How Does Hype Affect You?

halo3In our chosen hobby of playing video games, it is fair to say that the Internet is a major component. And the internet is good at several things, but the thing it excels at more than any other is buzz. Nothing gets word moving faster than the InterGoogle and game companies and fanboys alike take advantage of this. But hype comes in more forms than that.

Let’s take a look at Halo 3. It had the kind of buzz reserved for a major box office movie. When I saw all the cross-promotional tie-ins, I started to wonder if Bungie was being run by George Lucas. I mean, seriously: Halo energy drinks?

I saw so many commercials and trailers and ads with Master Chief pleading with me to finish the fight that I honestly was ready to join the Covenant.

What made this all the more strange was the fact that Halo was an established franchise. If there was one game for the Xbox 360 that didn’t need this kind of massive advertising budget, it was Halo 3. That game was going to sell like nude photos of Jessica Alba to TMZ, but that didn’t stop Microsoft from bombarding us with such a Shock and Awe campaign of hype that its amazing the game was able to live up to it.

littlebigplanetOn the other side of that equation, let’s look at Sony and LittleBigPlanet. This was a game that was generating massive amounts of buzz from the Internet, from rival game developers and from the gaming media. It is the kind of game that comes along only once in a great while and Sony blew it. They had tremendous hopes for LittleBigPlanet and while it has sold 2 million copies, which is great for a brand new franchise, it took a few months to achieve that goal.

See, Sony said that they were relying on LBP to get more people to buy PS3, but their actions showed otherwise. How many LBP commercials did you see on TV? At the movies? Did you read any articles in USA Today about it, like I saw for Grand Theft Auto IV and Halo? Sony knew they had a special game, but they marketed it on the cheap, relying on the buzz created from inside the gaming community to spill out into the mainstream media. It didn’t happen and LBP and Sony took a hit. If there was ever a game that needed the kind of hype that Halo 3 got, it was LBP.

Which brings us to Killzone 2 and my rather unusual reaction to it. I played Killzone. It was a fun, average FPS with some cool moments, but nothing special. Even when I saw the much-maligned “target” trailer way back when, I still didn’t give it much thought. Trailers don’t excite me until I see actual gameplay footage, not CGI cut scenes. So when the recent buzz started to become overwhelming and the reviews proclaiming it to be something truly amazing trickled in, I took notice.

wallpaper-killzone-04Now, I read every little article I can on Killzone 2. I read any review, preview, impression and fanboy love and hate letter I can about it. Why? Because it is largely an unknown to me and I would like to know as much about it as possible before I make my decision on whether to purchase it or not. I am not a rush out and buy things on the first day without doing lots of research kinda guy, so I enjoy reading up.

On the other hand, take a game like Final Fantasy XIII. Huge FF fan, have played and beaten every game in the series. It’s my favorite game series of all time. And I don’t care about the new trailer that much. It was exciting to see real gameplay footage for once, but all the rest doesn’t get me going like it’s meant to. I don’t go out of my way to scour the Net looking for every little morsel I can find on the game. Why? Because I am going to buy it on the first day, reviews be damned. I am a FF fan. I don’t need hype to get me excited.

Which brings me back to my original point about Halo 3 and its marketing machine. I don’t think it was really needed, but Microsoft was leaving nothing to chance. That is something Sony should rethink because I have not seen them go out of their way to really market Killzone 2 yet, either. For their sake, I hope they get their act together.

How do you guys feel about this? Has a game’s hype ever caused you to purchase it when you otherwise would not have? Are you immune to the buzz or do you drink it up and ask for more?

Written by

Age: 34 PSN ID: Starkiller81. I've played games since before I can remember, starting with my dad's Atari and I haven't stopped yet. Keep them coming and I will keep playing them.

24 thoughts on “How Does Hype Affect You?”

  1. Technically, you can argue that the Halo 3 hype worked, since they sold so many millions of copies. However, Gears of War 2’s hype was a lot more understated and I think that game outsold Halo 3 or came close to it.

    Sony really has dropped the ball on their exclusives, save for MGS4, which was advertised pretty darn well. Valkyria Chronicles might be the best game on the system, and I didn’t see any promotion for it at all.

    Likewise, the Super Bowl would have been the PERFECT spot for a Killzone 2 ad, since it comes out later this month, and there was nothing there. Oh well… hopefully Sony can learn their lesson sometime soon. The PS3 really is a good system, it’s just nobody knows it- not even Sony.

