We live in an age where publishers spend an entire half of their total budget on marketing. Every time a big title rolls around, you can't make three jumps around the internet without hearing about it. And we gamers are a passionate bunch; we can't help but talk about games around their launches. For better or worse, hype is a part of gaming.
We've always been excited about new games: better tech, new features, more content! We loved our games so much that sequels became highly anticipated. And we loved our sequels so much that they became franchises. Today companies know how much we love our franchises.
If you were to ask a generic business analyst why franchises sell well, they might tell you it's about brand name recognition, like when you buy a mop because the name of the product assures you how effectively it cleans surfaces. But quality assurance isn't really a factor here anymore. With the prevalence of the internet reviews, from both users and professionals, information on a given game's quality and content circulate like wildfire.
We seem to have something of an obsession with game reviews, putting an incredible amount of stock into scores. And invariably, we are upset with the results. Score a game too high and you are accused of taking money from the publisher. Score a game below a 9 and you are accused of hating and black marking the game. We are absolutely enamored with new games, yet at the same time we are consciously aware of this.
Do we get too excited about games? Many times these days do we criticize a title for failing to live up to expectations. With who does the fault lie? It is the publishers for exaggerating features? Is it our fault for expecting too much? Or is the developer to blame for being unable to properly execute their vision? At what point do our demands become unfair?
And at what point do they matter? While we as a culture can sometimes be a little overbearing, I wouldn't trade that passion for the world. Better to care this much than be hopelessly apathetic about our medium; better most games out there receive too much attention than too little. My only hope moving forward is that we can muster the same excitement for smaller developers who need the exposure (shameless plug: like me!) as we do for AAA titles, and that we can accomplish it without the trademark toxicity.
Tell me what you think; do you believe our tendency to get hyped is ultimately a good or bad thing? Is there anything you'd like me to talk about in the future? I'd love to know!