Gaming publishers need a basic lesson in proper promotion. Let's get one thing straight: the current model for selling copies of an overblown money-laden video game is downright barbaric. The industry is still using fire to warm their caves and rather than bludgeon their prey (the consumer) over the head like a true venture company viking would, they showcase shiny trinkets and ask, "Isn't this pretty?" Well fuck that, there's plenty of pretty things in this world and the market is over-saturated with bullshit advertisements explaining to me how wonderful merchandise is. How unique this artistic little snowflake in the blue marble we live in is. Let's all step back and take a deep breath so you'll be able to take this journey with me properly.
Breathe in. Art is a product.
Breathe out. Products are meant to be sold.
That's the reality of the situation. It doesn't matter whether something is creative, full of passion and soul, whether it's something only a few people are meant to enjoy, the bottom line is: it's for consumption. That is all human beings do to fill their time on this earth. They consume. Creation is the byproduct of the need to consume. And if the game industry wishes to survive the inevitable asteroid of drudgery that will hit every miserable techdino within a universal radius, they need to change their tone, their messaging, and their salvo.
Now I'm not here to tell you to embrace the future, I'm simply going to give you some background and a possible scenario we may all have to deal with in the event marketing executives get their heads out of their asses and do some proper work. This is how the sputtering, liver spotted marketing behemoth of the gaming industry currently works.
Hype Train Burning in the Mainstream
The video game industry is becoming mainstream in order to survive. I'm sure you've noticed that. You read articles on gaming sites. You read blogs. You put two and two together and rub those sexy brain cells together. You're an educated purveyor. This is a sign of maturity in a capitalistic society. You're not seeing major companies piggybacking on another media empire and asking it to run up the hill where Sisyphus is counting all that gold every CEO can share with each other while circle jerking so they can finally free a landlocked yacht and sail off into the sunset. This is the childishness that sank the original incarnation of the games industry.
ET was a pretty big movie in the 80's. So Atari decided they could just pump out any kind of garbage they wanted and stamp a big 'ol ET logo on it, and then head to the printing presses to get all that fresh green. They put all their Rolex watches in one basket and the fucker cratered into a New Mexico landfill. Sure, you'll still see shovelware products like this propped up on shelves and digital playgrounds near you, but the budget for these titles is deflated and kept to a minimum now. Mainstream titles are loud, stupid, pumped with enough cash to stay afloat, and marketed aggressively in that movie tailored "this is shiny and/or artistic" foghorn that everyone has come to appreciate like a domesticated animal.
Of course, with the advent of video games hitting the mainstream, the indie crowd arose from the leftover piles of money and ambition, much like what the film and music industries enjoy today. In the coming years, you'll see more and more indie companies taking full advantage of marketing opportunities to present their product in that friendly, passive manner that indie movies are thriving in. Right now the �carefree hand waving in the wind� for the games industry is retro graphics and straight-shooting, to the point trailers that ape the big boys without breaking the bank. Welcome to the norm. This is the game industry stretching its legs and settling down in a comfy chair.
End of part 1. Part 2 coming soon.
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