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Marketing

Dragon Quest photo
Dragon Quest

This Dragon Quest Builders display was built with lots of blocks


Go on, take a piece
Jan 25
// Jordan Devore
Last year, Square Enix promoted Dragon Quest Heroes in Japan with a huge wall of poppable slimes at a metro station. It was the stuff of dreams. (For me, anyway, but then again I see strange things when I sleep.) A similar ca...

When is no advertising the best advertising?

Jan 01 // Jonathan Holmes
[Art by Nibroc-Rock] By shying away from trumpeting the merits of his game, Toby has unintentionally sent a message to Undertale's potential audience about himself and his work that has apparently resonated. If Toby had taken a more vocal tact in trying to communicate exactly what it's like to play his game through words, screenshots, or videos, it's not likely that his potential audience would have felt the same optimism about the game, or gotten as accurate an idea about how strange and mysterious it feels. By not trying to convince us that his game is worthwhile, he sent the message that this is a game by and for people who want something that you have to play to understand, and that personally learning about the game from someone who has not been paid to talk to you about it is the best way to learn about it. It was a similar situation with Minecraft and Five Nights at Freddy's, before they became too big to remain out of sight from the mainstream world. Compare that to game like Rise of the Tomb Raider, which reviewed well and looks to have had an ample marketing budget. If rumored sales numbers are an indication, consumers just weren't hungry enough for Lara Croft's biggest and arguably best adventure to prioritize it over all the games they had to choose from in the last few months of 2015. The fact that a game like Undertale may have turned more of a profit than the latest title in the Tomb Raider series is pretty amazing, and says a lot about how much marketing matters compared to how inherently marketable a game may be. Strangely enough, one of Toby Fox's favorite games is one of the earliest examples of how a game can sometimes sell better when we aren't being told by a multi-million dollar publishing company that it is "special." When EarthBound was first released in the United States in 1994, it was accompanied by an expensive ad campaign, featuring scratch and sniff stickers and the unconventional, anti-braggart catch phrase "Because this game stinks." Nintendo's attempt to sell the game as a scrappy, rebellious underdog backfired, and the series lay in dormant outside of Japan for years in the wake of its failure. Flash forward to 2016 and EarthBound is more popular in the West than ever, despite Nintendo's relative abandonment of the franchise. We have legions of creative, genuine, passionate fans who have spent years sharing personal stories of what EarthBound means to them to thank for that. Regardless of how "conventionally marketable" a game might be, passion and trust are still contagious. Oxytocin is still something we can spread around. It's just that with some games, multi-million dollar ad campaigns may not be the best way to try to do that.  We all know, but don't always understand, that special feeling that can drive us to fully commit to spending our time and money on an unknown game. We may think we know where that feeling comes from (nostalgia, attractive scenarios and characters, suspension of disbelief, ego-stroking, and of course, good marketing), but like Malcolm Galdwell spells out in Blink, our knowledge of what we're going to like and why we're going to like it is often totally off. Assertive advertising campaigns regularly try to prey on that uncertainty by telling us what we like and why we should like it, but for many of us respond to a less ego-driven message. Though some of us may struggle to understand our own tastes, I'd like to think that most adults know that we can't always accurately predict how much we'll enjoy a game based on how its marketed, and instead choose follow a more independent and accurate internal compass. That said, I'm a notorious optimist when it comes to people, and I'm completely prepared to be told that I'm wrong. Do you think a nationwide ad campaign for Undertale would have caused it to sell even better, or do you think that would it have destroyed the game's underdog status, causing the people who currently love the game to eventually ignore it? Would games like The Wonderful 101 and Shadows of the Damned have sold better if they were marketed as unassuming little indie darlings? Is there a way to sell your game as both a "#1 best-made AAA product" and a "special little snowflake" at the same time? 
Undertale photo
The art of talking without talking
[Art by Momoppi] Earlier this year, I booked Undertale creator Toby Fox for an appearance on Sup Holmes. Shortly before the show was set to air, he asked if it was OK if he canceled because he "hates answering interview quest...

Video Games photo
Video Games

Games were made for boys because games were sold as toys?


Just wanna play video games every day
Dec 06
// Jonathan Holmes
A lot of hoopla has been flopping around in recent months about games that focus on boobs. Specifically, some of these games are either not being brought out of Japan, or are having their "boob features" diminished upon rele...
More empty Sonic optimism photo
More empty Sonic optimism

SEGA sez: New Sonic to be 'inspired by how it played in its heyday'


That smoke'll make you choke!
Oct 29
// Steven Hansen
Earlier this year, SEGA issued a bold apology. The company apologized for accidentally naming its Halloween character "Boob" instead of "Boo." Even earlier in the year, SEGA made another apology for how shit Sonic games have ...

