Take-Two Sends Investigators To YouTuber's House To Crack Down On Borderlands 3 Leaks

Screenshot: Gearbox Software

After two weeks of no uploads, a notable Borderlands personality on YouTube returned to the platform yesterday with a video explaining his absence. He said that the game’s publisher Take-Two Interactive hit his channel with several copyright strikes and sent investigators to his home in response to months of Borderlands coverage on his channel, which included leaks about upcoming games in the series.

“Since I’ve had time to reflect on the situation, I’d say excitement got the better of my judgment,” said Matt “SupMatto” Somers, who has been posting Borderlands videos on YouTube since 2015. “It was a bit of a shitty thing to do.”

Take-Two subsidiary 2K Games, however, said the YouTuber’s actions were sometimes illegal and harmful to the Borderlands community. “The action we’ve taken is the result of a 10-month investigation and a history of this creator profiting from breaking our policies, leaking confidential information about our product, and infringing our copyrights,” a 2K Games rep said in a statement.

“Not only were many of his actions illegal, but they were negatively impacting the experiences of other content creators and our fans in anticipation for the game.”

The company did not specify what it was that Somers did that they think broke the law.

Somers’ videos include playthroughs of the Borderlands series as well as tips, tricks, and an in-depth history series that explores the lore of the Borderlands universe. For the last year, Somers’ channel has also been home to Borderlands 3 leaks and speculation, which he always attributed to either unnamed sources or the work of a community of fans digging through SteamDB, a third-party data repository that shows the work being done behind-the-scenes to get games ready for the PC platform.

Wherever he was getting his information from, Somers got a lot of things right, including details about the four new playable characters, the presence of a radiation element for guns, and the development of a Borderlands 2 add-on that would bridge the gap between that game and the sequel.

His videos were sometimes exaggerated and speculative, such as when he would fill time between major announcements with videos discussing shoulder patch similarities and character balance without having played the game.

Nevertheless, there’s no arguing that he knew some good stuff about upcoming Borderlands content before it was officially announced. That’s why, when he took an extended break from uploading videos, the Borderlands community took notice.

In his return video, Somers goes into great detail about what happened to him, his YouTube channel, and his Discord server. Somers claims that on July 25, investigators showed up at his home in New Jersey and questioned him on behalf of the New York-based Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Borderlands publisher 2K Games. He describes being tense due to strangers trespassing on his private property and regrets having spoken with them.

Somers allegedly answered questions about his channel and various information he had previously reported on, such as SteamDB developments and the Rainbow item rarity found in the game code before Fight for Sanctuary’s release. Later on, Somers says, he found the investigators and their private firm on LinkedIn, with indications that they had been contracted by Take-Two.

Somers explains that he received some of his early Borderlands 3 information based on a mistake by the people making or promoting the game. In a video revealing Borderlands 3’s official Twitch extension, a username that at first appeared to be a string of gibberish ended up being a very real Twitch account, which in its archives included a brief snippet of unreleased Borderlands 3 gameplay. Finding this account and several others to which it was linked also allowed fans to datamine the Twitch extension itself, giving them early information on gameplay elements like character skill trees.

As Somers was wont to do, he reported on this information through his YouTube channel, which was later hit by seven copyright strikes he says Take-Two handed down following his visit from the private investigators. Since then, all but one of these copyright strikes have been removed from his channel, allowing it to remain live, although he’s unsure if this means they were rescinded by Take-Two or removed by YouTube.

In addition to the strikes against his YouTube channel, Somers says that his Discord server and his Discord account were terminated 20 minutes after the private investigators left. The explanation he got from an automated Discord email was that his account was “involved in selling, promoting, or distributing cheats, hacks, or cracked accounts.”

He says that no information was provided as to who was behind this shutdown and denies that anything of the sort took place in his Discord server.

Kotaku reached out to Somers through various means but has yet to hear back from him.

A rep for 2K Games, however, called the video “incomplete and in some cases untrue.” They noted that “Take-Two and 2K take the security and confidentiality of trade secrets very seriously,” adding that the company “will take the necessary actions to defend against leaks and infringement of our intellectual property that not only potentially impact our business and partners, but more importantly may negatively impact the experiences of our fans and customers.”

