Once more a game has had its release date ignored by retailers, as Sonic Frontiers is streamed on Twitch and a pirate version shared online.
For the fourth time in two months, physical retailers have broken the release date of a major game, flooding the internet with spoilers and, in the case of Sonic Frontiers, leading to the game being openly streamed on Twitch.
God Of War Ragnarök was previously the most high profile leak, leading the director to go on a swear-filled rant on Twitter, about retailers potentially ruining the story for many fans. But Gotham Knights and A Plague Tale: Requiem also saw their release dates broken, with Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 only avoiding the problem because there was essentially nothing on its disc.
Sega is currently attempting to get footage of Sonic Frontiers taken down from Twitch and other sites but the frequency with which retailers are breaking street dates is now certain to lead to punitive action from publishers.
Most publishers already see the vast majority of their revenue come from digital rather than physical sales (Capcom recently revealed it was as much as 95%) and PC versions of games now almost never get a physical release.
At some point, that will also become the case for console games and by allowing these releases to leak out early retailers are only helping to accelerate that inevitability.
The situation is particularly bad for Sega because a pirated version of the Switch edition of Sonic Frontiers is already in wide circulation, even if it takes some technical knowledge to get it working.
At time of writing streams of the game are still appearing intermittently on Twitch but are usually shut down within a few minutes.
Sonic Frontiers will officially launch on Tuesday, November 8 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.
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