I’ve Had Enough Mysterious Announcements
I don’t like hype too much. But then you’d know that if you’d read my previous column on the subject. I would like to think I’m a relatively reasonable guy, though, and so I accept that the hype train has to be driven a certain distance before it derails. There has to be some hype in place to help new releases feast upon the general public’s collective wallet and slurp up some of those tasty, nourishing sales. I’ve been alarmed by a growing trend, though: the increased reliance on announcements.
I don’t mean any old announcements, of course. I wouldn’t suggest that publishers start taking their hard-developing wares and just start dumping them on shop shelves without breathing a word about their existence – though it does feel that happens with some games. The announcements I’m talking about are those hideous aberrations that seem to be more prevalent by the day: announcements of announcements.
If you’re fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this phenomenon, it is basically how it sounds. One of the most common methods used to supposedly build hype these days is putting out an announcement that, one day, in the not so distant future, there’s going to be an announcement made. That’s it. Well, thanks for grabbing my attention for that helpful nugget. Perhaps instead that original opportunity you had to grasp my attention could have been used to fill me in. Or, maybe, shock tactics could have been employed and a completely out of the blue announcement could have appeared from nowhere one day in a similar manner, taking everybody aback and astonishing them at how well the upcoming product has been kept secret. But no. We are whipped into a frenzy, thinking we’re about to learn something new, only to end up staring at a countdown clock that kindly informs us we will actually be learning that something new a week from now. Two if we’re really lucky.
These announcements come in two flavours. The first is the one where you have no idea what is about to be announced: no title, no series, nothing mentioned. You’re in the dark. I suppose that’s supposed to build excitement about an entire company, is it? The second is… well, I can’t actually decide if it’s more, less or equally infuriating, but it’s the situation where you have been told a title or a series, but you’ve also been told that you’ll have to wait for a specific date to find out such crucial facts as what format the game is even being released on.
How about we get that stuff upfront in the first place? Publishers do realise how much of a pain it is to give credible coverage to something that has no released information of any use, don’t they? Isn’t this practice, in that way, just winding people up, making them not want to cover your product until there’s something to actually talk about, and doing the reverse of what is intended?
Inevitably, it all leads to speculation. Of course it does. You can stick a lump of cheese to the top of a Dreamcast and broadcast it via a webcam stream from your shed these days and people will pull out conspiracy theories about a secret new Chu Chu Rocket game being in development. So when a large, official source mentions something is coming, people are obviously going to talk and come to conclusions both sensible and zany. Mainly the latter.
Pages: 1 2