  2. Yes it has happened to me. Far Cry 2. I never played the other Far Cry games but I had watched my friend play them. Not really my thing. I didnt even get 50% of FC2 done 🙁

    Hype has caused me to buy before, but not always.

  3. Oh the Halo 3 hype did work. I hope I didn’t imply that it didn’t. I was saying that Halo 3 was going to sell well no matter what, so it seemed overkill.

  4. I find that the very best games require little hype. I had heard titles like Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead before they hit, but not all that much (compared to Halo3 and GTAIV). I think that game become more appealing after they hit the shelves and several reviews have been written that extole the virtues of said game. At least that is how I buy. Hype is all nice and good, but the reviews are what really sell it for me.
    Same goes for the Bioware MMO that you guys just linked. I love Bioware, but I am not sold on this game until I can read some reviews.

  5. I try so hard not to let hype affect me, but inevitably it does. I know that I can’t judge a game by its marketing campaign, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it every now and then. Sometimes I’m let down (Far Cry 2), sometimes the waiting makes it even better (Oblivion). Hype isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just the company letting you know that they’re putting their name on the line with this game. If it turns out bad, you don’t trust that company’s hype again (lookin’ at you, Ubisoft). If, on the other hand, the game ends up being great, you start to trust that company to make great games in the future. I guess in the end, it’s just a higher-risk marketing strategy.

  6. I’m actually kind of immune to hype. Key words being kind of.

    Halo 3 hype had no affect on me. I saw it everywhere, but in the end I only have it because my brother got it for us. Fallout 3 had internet hype too, but if I had never played Oblivion, I wouldn’t even have given it though until I read a few reviews.

    I have fallen to hype once though. GTA 4. I was in New York, Canal street to be exact. I looked at one side of the street to see somebody reading a magazine with Nico on the front. Then I turned and saw the entire side of a building, painted like a billboard for GTA4. I needed to get that game :]

    Most of the time, I tend to be a little bitch and only get games from developers I sold my soul to…I mean like. Biowear, Ubisoft, Rockstar, Bethesda, and Valve own 😀

  7. I usually get hyped up for a game about a month before it’s release date, which sometimes means that I make rash purchases/pre-orders (A la Halo Wars- Man, I hope that game will be DECENT) which can sometimes be a bummer.

  8. Spore. Honestly, Spore was ALL hype. Moreso than Halo 3, Spore even got it’s own special on the Science Channel. (They should have made LBP commercials for, like, Cartoon Network or something.) But when Spore was released, I looked back at all the trailers and stuff for Spore, and realized that pretty much all the hype of Spore was the creature creator. Don’t get me wrong, the creature creator’s great, but the gameplay of Spore is so extremely mediocre that it got boring so quickly. Damn shame.
    Now with Halo 3, yeah they really didn’t need to have the Master Chief Dew or the MC Doritos. Actually, what they should have done was put a picture of MISTER CHIEF on those products. That would really get hardcore fans of Bungie to buy that crap.

  9. I hadn’t even heard of Valkyria Chronicles before I rented it, but after trying it I bought it. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it! Does anyone know how well it sold?

  10. [quote comment=”4276″]I hadn’t even heard of Valkyria Chronicles before I rented it, but after trying it I bought it. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it! Does anyone know how well it sold?[/quote]

    Terrible. Only did around 40,000 copies in its first couple of months. It’s weird to me that more video game blogs that are supposed to champion the little guy haven’t started talking about it, either. It may have been in the top 5 best games of last year, it’s certainly in the discussion, I think.

  11. Ah, the Halo 3 hype. I bought into that hook, line and sinker. I purchased the comic (then promptly forgot about it when the second issue wasn’t released for a few months), pre-ordered the game, and scoured my local 7-11s for a bottle of sweet, sweet Gamer Fuel. (As I live in Canada, that tasty nectar wasn’t available to me. Didn’t stop me from looking, though.)

    Left 4 Dead seemed to have a lot of hype to me. In the months leading up to its release (and the months after that as it was pushed back), I absorbed every morsel of information on that game. Playtests, listening to the LAN Party podcast on 1up to hear the editor’s impressions of versus mode, and checking the L4D blog twice a day was my daily routine to feed my need for L4D.