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Treyarch is 'very sorry' about that Black Ops III tweet


'It was not done maliciously'
Oct 13
// Vikki Blake
Call of Duty: Black Ops III developer Treyarch has apologised for its recent Twitter marketing campaign. A couple of weeks ago, the studio changed the @callofduty Twitter name to 'Current Events Aggregate' and tweeted news of a live terrorist attack in Singapore. 
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Black Ops III has the most people interested according to a Nielsen survey


Surprise, surprise
Oct 07
// Brett Makedonski
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Of all the video games releasing this holiday season, Call of Duty is poised to be the most successful. Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. This conclus...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Official Call of Duty Twitter account tweets fake terrorist attack


Broke Twitter verified account rules
Sep 30
// Laura Kate Dale
As part of a promotional stunt to promote Call of Duty: Black Ops III and reveal new information about the plot of the game, Activision yesterday tweeted out several reports regarding a fake terrorist attack that had allegedl...
Cake! photo
Cake!

Nintendo finally reaches out to its core audience with appearance on Cake Wars


Too little too late for Wii U?
Jul 16
// Robert Summa
Even though the Wii U hasn't captured that coveted soccer mom demographic with its followup to the Wii, Nintendo isn't giving up. Like any good company, you have to know your audience and you have to cater to that audience --...
Czech PlayStation ads photo
Czech PlayStation ads

These Czech PlayStation ads make me feel like a criminal


I just got sickled and hammered
Feb 01
// Jason Faulkner
These ads come from not too long after the Iron Curtain became the Iron Drapes, and Western culture began flooding the former Warsaw Pact. It's obvious that there was still a little bit of a learning experience going on in 19...
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Bud Light turns man into Pac-Man in Super Bowl ad


This will probably never happen to you
Jan 23
// Conrad Zimmerman
Bud Light has released one of the ads which will air during the upcoming Super Bowl XLIX, in which an unsuspecting beer consumer becomes the player of a fully-realized, physical Pac-Man game while a live DJ spins music in a ...
Shigeru Miyamoto photo
Shigeru Miyamoto

Miyamoto explains Nintendo's reignited passion for core gaming


'In the days of DS and Wii, Nintendo tried its best to expand the gaming population.'
Aug 28
// Brittany Vincent
It's fairly obvious that Nintendo has been ramping up its concerted efforts to attract and maintain its core base, and Shigeru Miyamoto's latest comments confirm that it's not just a coincidence. Miyamoto spoke with Edge in a...
Industry  photo
Industry

Worldwide gaming market expected to hit $100 billion in yearly sales by 2018


Smartphones integral to growth
Jun 26
// Brittany Vincent
Projected game sales for 2014 are expected to total $64 billion dollars globally. By 2018, the global sales have been projected to reach $100 billion, mostly due to the giant leap in mobile gaming. Burgeoning economies in cou...
Cabela's photo
Cabela's

New Cabela's trailer puts a happy face on hunting


Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts now available
Mar 25
// Conrad Zimmerman
Cabela's Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts was released into the wild today for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Wii U. Activision released this trailer to accompany the launch. I love it so, so much. It's less about the gameplay, which...
Kojima photo
Kojima

Hideo Kojima unboxes Big Boss in Paris game shop


Backed by breezy Metal Gear theme
Mar 20
// Conrad Zimmerman
This is a silly little video uploaded today to the official Metal Gear Solid YouTube page. Hideo Kojima made a surprise appearance at a Micromania game store in Paris to celebrate the release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Ze...
Stanley Parable photo
Stanley Parable

100k copies of Stanley Parable HD sell in first weekend


Developer attributes success to unique marketing
Oct 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
The Stanley Parable is, once more, likely to be a hot topic of discussion as it pertains to the nature of narrative design in videogames and the illusion of choice. What isn't an illusion is the title's initial success, pushi...
Pikmin photo
Pikmin

Nintendo bred a new flower to market Pikmin on GameCube!?


Latest Did You Know Gaming? blows my mind
Aug 04
// Tony Ponce
The common refrain these days is that Nintendo doesn't know how to market the Wii U. But I know the creativity is still there, waiting to be tapped. Case in point... The latest episode of Did You Know Gaming? arrives just in...
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Final Fantasy: All the Bravest merchandise f*cking exists


Yes, seriously
Jul 29
// Jim Sterling
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest may well be the sleaziest, scummiest exploitation of a beloved videogame franchise this side of bootlegged Pikachu dolls. The "game" exists solely to leech cash from the "player," but Square Eni...
 photo

Nintendo PR actively promoting playable female characters


Pikmin 3 hailed as the start of many
Jul 25
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo is generally thought to exist in its own fancy little bubble, protected from the outside world and faintly out of touch with the rest of us. However, Nintendo of America's marketing department may be a bit more savvy...

