E3: Stripping out the Hype


One thing that can be a bit unnerving about the way the gaming media conducts itself is when it inadvertently (or purposefully, in some cases) acts as the extended reach of the PR team for a given publisher. In the attempt at being completely objective and unbiased, sometimes it’s easy for the marketing speak to climb into posts or previews of upcoming games, precisely because it’s the only information that’s being made available to the gaming media at the time that it’s covered. You don’t want to make any assumptions, so you go with the answers you’ve been given – which have been carefully constructed by some marketing copywriters.

Like I said, I haven’t been in this position myself, but that’s always seemed to be the struggle from an outside point of view. However, games writer Dennis Scimeca has been in that position, and writes about it over on his blog in a post titled Don’t Look at the Game Behind the Curtain. It’s actually a really interesting look at the trial-and-error process of a games journalist and how he handles different previews from E3. He mainly singles out both Brink and Homefront, two games that turned out to be, by many accounts, mediocre, but received a substantial amount of hype through cleverly designed preview events and trailers.

Personally, I would love to see the kind of “stripped” version of games reporting that he talks about here. Speaking from the experience of walking around on the PAX floor, it’s easy to let the smoke and mirrors cloud the real game that’s being shown. E3, as awesome as it is from a news perspective, has kind of become this huge circus that all the publishers and journalists are playing to. That being said, I still want to go to there.

What do you guys think of this kind of hype? Would you rather see more of it stripped out of games coverage? Or do you like getting whipped up into a fervor and judging for yourself what pulls its own weight? Does E3 excite you or irritate you for this exact reason?

Punching Snakes

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

4 thoughts on “E3: Stripping out the Hype”

  1. Great link to the article Eddy, definitely something to read before going on with your article here.

    I agree with you, ‘stripped’ versions of games would be much better to preview than a picture perfect level demo that promises more than can be had. I think that would be wonderful and do what was mentioned, let games be what they are instead of playing them off as “AAA titles”. It partially worries me about Battlefield 3, it could go this rout as well and be subpar on its launch. I feel like developers, or more-so their marketing teams, play on us with the smoke and mirrors to do just what they want, generate revenue and pre-orders.

    Another very important part of that was Pre-order rewards. Boom. Something I have hated from the start. Not only do I think it can be completely unfair (look at the STG from Call of Duty World at War) but they just drag you into buying something better (Limited Edition of Battlefield 3 which guarantees the map packs when pre-ordered) or revenue for a store (gamestop and its multitude of pre-order rewards). It generates revenue for the game before it even ships, before its final. Brink was supposed to be a game changer and look at it. I would love to see hype gone and things like pre-order rewards go away. The former I think can, but the latter will probably never go away. Theres too much money in it.

    As for E3…Id love to go. If you ever could get tickets Eddy sign me up for two more and Ill go with you. It excites me regardless. Its not to me about the hype, its about seeing things in the industry you love and getting to be surrounded in the con experience. The hype aside, to me E3 would still be fun.

  2. I love and hate E3. I love it because I get to hear about games that are coming out while making bets on which ones will be good and bad but i hate it because it is filled with so much hype. Like today Metro: Last Light was officially announced today and now i have another game to add to my List of Want. I am just starting to feel tired of all the hype every single game tries to achieve. I also feel like i to look forward to ME3, Skyrim, Hitman: Absolution, AC: Revelations, Batman: Arkham City and more. It just seems that E3 is too much gaming news for that small amount of time.

  3. I will admit that I love the hype. I want to watch an epic battle with a dragon in Skrim, a kickass teaser trailer for The Last Guardian, a giant crow in Dark Souls, and the camera panning away from a devastated Earth in Mass Effect 3. They all give me chills (just typing that did), and I love being excited for these things. A stripped down version just wouldn’t be something to hype, no matter how it performed.

    I will also admit to feeling the opposite of games I could care less about (CoD, Battlefield, Halo, pretty much FPS as a genre, though I like Bioshock). I’ll wonder why they’re showing this stuff, when it all looks the same as everything else.

    I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying I understand why the hype is important, even that ridiculous Kinect demo with people walking upside down for some reason. Games companies want to make money.

    And yes, Sean, I pre-ordered Dark Souls the second I heard that doing so would net me the limited edition. I don’t think you can blame game companies for doing things that make it easier for them to accomplish their goal, which is make money.

  4. I’ve never really been a “I need every detail the minute it’s available” kind of guy, so I don’t really get pumped for E3. I’d like to go just to surround myself in all that nerdgasm, but other than that, I’m happy finding out about games on Gamersushi or from friends, Steam, stumbling around the internet, etc.

Comments are closed.