The rep declined to provide further information on Take-Two and 2K’s investigation.

Since the release of the video, Somers’ experience has made the rounds on social media, with the #BoycottBorderlands3 hashtag intermittently trending on Twitter.

For his part, Somers doesn’t know where his future with the Borderlands franchise lies after this incident. “Going forward, where are we?” Somers asks rhetorically near the end of his video. “I am absolutely on hiatus from making videos while I figure out what I want to do. My plan is to see how I feel come September. I don’t know if I want to play [Borderlands 3], I don’t know if I want to make videos, I don’t know where I’m going to be at. I want to give myself time to decompress. I just need to step away from Borderlands.”


Comments

    I think TakeTwo just needs to look at its own employees before harassing reporters on YouTube.

    What right do they have saying he did something illegal and sending 'investigators' to his house?

    Or has he hacked there network or something?

    Has this guy actually been charged with anything by police?

    Or is this just a case of a company overreaching its true authority.

    Seems odd to me.

    Will be interesting to see a followup on this one.

      Or has he hacked THEIR network or something?

      The game isnt out yet, therefore most of those involved with it would be bound by NDA's, IF he is involved with receiving something from someone breaking their contract no doubt he would become part of the investigation.

      Who knows even as a content creator he might of himself be bound to an NDA if he is only of those the company trusts with information releases.

      PS content creators on youtuber arent reporters.

        That's true, but all of the information gotten was datamined from the Twitch extension that T2/2K put out publicly. So there's been no breaking of NDAs, but just 2K not really thinking about what their fanbase would do once they got a sniff.

          but do we know for a fact that is the only cause of this issue? For sure? Or maybe there is some further factors or information that both 2K and the content creator are both failing to mention?

          I just dont see how any of us can have the definite facts, enough to sell this idea that the poor youtuber is being picked on, or the evil 2K etc are just being illegal. Sure I wouldnt put ti passed 2k/T2 to be that but i also wouldnt put it passed a youtuber not thinking something through and or understanding contracts and legalities. (both have form on those fronts)

            That is a lot of speculation there. This sounds more of a civil than a criminal matter, and it doesn't sound like T2/2K can prove much.

        Why aren't content creators reporters?

        A reporter is someone who reports news.

          These days anytime I see someone talking shit about Youtubers reporting news all I picture is a crazy old man shaking a stick at the kids on the street getting too close to his lawn.

            Like a reporter is just someone who reports the news. It does not require a specific platform for someone to be a reporter.

              Exactly, there's a lot of people who still believe those who write for video games news sites aren't real 'journalists', so you know, it's an arrogant heirarchy thing.

        PS content creators on youtuber arent reporters.

        Well I'm afraid there is no definitive ruling either way on that matter but currently there is no legitimate restriction to a YouTuber or other content creator from claiming to be journalist, reporter or media outlet.

        Opponents claim that such people aren't bound by journalistic integrity or ethics and that a focus on attracting views and subscriptions means they aren't a reliable and unbiased source.
        Proponents argue that content creators claiming the role of reporter/journalist, like their traditional counterparts, both do and don't adhere to accepted practices on a case to case basis and that many media outlets also focus on viewers and subscribers over unbiased reporting anyway.

        While we have yet to see a court put this bed, it's important to note that many journalists, reporters and media outlets have transitioned to delivering news online in the same manner than many content creators do via blogs, YouTube channels and social media.
        It's almost important to note that content creators and social media influencers have also transitioned into the roles of journalists in the mainstream without any traditional academic education related to the role.
        Finally, while we no definitive ruling, we have seen more than a few content creators argue many rights used by journalists and reporters successfully, such as Jim Sterling, Sidalpha and others.

          To be a journalist technically I would have thought you needed your degree in journalism. You know lime other people need qualifications for their work.

            Its a qualification that would help you get/in the job but it's not a job that legally requires the qualification.

