If a picture paints a thousand words, it’s clearly a fucking fantastic way to market your game by fitting what will likely be the entire length of this post into one message. The box art of video games has of course had its ups and downs but in general I think they are the most entertaining thing you can find outside the confines of the game world. They tell you what you need to know to be interested, the rest is up to the often shitty TV ads. Sad then that as the digital age comes forward they may just dwindle in numbers and possible even quality.
Physical copies for games won’t ever go away but the future as painted by the industry leans towards a digitally dominated world, with all the power it gives them for a slight convenience to the consumer. Of course they’d never miss a chance for a sale and physical copies will still be around, however the need to have such a fascinating and intriguing one might be lost when people will easily see trailers among other things without much effort.
Without incentive to think of something fantastically original or eye catching, it will be something generic like the main character staring at you with a half-assed background. I can surely hope that there will still be those who use it as an artistic challenge and create something truly ingenious but a hope is all I will have. Arguably better methods will come forth with full gameplay of the product, advertising the largest draw for many when looking at a game. Why show someone a still of your interactive entertainment or a marketing tinged image when live footage is better for all involved…except the guy whose job it is to draw those box arts.
Of course that would have its draw backs as you need to have footage of said game readily made, streamable in a resolution appropriate to showing off the game. Or you can not and waste your time like Nintendo did with the Wii shop trailers at what I believe was 50×50 pixels if memory serves. If I were to go on the level of technological progress the game industry makes I imagine such a digital future would be when not everyone has the requirements to easily view every other high definition trailer at the appropriate framerate, in the same way we have such a varied level of internet among consumers but the games just keep wanting the best of the best. Ah well, they’ll learn eventually.
Back to my point on box art though, while I can admit it may become obsolete in many ways to the wave of new tech and new opportunities, such as to give the market the hook without commissioning an image, it feels like such a welcome obsolete. An appendix to the game industry that hangs around simple because it had a purpose, perhaps forgotten as the game industry insists upon the “no tomorrow” attitude and raises eyebrows of a new generation who find it odd you’d advertise a video game with this of all things. Back in my day you had to make it or break it with a pretty picture on a box, it was a marketing hurdle unlike any other where your entire appeal may very well hinge on looking attractive.
They also insisted on having the classic blue bomber megaman look really fucking weird. I bet it got them the sales though.
What video game boxart do you really like or caught your eye? Do you think the concept has a future with the physical side of gaming shrinking slowly? What kinds of advertising do you think would accompany a digital age of gaming? Thanks for the read and I’ll see you later.