Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 23, 2014

Email: Lots of hype and nothing to show for it

Is it just me or this year have we seen a lot of super hyped next gen games falling flat really fast?  Let’s look at some of the big “next gen” titles the industry was touting.  Titanfall was going to be the big game to justify the $500 Xbox One purchase but now I don’t hear anything about it and this story emerged.
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That might improve people playing it.  Trying to make an online only, multiplayer only game is always a risk and games like this should always have an offline mode where you play as bots.  I believe Reggie stated that the upcoming Splatoon is going to have offline vs bots mode.
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Then came Watchdogs which Ubisoft was pushing like the second coming of Jesus and nearly everyone I talked to who played it was so disappointed in it by the time the WiiU version finally came out no one cared anymore.  Of course if the WiiU version doesn’t sell well Ubisoft will try to blame Nintendo’s low WiiU install base like they did with ZombiU.
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And don’t get me started on Destiny aka the Halo sort of MMO.  That was also touted as the great next gen game and of course being made by Bungie, so the Halo fans were chomping at the bit to see what they could do.  That gets me as well.  Say what you will about Miyamoto, each new IP felt like something different. Super Mario Bros. was different from Donkey Kong, Zelda was different than Mario, Pikmin was different from Zelda.  Wii Sports was different from Pikmin. But Bungie went from making one sci fi FPS to making another Sci Fi FPS just more MMO-ish.
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The sad thing is these games still sell well enough in that first month, that the industry just laughs.  The game industry really has become like Hollywood.  A lot of bad movies can get panned by reviewers but as long as the studio execs get the big numbers that first weekend, that’s all they care about.  The movies that are truly good are the ones that stay in the theaters and do well for several weeks.
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Sadly too many gamers keep buying into the hype machine and slap down that $60 (or more if they bought into the DLC season pass scam) then regret it, but I like how you point out if so many of these modern games were so good, why are so many on used racks at Gamestop.  Hardcore gamers love gushing over The Last of Us yet I see tons of used copies of it and you barely get $10 on its trade in, yet first party Nintendo games, even the not so great ones usually get $20 or more on trade in.
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I wonder how much longer gamers will keep buying into the hype though many have stopped putting any faith in reviews as anything with a massive hype machine automatically gets a 8 or higher.  What really gets me is there are still folks wanting to buy a next gen system despite nothing to really justify the purchase yet.  My husband wants a PS4 yet hasn’t seen a game that really made him want one, just wanting to get one because “it’s the next phase and eventually we’ll have to.”  It’s funny how so many gamers want the WiiU to have games to justify buying it, yet will buy a PS4 or Xbox One just because.

 

Hype needs to be earned, not manufactured. When a game company has a good track record, like a good author, it is normal for people to be excited about their next product. I’m hyped to see what Nintendo will offer as successor to the 3DS and Wii U for example. However, I am not hyped for Wii U Zelda because of Aonuma’s track record. Manufacturing hype would be someone like Aonuma saying the next Zelda will be like ‘the original Legend of Zelda’ when it is nothing like it. It would be like showing a cool tech demo of Zelda and then the actual game is anime style bizarro weirdness.

Maybe I’m getting long in the years, but it seems we’re seeing a type of Law of Gaming go in effect that the further in time we go, the less value games are having. There are many reasons for this. Computers were once rare. Now, they are everywhere. Video games are no longer as special. But also games lose value so rapidly due to being so dependent on online values.

I find classic games attractive to buy not because of ‘nostalgia’ but because the value is clearly known. You cannot hype a twenty year old game. We know what it is. I’d rather drop $60 into a KNOWN value instead of an UNKNOWN value.

Do people even rent console games anymore? Has that died out? What a shame if so. My ways of gaming, where I’m sure many of you were similar, in that I would rent a ton of games. However, the games I OWNED was about ten. Very, very few games to own. Not all games were worth $50 even back during the ‘golden eras’ of console gaming. Looking back at some of the very few games I owned, I can see why I bought them. Super Mario Brothers 3 is worth owning. So is Final Fantasy I. I remember renting Mega Man 1, thinking it was a good game but very frustrating and uneven, and not thinking it was worth the money. I rented Mega Man 2, got totally blown away, and bought it on the spot and bought Mega Man 3 the day it came out. I bought Mega Man 4 when it came out, got very disappointed, and didn’t buy Mega Man again.

Some of you guys bought a lot more console games back in the day. This is all fine and good. There was a hype industry back then just as there was today. However… looking back, Nintendo Power tried to hype the good games. After twenty five years, we can safely say this. They put Metal Storm on the cover. They put Vice Project Doom on the cover. It didn’t work in selling the games.

Because of the online nature of so many games today, I think that is why there is such a ‘first month rush’ factor. People see their friends playing a game so they have to get involved as well. Hype Industry used to be about AMAZING GRAPHICS or how this new game would CHANGE GAMING IN HOW WE WOULD KNOW IT. But today, hype industry is now a Jones Effect. Your friend Bob is playing Industry Game #224, why are you still playing Industry Game #198? Sadly, Nintendo is trying to get in on this which is what Mii-verse is all about. You see everyone playing a game, and you want to join.

Old Way: Buy a game your friends play because you played it at friend’s house and found game to be fun.

New Way: Buy a game your friends play because you don’t want to be left out. Game quality doesn’t matter.

Hardcore gaming is becoming more like the Fan Tan club of old women gathering to play boring card games not because of the games but because of the company. MMORPGs are already there.


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