Hey HEEEY HEEEY HAAAAY LOOK AT DIS GAME!: Hype & Marketing For Video Games

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All aboard the goddamn hype train, there aren’t any brakes on this ride! Well actually, maybe there should be, why the hell are you screaming about this everybody knows it is gonna be decent at the least. This is my issue with marketing and hype for games, like the above Destiny and Titanfall.

Okay so why all the hoopla about these games? Well it is coming from people who have already successfully crafted extremely successful franchises and are veterans of that genre, said genre being the FPS. Destiny comes to us from Bungie who created the Halo series, while Titanfall comes from people who had made Call Of Duty. Regardless of any issue you may find with either of those two, there is no argument that the games are successful and to a point an asset to the industry and the genre. So why is it that there is someone in marketing who doubts these brand names power and believes that they need to get the word out and hype up the newest creation from those very brand names of Halo and Call Of Duty? What, was there anyone who was a massive lover of the franchise that defined an entire companies console who hadn’t gotten the news? Was there a single Call Of Duty player who needed convincing? For what purpose were we fed every last bit of information down the pipeline about games that didn’t need anything to be successful other than mentioning their creators?

I would like to direct you to the newest Silent Hill game in development, known as Silent Hills. We have had only the pleasure of a small teaser and the confirmation of its existence along with some very important names for many people. Hideo Kojima. Guillermo Del Toro. That is all we have heard, and this is the sign of a clever marketing department. They know that with just those names and the teaser of a new entry in the franchise people will be at the least greatly interested in it and that is all they will ever need. No massive hype trailers or constant articles or anything, just that little free sample and that is it. They don’t need to make hype, it is already selling itself, just let the consumers be.

Hype is damaging. Over exposure of anything will jade a person even if they love what is coming, if you want to make something seem special to someone stop putting it in their faces all the time. Nothing can ever live up to hype as hype boasts an ideal. There is no fair way to compare a reality with an ideal in games or frankly anything, perfection is subjective to the goal and as such impossible to achieve. Destiny was massively hyped, guess what it got for it? Some people liked it regardless, others have been let down, disappointed, hyped to exhaustion. Titanfall was massively hyped, guess what it got for it? The same goddamn thing. I know that there will always be disparaging opinions and that not everyone can be satisfied, but from my experience those who felt like the games weren’t enough for them are all comparing it to the vision they were promised by the respective developers. It is one thing to build something up in your head, it is another to be flooded with promises that aren’t kept, lest we walk into more cases of Watch Dogs, the end product not even being as expertly crafted as the trailers made them out to be.

Too much knowledge beforehand can completely alter how you view a product. I personally find myself almost bursting a blood vessel when somebody tells me to try something because of X or Y. Just tell me to try it, don’t say why else it completely changes my perception of it. I will go through it looking for that thing that I was told was great, I am not enjoying the experience I’m observing it for whatever it was that you tried to sell me on. A simple suggestion can sit in a persons mind, subconsciously influencing everything they think, everything they judge and everything they do.

Of course I am not saying to not market a game, I promote the concept wholeheartedly. Being a fan of games that get no marketing effort to expand upon a rather niche but dedicated fanbase is hard, great products for its fans don’t sell well and the next instalment if any likely won’t have the money to expand upon its successes in the prior releases. God knows I was always irritated as say Namco Bandai for suggesting in the slightest that the Tales Of series didn’t have much of a fanbase in the west when their games don’t sell well often, ignoring the fact that they released it so goddamn quietly I had to hear it down the grapevine. They have gotten better and are acknowledging those of us who do enjoy the franchise but I always feel like they barely market the games at all and lose out on sales because of it. Marketing is part and parcel to selling a game and one of the largest make it or break it components of marketing is the judgement of how much is too much exposure.

I like that you want to be heard, but don’t scream about it every time I look out the window. Sites such as IGN and many others thrive on drawing traffic by being part of the hype movement on massive titles, being part of the blame as the companies themselves. I just wanna enjoy an experience for what it is, not what you say it is going to be, just calm down and learn the art of subtlety would you?

How about all of you, what do you think hype has killed or has personally killed for you recently? Can you recall any really cool looking marketing campaigns that got the balance right? What game series do you follow that go so far under the radar without so much as a bumper sticker in terms of marketing effort? Thank for the read and I’ll see you around!

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