What the gaming industry can learn from the Fallout 4 reveal
Earlier this week, the world of video games experienced an upheaval when two of the biggest names in the industry – Gamestop and Metacritic – went head-to-head. Metacritic brings together reviews for movies, music, and especially video games, and Gamestop is the largest video game retailer besides Steam. Gamestop was pouring its…steam, at Metacritic, because it believes the review aggregator is responsible for the reduction in the number of game pre-orders.
“Pre-orders are down a bit here, but the percentage of first week sales versus pre-orders has gone up a lot. % of pre-orders. The demand is still there, but there has been a shift in terms of pre-ordering the product,” GameStop International President Mike Mauler said. “There’s more attention paid to the Metacritic score than there is. the past. Two or three years ago it wasn’t much of a conversation starter, but now the week before release it’s getting a lot of attention.”
It has a lot to do with how video games are marketed. More often than not, the big console and PC releases go for about a year of marketing. From alleged leaks to teasers to gameplay reveals, the marketing machine that operates behind a major video game release is as intricate and intricate as the game itself. And from the initial trailer to when you first play the game (and even after release to fix bugs), the developers struggle to turn the hype into reality.
More often than not, however, the final product pales in comparison to the pre-output noise. Ubisoft’s open-world hackathon, Watch Dogs, was nothing like its E3 2012 reveal. The difference was so big it sparked outrage, with consumers claiming Ubisoft had falsely advertised the game .
In the case of Batman: Arkham Knight, publisher Warner Bros. thought it was a good idea to announce a season pass of $40 (approximately Rs. 2,560) to be purchased before the game’s launch, almost the price of a new game. It included “six months of content post-launch”, which usually means story missions, villains, Batmobile skins, challenge maps, race tracks, and character skins.
Given the quality of downloadable content from previous Batman games, there’s no reason for consumers to spend money on it, especially since it’s two-thirds the cost of one. new game. That’s not even taking into account the bonus pre-order DLC, which is separate from the season pass and part of which is exclusive to one retailer or another (like Gamestop), ensuring you’ll never quite own every piece of content. until the inevitable edition of the game of the year. Mobile games are often blamed for being shameless about money, and consumers are frustrated to see the same behavior from their PC and console games.
Amid the sea of caution and growing mistrust between video game companies and their audiences sits Bethesda. Granted, he’s also guilty of leading fans along in a merry song and dance (as is the case with new game Doom), but the way he revealed his upcoming post-apocalyptic role-playing game, Fallout 4, is a thing of beauty.
(Also see: Fallout 4 announced for PC, PS4 and Xbox One)
For those of you who missed it, Bethesda had a countdown to a reveal, followed by a trailer focusing on the game’s footage and gameplay. Simple as that. There was no pre-announcement of an announcement like in the case of Doom or Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Most games today release slowly with a steady drop of non-essential footage, so that we are forced to wait for real information.
Plus, the gameplay feels real. It doesn’t look like something that’s been prepared for a trailer, but rather looks like something you’ll actually play. Some internet commentators say it doesn’t look as good as previous games, but there’s a lot to be said for releasing actual in-game footage. It sets realistic expectations and prevents the inevitable cycle of hype media and disappointment that you see with other games. And perhaps best of all, it didn’t look like it was announced too soon. Consider the slow launch of Duke Nukem Forever, or the wait we’re now experiencing for Final Fantasy XV? The former was released to universal contempt 14 years after its announcement, while the latter is still in an evolved form of development hell. Announced in May 2006, it is far from being shipped.
(Also see: Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae Impressions: No Fun, No Fantasy)
To put that into perspective, Bethesda released The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and The Elder Scrolls Online all at the same time. Granted, this doesn’t include Bethesda’s role in Wolfenstein, Dishonored, The Evil Within and others, but it’s a testament to the fact that Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix missed a turn or 9000 by announcing the game too soon. . He is still working on the comments of the demo that was released with Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD and select characters and features.
Finally – and perhaps most importantly – the Fallout 4 reveal had an obvious lack of DLC publicity. There were no rude cries to bribe consumers with exclusive pre-order content. This is something that other companies like Electronic Arts have committed. Ironically, Bethesda has in the past been at the forefront of DLC derision by charging $2 for horse armor, an unnecessary addition to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Maybe it’s a sign that the industry is growing, realizing that you can sell games to an audience without having to resort to mercenary tactics. Or maybe it’s unique. But either way, what retailers like Gamestop should realize is that whether the game’s marketers mature or not, the public definitely has.