    Did the investigators organise a time/appointment or did they just rock up?
    If it was out of the blue, what the actual fuck?!

      not sure but according to PC gamer, they were investigating the guy for at least 10 months. like what the fuck. but then again this take 2 and they have been massive shit cunts since the realease of borderlands back in 2009 at the very least. this is just more proof of Struass being a pure shitcunt

        10 months and then you get investigators at your door?!
        Sounds like they didn't have much and decided to intimidate the dude and get him to drop something they could use.

        I'm fine with people protecting their shit but this seems heavy handed.

        Careful with what you say, they are watching us all :P

    I would of kindly told them to f*&k off and kept goign about my business

    SupMatto is a US citizen, and reporting on information you received from investigative journalism is protected under the US constitution under freedom of the press, whether its a small private youtube undertaking or a large-scale publication. Take-Two has absolutely zero right or authority to be investigating him, sending people to his home (harassment, invasion of privacy and trespass) or falsely claiming his videos are illegal in any way, unless an internal investigation reveals the information was received as a result of direct illegal activity by him. Even the use of small clips from an unofficially released video is covered in this way under fair use, so there aren't even any copyright violations whether Take-Two authorised their use or not. Take-Two have overstepped their boundaries and likely violated the law in doing so.

      Legal source?! Proof?

        Oh please tell me you're trying to dispute the US Constitution all because you apparently have a bias against Youtubers...

        Because that would simultaneously be the dumbest and most hilarious thing I've seen in Kotaku's comment section in months.

          Nope just asking his credentials, he made a lot of definitive statements, so I was merely asking how he came to have so much proof (not made public) or experience in the law that he went out of his way to make blanket statement of fact. No mights or maybes. (something any serious professional in law and the media would do)

          You call me dumb but believing someone on the internet just cos he says something sounds way worse.

          No we are disputing your interpretation. He isn't a journalist so he isn't covered. He would be closer to a reporter.

        The first amendment.

          where exactly in that is proof that

          Take-Two have overstepped their boundaries and likely violated the law in doing so.

          Does he, do YOU, know the exact the reasons for this action? Does he or you know exactly what the raid was about? What was the outcome? What actually happened on day? Leading up?

          See where i am going? Yes a lot of what he wrote is covered by the first amendment but given we only know from second parties what happened, he simply does not have enough proof or knowledge to make such definitive statements.

          we have had our differences but I always saw you as a person who would always be hesitant to believe what you are told at face value, without fully knowing facts

            I'll take the word of someone who has no reason to lie over a shitty company that has a history of being shitty and has done this before as i said below.

            This was not them protecting leaks, This was them using goons to intimidate someone.

            Fuck take two.

              Fuck take two.

              See we always do find a place to agree on.

                Like there are ways to do this.

                If they took issue with what was released, for example i would send a friendly message something along the lines of:

                "Hey, We love the stuff you make on youtube but some of that info is confidential and we would love it if it was removed."

                You know. A friendly respectful message. Not sending two goons and sending false copyright strikes.

                Treat people how you want to be treated. People respond well to fair actions.

            Your doing the same thing...

            @djbear is making an assumption based on the claims of the YouTuber, you are making assumptions based on the claims of Take-Two/2K

            Personally I'm leaning more towards DJ's assertion based on some of the facts we do have.
            I find it strange that there was a 10 month investigation and no formal charges have been made or attempted.
            It's truly bizarre that investigators showed up to question him in such a manner rather than any intentions of legal action being made.
            I also find it strange that the reasons cited for requesting the removal of Matts videos don't have anything to do with the accusations given, they remind me of the same tactics Epic used against the Fortnite leaker by trying to align profiting from leaks with selling cheats.

            No matter what we believe the manner in which this played out stinks.
            Maybe he did do something wrong and took an easy out but there is also the question of why Take-Two/2K chose to conduct things this way.

              If someone breached their non disclosure. That's a civil matter. There is no charge for a civil matter. There is no police. You take them to a civil court.

    This isn't the first time take two have sent their stasi goons. They have done it with GTA modders before. Not hackers, the good modders.

    Fuck take two.

      *Update

      Take Two has sent more than 60 copyright takedowns on supmatto's channel. Most of these videos are just lore discussions and gameplay.

      This is a clear attempt by take two to intentionally take down his channel

      Ill now upgrade my message to:

      Take two, Go fuck yourself.

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