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The problem with over hype

by Stephen McCallum on 09/06/16 09:34:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.



In light of recent events I wanted to talk about game hype for a while.

It has been a problem with the industry ever since the beginning and very little is being done to combat it. There are extreme cases of over hyping such as WATCH_DOGS being advertised with significantly better graphical quality than it had upon release.

Which lead to videos like this

Ubisoft Montreal gave players the impression that WATCH_DOGS would create a new age of graphical quality in gaming however the released product was panned by players and critics due to not delivering on the graphics or the narrative that was promised. The game still sold very well due to the hype with most people believing it would deliver on those promises Ubisoft Montreal still got the profits they expected.

Now Ubisoft released a reveal trailer for WATCH_DOGS 2 which seemed to be following the same mistakes as WATCH_DOGS.


But they also released an early gameplay trailer which doesn’t over hype the game as much as the predecessor.

That said we will have to wait until the game is released before we know what will be in the game.

No Man’s Sky is the more recent example of over hype in the industry, with trailers showing graphical and gameplay features that are absent from the game. Critics and players have panned No Man’s Sky excessively since its release due to missing features, buggy content and lackluster gameplay from a game that has been in development for over 2 years.

Which lead to videos like this

What makes it all worse is the lack of communication from Hello Games. Since the release there have been few twitter updates and no public statements from anyone at Hello Games. Some may say they are working hard to add more features and improve the game but taking the time to make a short YouTube video answering the questions the players have could come a long way.

This all said neither WATCH_DOGS or No Man’s Sky are in no means bad games. Had they not been hyped as much as they were there may have been significantly less backlash against the games. That is the problem with over hype and under delivering, when a company creates trailers showing features or graphical quality that will not be in the final release it will always cause some kind of backlash. The greater the difference between what is shown in trailers and what is released the greater the fallout the company must deal with.

So what are the damages from over hype? Well players spend money on games that don’t give them the experience they thought, thinking the game to be a waste of money. While companies themselves get a damaged reputation with gamers refusing to buy games with the company's name on them.

So what can we do to stop over hype? It’s quite simple, we can’t. Like I said at the beginning of the blog over hype has been a problem since the beginning and people still fall for the false advertising and the “not in-game footage” lines believing the game will be as good as the trailers make it out to be. The only way to combat this problem is for companies to stop using these methods, but the likelihood of this is minor at best because false advertising sells copies of the game at an unprecedented rate.

Sorry to end the blog on a negative but this is the realivty of the games industry. Companies will continue to release misleading trailers and gameplay footage to get the players to purchase more copies of the game until the players themselves stop falling for the tricks.

Thank you all for reading,

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