YouTuber exposed as 'The Real Insider' behind major Assassin's Creed leak and others

Dan Allen
(Image credit: Dan Allen (YouTube))

YouTuber Dan Allen has apologized for breaking multiple NDAs and revealing information on games in development after being revealed as the person behind the popular leaks account The Real Insider.

The Dan Allen Gaming YouTube channel is a general-interest channel featuring guides, walkthroughs, reactions, and other game-related information—all very innocuous. The Real Insider, on the other hand, seemed to have more behind-the-scenes access: Since being activated earlier this year, the account has revealed information about numerous upcoming games and events, most recently Ubisoft's big Assassin's Creed presentation, which the account leaked almost in its entirety.

(Image credit: The Real Insider (via Twitter))

But things went sideways earlier this week thanks to a classic social media blunder: In response to a Twitter inquiry aimed at The Real Insider, Allen replied from the wrong account. He quickly deleted the tweet, but of course it was caught and shared. Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier also posted a series of tweets noting links and similarities between the two accounts: Nothing fully definitive, but "quite a coincidence," as he put it. Those tweets have since been deleted but were also saved for posterity by RhasegonVT

Faced with all that, Allen quickly copped to being The Real Insider and apologized for his behavior in a now-deleted tweet. "I'm sorry to everyone for my actions," he wrote. "I'm ashamed and disappointed in myself. I'll be taking some time to reflect on my poor decisions, which will never occur again. To everyone that has supported me over the years, I'm truly sorry I let you down."

Many followers responding to his apology said they hope he'll bounce back from this "mistake" and resume his streaming career; others expressed doubt that anyone would be able to come back from this sort of credibility-shredding incident. Both the Dan Allen Gaming and The Real Insider Twitter accounts are now gone, but the Dan Allen Gaming YouTube channel, for now, remains online.

(Image credit: Dan Allen Gaming (via Twitter))

It's undoubtedly embarrassing to be caught out like this, but Allen's real problem may be much more serious. Getting early access to the kind of information he was leaking often (and in the case of Ubisoft, always) requires signing legally-binding non-disclosure agreements. They vary from company to company but essentially state that if you share the information you're being given out of turn, you can be held responsible in all kinds of interesting, unpleasant, and potentially very expensive ways.

These NDAs are serious enough that I don't sign any of them without passing them through our legal department first (and yes, we have a legal department) to ensure that I'm not going to accidentally bankrupt the company by CCing the wrong person into an email. Allen clearly didn't have those concerns—you don't bother involving lawyers if you're going to just pour your secrets all over the internet anyway—but there's no way he got the info he shared without signing the required paperwork. 

Regardless of the sincerity of his apology, by copping to being The Real Insider he's also admitted to violating multiple NDAs, some of which (based on my own experience) carry heavy penalties. It's possible that Ubisoft's legal team will take it easy on him; it's also possible that social media humiliation will very soon be the least of Allen's worries.

I've reached out to Ubisoft and Dan Allen for further comment, and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.