Gamescom is always a tense time for the big game publishers and the companies who support their content, and as streaming services like Twitch.tv (of former Jusin.tv fame) continue to grow end over end in popularity, many of those same players in the industry are turning to the website to promote their latest content online.
Unfortunately, this turn toward streaming sites and real-time coverage means that as soon as an account is compromised, anything transmitted from that hacked machine is immediately seen by everyone viewing at the time of the incident. Earlier today a group of unknown online assailants took advantage of this, and cracked the accounts of Microsoft and Playstation to post their thoughts on upcoming titles, mostly in the form of offensive language and swear words branded across previous broadcast and highlights posts that line the bottom of each page.
“Since these are all companies at Gamescom, we believe it is somebody who has gained access to logged-in computers at the venue,” a Twitch spokesperson told IGN in an email. “As a precautionary measure, we temporarily removed highlights and past broadcasts for those channels since it’s in the early hours of the morning in Cologne.”
Many gamers were understandably upset about the announcement of Tomb Raider’s timed exclusivity to Xbox, and while most took the standard routes of outrage and expressed their discontent on common forums and gaming websites, a select few apparently decided to take things a step or two further, hacking into Microsoft’s Twitch channel locked and loaded with a whole slew of slurs that were displayed on the page for a number of hours before Twitch staff stepped in and brought the whole debacle to a screeching halt.
The attack was likely committed in person at the convention itself, where several machines were logged into the accounts of the console manufacturers, and all someone needed to do was get into the back of the booth while attendants of the company or employees of the conference weren’t looking.
Google announced this year they would be acquiring Twitch.tv for around $1 billion USD, making it one of the largest online streaming acquisition deals since the Internet search giant snatched up YouTube for $1.2 billion in 2006.
Because the convention itself doesn’t start until tomorrow, this narrows the number of potential suspects down to VIP members, staff, and those working the floor or setting up displays, however until security footage is released no one can say for certain who was behind the overtly-vulgar hijacking.
Both Microsoft and Playstation have since removed all the offending content from their pages, making sure that nothing the rogue hacker did is left behind for the rest of the world to see.
Although spokespeople for each company have remained silent in light of the events, we can assume that nothing which was posted on the page (some of it being particularly hateful toward the LGBT community), is representative of their views inside or outside of Gamescom and its many respectable developers, publishers, and vendors who will be hawking their wares over the next three days in Cologne, Germany.