    So, hype can work, for good or for ill. If you’re going to hype your game to the level of Halo, Gears, or GTA, you’d better be damn sure that you’re releasing a product worthy of a few months of constant repetition. If not, well, we’ve all seen the after-effects of back-firing hype. (Poor Free Radical)

  12. There’s a big difference between “coverage” and “hype”. Halo 3 was a hype-a-palooza. Left 4 Dead wasnt so much hyped as it was highly anticipated.

    And some of the games originally listed as “hype-worthy” but lacking in that category were missing something important. That one thing is a stellar track record. You cant really hype an unknown the way you can a game like Halo or Gears of War. It takes a proven amount success for the companies to risk pulling out all the stops and hyping up a game to the point of total saturation.

    And, no, hype has never swayed my decision to purchase a game. I consider my income precious and my free time even more so. I research the hell out of anything before I buy it. When shopping for a joystick for Battlefield I spent a week reading up on every single stick I could find.
    I am no impulse shopper, and no amount of hysteria or hype can vaccum my money out of my without undergoing a serious investigation on my part.

  13. “I saw so many commercials and trailers and ads with Master Chief pleading with me to finish the fight that I honestly was ready to join the Covenant.”

    You too huh? You’re right, the mass advertising of this was not necessary because there were already so many fanboys out there from the previous two.

    CoD4 didn’t have NEAR the airtime of Halo 3 and still had more hours of playtime on XBL for quite a long stretch this past year.

    I also don’t think that lower revenue companies stand a chance in having a big release simply because they can’t afford the TV spot time. There are three and only three commercials that stand out for me during the past year and a half.

    1. All of the Halo 3 propaganda
    2. Gears of War 2
    3. WoW

    Notice that the first two are owned by Microsoft which can afford to buy all the TV stations, and the other is Blizzard which uses hundred dollar bills for toilet paper in their office. Therefore, smaller game companies must rely on the interwebs and word of mouth if they want to compete and stay alive, especially in today’s economy. People might go to the store and say, “O look. Gears of War 2. I’ve seen that on TV, so it must be good. Hmm, what’s this? Call of Duty…haven’t seen too much of that so it must not be as good.” Of course we all know that both of them are great games, but people recognize the more heavily advertised games and will therefore be more inclined to buy those instead of games of equal or greater value that they might not have heard of.

  14. Sony has the resources though, to go all out on LBP and Killzone 2. They just seem to expect critical acclaim to do the job. It clearly only goes so far.

  15. All my favorite games came out before I was at the age that I even looked up games on the internet, and the ones since then were mostly un-heard of games. Good games have a way of finding me.

    Has anyone played Sniper Elite? I dont ever remember seeing ads for it, and no one i’ve asked has ever heard of it… It was fantastic.

  16. Hype has never really affected me – I think people make do big a deal though, if a game has too much hype or not. That should never dissuade you from buying it – you buy it if its good or not. The amount of hype should make no difference, as a company has to get its name out there somehow, right? I’ve seen games with barely any hype, a couple articles and such here and there, and people still complain.

    Just my two cents.

  17. Yeah, a lot of people are complaining about Killzone 2 hype, but its mostly good reviews that are coming out. I have not seen Sony do anything special for it, yet.

  18. hype made me get halo 3 and gears of war 2 but other than those two it doesn’t do much

    lbp needs more advertisments i ave only seen 1 on the bk of a magazine if more people saw how fun it is then sony would sell more

  19. [quote comment=”4278″]Yeah, every now and again I will hear someone champion Valkyria Chronicles. I loved the demo and I look forward to playing it soon.[/quote]
    I actually just bought a PS3 last week (should get it today) because I wanted to play Valkyria Chronicles. I’m looking forward to MGS and LBP, but it was Valkyria Chronicles that finally convinced me to get one.

    Edit: Well, it was that and the price (amazon one day deal) $350, no tax and free shipping. =)

  20. I avoid hype (being any videos other then trailers mostly) as much as possible, mostly because if a game is over hyped then I’m like a little kid waiting on Christmas day to open his presents but I actually have to wait 6 months with possible extensions and I am actually opening a PS3 box with a rock inside (No difference AMIRITE?)

  21. I don’t care that much of hyped games. Well, I jus ignore them that they are being hyped.
    Cause in the end, you get an over hyped game and all pumped up to play it, and realize that is sucked so bad, you get over hypedly rick roll’d.

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