Jimquisition: Damn Fine Coffee

Jun 03 // Jim Sterling
 photo
Jimquisition happens every Monday!
How do you like your coffee? Blacker than midnight on a moonless night? Or is that just what you want people to think? Asking consumers what coffee they drink is a fine example of demonstrating exactly how problematic a focu...

Wii U Marketing photo
Wii U Marketing

Nintendo urges Wii owners to discover Wii U


Wii owners will receive the info-message through their console
May 01
// Keith Swiader
Nintendo has sent out a mass-message to Wii owners to inform them of the Wii U's release, Kotaku reports. The message was sent in an effort to inform the mass audience that the Wii U is "an all-new home console from Nintendo,...
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The Last of Us focus test had to be made to include women


Marketers didn't want the opinions of smelly girls
Apr 09
// Jim Sterling
Naughty Dog has revealed it had to force the hand of its focus testers in order to get them to acknowledge a female perspective. Originally, The Last of Us was exclusively using male gamers to gauge audience interest, until t...
Injustice photo
Injustice

Latest TV spot for Injustice features Kevin Smith


Old scores finally being settled
Apr 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
A new advertisement for Injustice: Gods Among Us is starting into circulation and they're heading right for the comic fans by bringing in one of the more famous enthusiasts of (and contributors to) the medium, Kevin Smi...
Sifl and Olly photo
Sifl and Olly

Sifl and Olly return again, this time on Nerdist


Chester for president
Mar 31
// Jonathan Holmes
Silf and Olly was one of my favorite MTV shows of the 90's. I felt sad and somewhat guilty when the show it canceled in favor of more marketable but ultimately less interesting fare like Road Rules. The show was recently reb...
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Marketers wanted guns on Beyond: Two Souls promo art


Quantic 'categorically refused' generic action artwork
Mar 22
// Jim Sterling
Beyond: Two Souls had to fight to stop its promo art being reduced to a character holding a gun like 90% of the rest of videogame advertising, Quantic Dream recently revealed. Had marketers had their way, Ellen Page would be ...
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Terraria celebrates XBLA/PSN release by sending pebbles


Junk mail of an entirely different flavor
Feb 11
// Jim Sterling
We certainly get sent all manner of weird tat and nonsense in our role as semi-professional videogame jesters, and sometimes it's just ridiculous enough to achieve the desired effect and get a post. Here's 505 Games, literall...
Dark Souls 2 photo
Dark Souls 2

Help determine the buzzworthy tagline for Dark Souls 2


Prepare to sacrifice your death
Feb 10
// Conrad Zimmerman
Want to help the marketers working to promote Dark Souls 2? They're currently trying to determine the best tagline for the game, having a lot of competition from the previous game's one-liner, "prepare to die," and have turne...
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Sony: We have to do better at promoting PS Vita


Cites games and price as big barriers to tackle
Feb 08
// Jim Sterling
Addressing the never-ending tragedy that is the PlayStation Vita's sales career, Sony has suggested marketing is a problem. After cutting the system's sales expectations drastically, the company pledged to better promote it.&...
Office Chat photo
Office Chat

Doorbusting the Dead Island tourism board on PC standards


Another casual discussion from the Dtoid news room
Jan 30
// Conrad Zimmerman
In this latest installment of Office Chat, Jordan Devore, Brett Zeidler, and I consider whether Dead Island's cinematic trailers are misleading and if PC gamers should expect ports of games that utilize the superior power of their hardware. Plus, Nintendo's Virtual Console promotion might be a bit confusing, but represents a pretty good value.
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PSA: Doritos Crash Course DLC is out today


It's only $2, guys
Jan 02
// Brett Zeidler
The biggest achievement in free simulation obstacle course games featuring Xbox Live Avatars, Doritos Crash Course, has received its very own downloadable content today. Doritos Crash Course City Lights adds two new area...
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Capcom spoofs Assassin's Creed 3 to promote Okami HD


At least they have a sense of humor about it
Oct 31
// Conrad Zimmerman
Okami HD released on PlayStation Network this week, but Capcom seems to think you might have another game on the brain. They released this new video by way of a reminder and, seeing as they have new Okami hoodie merchandise ...

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