How two hoaxers fooled the Internet
The gaming community was buzzing with news of a supposed leak of Nintendo’s NX controller last week. The photos originated in a post by Reddit user “Idriss2Dev” and spread across forums, message boards and news sites.
Some were convinced of its authenticity because it looked similar to a Nintendo patent from 2015, however others thought it was a fake.
The post also had details about the controller like “haptic buttons” and “rollers on the top” that function like computer mousewheels.
Idriss2Dev’s post made it to many websites and forums where gamers and others analyzed and debated the leak.
Destructoid writer Laura Kate Dale and many others studied the images for any signs of Photoshopping or tampering. Dale found that the image she looked at was not fake.
Her analysis made it onto NeoGAF where many either wrote it off as fake or believed it was real. Many voiced their dissatisfaction with the device, saying it looked uncomfortable and resented the idea of removing physical buttons.
“Oh god please god no,” user Anth0ny wrote.
Sometime later more photos were leaked from a different Reddit user. These were clearer and matched the previous ones. This was enough to remove much of the remaining doubt held by the gaming community as more news outlets published stories about them.
Despite this, many grudgingly accepted the leak as a true Nintendo creation.
The new images were posted in a NeoGAF thread that gained more than 10,000 posts and 1 milion views. Users began investigating the new images for any minute detail that could shed light on the situation. They found it; the keyboard appeared to be Swedish and a reflection of a tree in a monitor had some believing the new images originated from Massive Entertainment, the developer of The Division.
However, the keyboard was actually Finnish. The man who took the picture was not a game developer, he works at a manufacturing shop that specializes in laser cutting/engraving. The second fake was created using a 3D printer and a computer model.
The original “leak” was created by someone with a history of making fake consoles. Its creator is David Im. He created a 3D model and inserted it into a photo using Adobe Photoshop.
Im later posted his 3D mock-controllers to his DeviantArt account.
Im emailed Polygon about his hoax. In it, he said “he was inspired by Nintendo’s patent drawings when creating his 3D mockups. He blacked out part of the his image and put virtual ‘tape’ on part of his digital mockup in an attempt to convince others that the leak was real.”
“I must confess that it amazed me,” he told Polygon via email; referring to the “buzz” the hoax generated.
Im also wanted to create 3D prints of his model, but the second hoaxer beat him to it. He didn’t know the second hoaxer, who posted under the name “perkele37,” although he did try to contact him. There was no reply.
The other hoaxer is Frank Sandqvist, co-founder of CNC Design in Finland.
He built his model in Autodesk’s 3D modeling tool “Fusion 360” and 3D printed it in black resin and acrylic. Sandqvist revealed his hoax this morning in a video he posted to YouTube that showed how he created his version of the NX controller.
However, some details about Sandqvist’s model were labeled as red flags by the gaming community, such as the “confidential property” sticker being removed from pictures of real Nintendo dev kits.
“I thought it would be very funny to see how easy it would be to recreate that Photoshopped leak in real life, he said. “Turns out its pretty easy.”
“I’m sorry if I got some people’s hopes up, but it seems most people were against this kind of design so maybe it’s just a relief that it’s fake,” Sandqvist said. “Turns out this design is very uncomfortable after all.”
Both are remorseful for tricking so many people.