Streamer Dan Allen, who was revealed yesterday as the person behind "The Real Insider" Twitter account that leaked (among other things) Ubisoft's big Assassin's Creed presentation, has apologized for his actions in a new video posted to YouTube, saying he did it all for clout and "the buzz."
"I'm ashamed of it. It was pathetic, and just dishonest," Allen said in the video. "A lot of you are reaching [out] and saying, 'Why the fuck did you do it?' To be honest, it's clout, it's the buzz, it's being addicted to the thrill of thousands waiting on what you're going to say."
When he wasn't posting leaks, Allen was running theDan Allen Gaming channel on YouTube, which features a wide variety of gaming content including guides, walkthroughs, and interviews, and currently boasts nearly 200,000 subscribers. His regular streaming job may not have offered the momentary rush he felt while revealing major secrets ahead of everyone else in the world, but on the other hand, he's also far less likely to be sued as a result of it.
Speaking of which, Allen claimed in his apology that many of his leaks, such as ones involving Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid, did not violate NDAs because they were mostly made up.
"Bullshit. Secondhand comments. Half the posts were educated guesses," Allen said. "For example I put a photo up of Kratos just before the [Sony] State of Play. It was an educated guess due to the fact that [Kratos voice actor] Christopher Judge had retweeted the State of Play, so I figured it would be there. It was."
Allen may be looking to downplay the NDA violations involved with his leaks because of the potential consequences that could arise from them. Public shaming is no fun, but neither is being dragged to court for breaking legally-binding contracts. And Ubisoft NDAs are no joke. As an example, part of a May 2022 Rainbow Six Siege NDA received by PC Gamer states the following:
"The Parties acknowledge that any breach [of confidentiality] by a Party, its Affiliates and Representatives of the obligations hereunder could cause irreparable harm for which no award of money damages may be an adequate remedy. Accordingly, without prejudice to any other rights or remedies that a Party might have, each Party may be entitled to seek the remedies of injunction, specific performance and other equitable relief for any threatened or actual breach of the provisions of this Agreement."
Seeking "remedies of injunction, specific performance and other equitable relief" essentially means that Ubisoft has the right to sue your ass off if you break the terms of the contract. That doesn't mean it will, and in the case of, say, a tech glitch or something else beyond the control of the people involved, I like to think that their lawyers would chalk it up to bad luck and let it slide. But things might go differently in a case where someone signed the paper and then immediately and purposefully spewed everything they promised to keep secret all over the internet.
Alongside his potential legal woes, Allen said that he's lost personal and business friendships in the game industry because of his secret leaker life, and had to delete his personal Twitter account due to the "barrage of hate" he's received since being revealed. Still, he said the blowback is justified and that he's not seeking sympathy or forgiveness.
After apologizing to content creators, journalists, PR reps, and his followers for his "incomprehensible stupidity," Allen said he's going to take some time off to get away and "try and learn from this mistake."
"At the end of the day I'm just sorry," Allen said. "I can't reverse time but what I can do is try to be a better man moving forward and promise you that this will never happen again."
No one has sued Allen at this time, at least that we know of. If he avoids any trouble beyond feelings of remorse, it may be the last time an exposed leaker is excused by the industry. Ubisoft doesn't usually have an obvious target after a big leak, at least not that we know of, and certainly not one who has publicly confessed. Meanwhile, some game publishers have recently become bolder about welding lawyers against individuals. Bungie has gone after Destiny 2 cheat makers and users with the courts, and last year a teenage Fortnite player reached a settlement with Epic over alleged cheating. Cheating and NDA breaking are different things, but along with the recent GTA 6 hack and what feels like an overall increase of leaks, big studios could feasibly be feeling more and more on edge about protecting information, and more likely to look to the courts as a deterrent.
Ubisoft declined to comment on the Dan Allen leaks specifically but said in a statement sent to PC Gamer that it's treating the situation "seriously."
"We regularly provide access and information on our games under NDA to trusted partners," a Ubisoft representative said. "When that trust is compromised, or information is leaked by an individual, it’s not only damaging and demoralizing to our teams, but it takes away from an exciting reveal moment and experience for our players. While we won’t speak on an individual case, we do take these matters seriously and will manage accordingly."