Games

Why Nintendo Fans Think This Porn Account Knows the Company's Secrets

Like Apple, Nintendo tries to keep what they're working on a surprise. That only makes people want to know what's going on even more.
March 27, 2020, 12:40pm
An image from Nintendo's popular Nintendo Direct promotional videos.
Artwork courtesy of Nintendo

For the past few days, the Nintendo fan community has been on the edge of their seat with a single question: did a random and anonymous cam girl with the Twitter account @HotGirlVideos69 accurately leak that Nintendo would hold a Nintendo Direct this week?

The prediction was bold. Just week after the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, more or less exhausting the games Nintendo has announced for release, there would be a major Nintendo Direct where the company would show a trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 and, perhaps more importantly, a teaser for a secret Metroid game.

“Learned from a guy I called a cuck beta over webcam,” said @HotGirlVideos69 on Twitter nearly two weeks ago, in a tweet that tagged several members of the video game media.

There are few events more anticipated than a Nintendo Direct. The slick public relations videos started back in 2011 as an easy way for the company to communicate new game announcements and updates to games in development. The rest of the industry has, in the years since, ripped off the idea. Nintendo Directs tend to happen every few weeks, but occasionally, the company will go longer stretches without one. In their absence, people begin speculating, and the Nintendo Rumor Industrial Complex takes over, in which the latest Nintendo “insider” becomes a temporary prophet for those desperate for guidance.

Recently, @HotGirlVideos69 became that prophet. There was evidence to believe, too.

On March 5, @HotGirlVideos69 made another bold prediction: E3 2020 would be cancelled. This came a week before the official news was handed down, but the same day the creative outfit iAm8Bit announced it would no longer collaborate on planning the event. That day was the first time various sources began telling me cancelling E3 might be on the table, but the emergency meeting that would decide E3’s fate would not happen for another four days.

It was, in theory, certainly possible someone had been in, around, or told about a high-level conversation where cancelling E3 was discussed; at that time, people were talking about it. It was also possible someone was lobbing a rumor grenade for attention because that’s how the Video Game Rumor Industrial Complex sometimes operates. You only have to get lucky.

Only days later, E3 was cancelled, and @HotGirlVideos69 was showered with praise by fans eager for someone to leak them information, and even acknowledged by the industry itself.

“Like no joke I would say about 20% of my clients happen to be in the video games world,” said @HotGirlVideos69 to me over Twitter DMs a few weeks back, after the E3 news was confirmed and they were waiting for confirmation of their latest prophecy, a Nintendo Direct.

@HotGirlVideos69 asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of their work, and would not disclose the people she talked to during her sessions. That’s understandable; it’d be like asking a reporter to disclose a source, and the nature of @HotGirlVideo69’s work depends on anonymity. They did successfully verify control of a Pornhub profile that's been posting videos for over a year, but those videos feature content stolen from other performers, a common practice on the platform. I could not confirm that they are actually a performer, or that they have any clients.

As they tell it, passing on the E3 information proved exciting for @HotGirlVideos69, and caused them to gamble on passing on the information potentially related to Nintendo, too.

“So many of [my clients] breaking NDA [non-disclosure agreement] stuff is like part of the experience when I make them tell me stuff,” they said. “I never thought about posting it until the E3 thing happened. But now I'm like 'fuck why didn't I do this a long time ago.”

Getting attention for leaks means more attention for their Twitter account, which means the potential for new clients and more money. That spigot dries up if they are a false prophet.

According to @HotGirlVideos69, a typical session involves guys reaching out to her via alt accounts, a way of anonymizing their own identity. She charges per minute, and the sessions take place over services like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger. She starts out by discussing a client’s fetishes over private messages. Then, the session begins.

“Some guys like to be abused virtually, spitting on a piece of clear plastic I put in front of my cam as if I am spitting on them,” she said. “Other guys are Doms [dominants].”

When I first spoke to @HotGirlVideos69, they were a little nervous. Their Nintendo Direct proclamation on March 16 had promised the Nintendo Direct would happen “next week.” “Next week” had arrived and there was no indication anything was going to happen. The biggest red flag was Nintendo’s silence; they tend to promote their upcoming events, and one with news about Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid would seem like one to start teasing.

And so, they started to hedge.

“I'm not confident in the Nintendo one as much,” they told me last week. “That guy [is] not as good usually as the E3 guy was. I’m hoping he pans out.”

What happened between then and now, of course, was various parts of the world, including the United States, suddenly taking the novel coronavirus more seriously, and it was impacting everything, including games. Thousands of video game employees were now working from home, and the developers of Animal Crossing had already warned there could be delays on upcoming content because of the coronavirus. A lot of things were up in the air.

Was it possible Nintendo had decided to delay or cancel this supposed Nintendo Direct?

Then came GamesBeat reporter Jeff Grubb, who said a Nintendo Direct was happening in that “next week” window: March 26. A new prophet was born. But the burden of the prophet is heavy, as the collective anxiety of hardcore Nintendo fans stuck at home and looking towards their favorite company for a brief slice of escapism through kitchy marketing was turned towards Grubb. The company continued to remain silent about a Nintendo Direct.

“Please announce the Direct so people stop asking me about it,” Grubb pleaded at the official Nintendo account on Twitter.

“Same,” replied @HotGirlVideos69. Grubb quickly retweeted the sentiment.

As hours turned into days, speculation turned desperate. The company had published Nintendo Directs without notice, right? Anything was possible, if you believe hard enough.

If the event had been cancelled, it’s unlikely the company would issue a statement about it, meaning Grubb and @HotGirlVideos69 could both have passed on correct information that, over time, became incorrect. Even if that were true, it’s likely the internet would not have been forgiving, and they’d begin their search for another prophet. There is always another.

(I ran into this problem back in February when I absentmindedly mentioned a possible PlayStation 5 reveal event on a podcast. People trust when I speak, and I should have been more careful with the information I was passing on, because it got immediately shared.)

And then it happened. Yesterday morning, Nintendo published a Nintendo Direct Mini:

Grubb, obviously, was overjoyed.

“I couldn't work yesterday while waiting for Nintendo to announce the Direct,” he told me. "I knew it was coming, but there's still all this pressure to get this stuff right—especially after publishing a story about it. And then it's just hundreds of messages from people either getting their hopes up or waiting for you to crash and burn. And none of that is fun.”

The 30-minute presentation featured some cool announcements—a Xenoblade Chronicles remaster, a free update for Ring Fit Adventure, a warning release dates could change due to coronavirus—but there was nothing about Breath of the Wild 2. Nothing about new Metroid.

The difference between Grubb and @HotGirlVideos69 is that Grubb only promised a Nintendo Direct was happening. @HotGirlVideos69 promised what would be inside it, eventually getting as specific as how long the teasers would be for each individual game.

@HotGirlVideos69 was disappointed, but ready to move onto the next potential leak. A good prophet focuses on what they got right, and she claimed to already have someone lined up.

“I'll ask my little cuck,” they said.

Or maybe it was all bullshit. But can you blame people for wanting to believe?

Follow Patrick on Twitter. His email is patrick.klepek@vice.com, and available privately on Signal (224-707-1561).

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