is reporting that readers whose email addresses were included in the CC line have been writing in, indicating that they are “now caught in reply-all hell, tangled in ‘a lengthy string’ of unpleasant messages from strangers.” Here’s hoping that’s the worst of it.