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5 of the Biggest Video Game Marketing Mistakes Ever Made




Well as we kick off a new week in video game history and wait for Resident Evil’s solution to multiplayer mayhem (namely Operation Racoon City), i’m reminded of one of the huge errors in game release history which was the 3rd edition of Unreal a release that was merely a multiplayer fragfest set of maps and excluded any 1st person story mode.  Unreal Tournament was its title.  After collecting a huge following, marketing a shoot your friends only title (even though it was pretty darn cool looking) giving a multiplayer only set of maps simply wasn’t enough to keep it’s sales record up for future releases. Now this article is of course an opinion and entirely based on the authors own recollections of largest video game marketing faux paws to date.

On this list we would have to mention both the promotion, hype, and blunder of Duke Nukem Forever.  In a very valid and fun attempt to bring back a successful franchise decades later, the first problem was the number of hand-offs of the license before 2kGames took the helm and mind you, this is not a game bashing article (entirely), as DN Forever itself was pretty innovative, fun and nostalgic, but when it came to marketing, they both floundered after getting hit hard by the critical reviews, and instead of promoting the title with a bit more pizzazz (and advertising), they simply dropped the price to 29.99 almost immediately, which is a very big way of saying, uh well, we screwed up but try our game anyway.  If they had wanted to grab the full original price point, a simple remedy would have been to have a comparison of the original Duke’s and the nostalgic mayhem brought back in the new release that both mocked and enhanced the concepts that had already been well received in video game history.

On with yet another big error would have to be the extremely miss-represented Red Faction Armageddon.  If there was ever a fanbase you could deter from trusting you again for releasing a completely different genre style, it would have to be this release.  I’ve personally played every Red Faction game and when it comes down to fun and destructive awesomeness (the chaos engine lets you destroy all buildings walls and materials on a map in their usual first person shooter titles), Armageddon was an above view tactic fighter that had nothing to do with any of the previous entries but was marketed to appear as a new entry to an already avid set of fps gamers.  Not cool, and neither was the game.

Next up on the list of huge and erroneous marketing mistakes would have to be the most recent and unforgettable exclusion of content to be purchased as DLC in Mass Effect 3.  If there has ever been a bad taste left in any consumers mouth (never mind the ending complaints in general), it’s this very poorly devised milking strategy that was both denied by Bioware and debunked moments later that makes this very recent and mostly positive release get either ignored by the consumer or complained about to the masses.  Now again, the titles mentioned in this entry are not what is in question, it’s the marketing strategy that lead to the downfall of what could have been a much larger income stream.  I’m sure there are more than enough MA3 fans that will love to chime in and say how great the game is (as it is), but there was and always will be much more income that is now left on the table due to the greed and lack of attention to release detail (based on the DLC error), that will simply cut the fanbase of supporters for this title and quite possibly future releases as well from this publisher.

On with another marketing blunder, I would have to bring up the huge number of complaints about the release of Call of Duty Black Ops.  Not that it hurt the MW3 sales of course, and in this instance the author is referring to the content within the game itself.  If there had ever been a chance of ruining a great franchise, this title just barely squeaked by as acceptable to many gamers whom admire the COD series and it was luckily not the death of the series, although many feel it should have been.  Without too much more knowledge on the particular reason it was so badly received, it’s important to remember the unprecedented success and response to MW3.   Of course the MW set of titles is promoted as completely unrelated so in this case it might have been a good mistake at the cost of a very complicated and expensive production for a title winding up getting tossed under the bus.

Lastly, as far as video game blunders are concerned, and of course this article may appear highly biased or opinionated albeit best efforts were given to remain objective for the sake of entertainment value and to leave you, the reader, with something to take away, let us never forget that attention to detail in all video games is what can and will make or break the future success or failure respectively of a video game company, and as such, here’s a short list of very obvious typographical faux paws harshly displayed onscreen during inner gameplay so when you read the hard work of a journalist please remember most of the time proof-reading can be non-existent where it’s difficult to hear why these mistakes made it to screen on a purchasable video game product:

o    “Conglaturation!!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go and rest our heroes! ” (Ghostbusters)

o     “All your base are belong to us.” (Zero Wing)

o    A Winner Is You.“ (Pro Wrestling) 

o    “Congratulations. This story is a happy end.” (Ghosts N’ Goblins

o    “Being the wise and courageour knight that you are you feel strongth welling in your body.”(Ghosts N’ Goblins)

o    “Destroy the mother brain the mechanical life vein.” (Metroid)

o    “See your face upon the clean water.  How dirty!  Come!  Wash your face!” (Final Fantasy I)

o    Somebody set up us the bomb.” (Zero Wing)

o    “Do not be angry each other, love is the power supreme.” (Samurai Showdown 2)

o    ”All creature will die.” (Samurai Showdown 2) 

o    “You invaders get you the hot bullets of shotgun to die” (Battle Rangers

o    “Take Joe to the exit while avoid spikes! While you are magnetised, the neighbour magnetic cells attract you!” (Magnetic Joe)

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