Video game marketing disasters

Started by Palamon June 16th, 2022 5:23 PM
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What video games do you think were just marketed poorly and thus fell under the radar because of it?

No pokemon in this thread, please.


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The way Konami has handled Silent Hill by taking the IP and making pachinko machines out of it. We could have had PT!!

Also, lol, Diablo: Immortal. I suppose this is more of a fan reaction disaster than a marketing one, but goddamn. What a muk show lol.
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Fable was overmarketed and overhyped. Coming from someone who likes the original game.

Made too many promises that are not even possible to deliver on with today's modern open world games.


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Earthbound for sure. Packed scratch-n-sniff cards into magazines like Nintendo Power. Consisted of mostly terrible smells, supposedly. (Says Pizza, Dirt, Burnt Rubber, Mushroom, Banana, and Hot Dog on one recreation of it.) Repeated the phrase "This game stinks" multiple times in their written advertisements.

Describes the commercial as weak also. Showed off the swamp area in the first five seconds. Focused on the starting hill area for the rest. Walked through a non-descript cave and up a ladder. Scores an automatic victory at the end. Never cut to a battle.
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No Pokemon? But Pokemon Sword and Shield are literally the best example of this, though. Nothing else this console generation even comes close to the outright lies told during the marketing campaign. I mean, at least with rubbish like lootboxes and microtransactions, companies are actually upfront with it most of the time. Game Freak's lies about less grievous offenses actually made those offenses worse, because they couldn't even own their extremely poor decisions. At least every time Square Enix or Konami or even "surprise mechanics" EA come out with rubbish they're actually fairly upfront about it being there, and they don't focus on it - they mention it, then move on. Doesn't make it any more acceptable, but...well, at least you know what you're getting, and why. Unless it's added retroactively (which for a time it often was, until the backlash reached boiling point) but then it isn't part of the marketing campaign, so it's not really relevant to this particular topic.

The difference is that these companies DON'T make it part of the marketing campaign, the way that Dexit and its supposed reasons - which were all lies - became practically the focal point of Sword and Shield after it was announced. Game Freak just wouldn't move away from it, so it got worse and worse. Of course, the games didn't fall off the radar - unfortunately - but to try and brush them aside when they're such a fantastic example of extremely bad marketing...yeah. Nope. This is what happens when you let others dictate your marketing, which is why they're such great examples of bad marketing. There is a lot of anger and resentment around scummy practices in games, but you don't see companies focusing their marketing on what people are reacting negatively to in an attempt to make it more palatable or acceptable. Which is good marketing. You want to focus on the positives, not the negatives. Definitely not the things you know people aren't happy about. I can't think of another game where the marketing was dictated by fan response this way...ever.

Although when I think of marketing fiascos, I actually think of past generation consoles rather than any specific games. The Wii U was just a poor, confused mess that never really took off due to a complete lack of focus, Sony completely gave up on the PS Vita early on and so it was completely ignored by most people (to their detriment, the console was home to some of the best JRPGs and visual novels out there before most were ported to the Switch), the 3DS had a VERY rough start due to the 3D gimmick, and the Xbox One...well. Last generation was certainly an interesting time! There was also the PS3's infamously bad launch, the Nokia N-Gage, the HORRIFIC PSP White model ads...consoles can really suffer from marketing in the run-up to release. It's very difficult to dress-up the price tag and the sparse launch lineup, though. But if you look at console sales across generations, the ones that do poorly are generally the ones with bad marketing initially. Except for the Wii, anyway.

But if I had to name a game that had disgracefully bad marketing that isn't Pokemon...well, there was Dante's Inferno. Where EA hired actors to stage fake protests, send rickroll boxes that had to be destroyed to get them to stop playing the music, the weird sin-related adverts and promotions...I mean, I know they had to do SOMETHING to make their game stand out when it was a time filled with God of War "clones" but it was by far the weirdest marketing campaign I've ever seen, and it didn't even work particularly well either.

NieR also sticks out as a game that fell completely under the radar for having basically no marketing at all after the initial reveal. Which is a real shame. Its enhanced remaster didn't fare much better either. Despite it being significantly better than Automata, which did stupendously well...but not even Automata's success could bolster the Replicant remake enough for it to get a similar kind of success. Automata's marketing wasn't even that good either. But this was a time when FFXIII was stealing the spotlight, and plenty of amazing PS3 games that released around the same time - like Resonance of Fate, anyone else remember that? - were completely ignored too.

I'd also say a lot of current generation games are having marketing issues thanks to the $70 price tag, too...which I notice not that many are presently choosing to opt for. What a surprise!

The problem is that a lot of games with bad marketing were bad games to begin with, or were extremely polarising because of the radical departure from the series formula, so it's hard to say if they really could have marketed the game any better than they did. FFXIII really sticks out here. I mean, getting Leona Lewis of all people to do the main theme, which in no way fit the game's no wonder that FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns got barely any marketing at all. But was FFXIII a bad game, or was it just that it was such a radical departure from JRPG norms, omitting things like towns and sidequests for a more linear, story-focused structure? I'm not sure if the fan reception to FFXIII was better or worse than Pokemon Sword and Shield. Then there was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker...oh dear. That one didn't go down well at all either, but really was it ever going to? Everyone wanted Twilight Princess, and they didn't get that until after Wind Waker. But Toon Link has proven to be extremely popular over time. Initially though, the level of fury surrounding Wind Waker was insane.

Some things are beyond marketing's power to fix, and people are going to think what the media outlets want them to think. It's hard to say if it's due to marketing specifically, because a lot of games with good or even great marketing get completely thrown under a bus come release because they just...aren't very good. There was a lot of attention given to Marvel's Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, and both pretty much died out pretty quick. The latter wasn't even that bad of a game. The former they kept trying, repeatedly, to resurrect some interest in, but it never went anywhere. But I'd argue that was the game's fault rather than the marketing.


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While not a game, I remember the disaster that was Xbox One reveal presentation. I have no idea who thought it was a good idea, but at least we got gems like this thanks to it.

For games, one that comes to mind is Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. As far as I can remember, they showed one trailer over and over again on initial reveal and then used that same trailer with only minor changes until the release.

And majority of Epic exclusive games are also usually just forgotten until release.



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Omg I remember that Xbox event, complete misread of their target audience and one of the strangest moments in gaming. Also the console focused event reminds me of the Wii U launch and that was marketed horrendously so many people had no idea Nintendo had even launched a new system and thought it was just some kind of enhanced Wii.

In terms of games Mighty No. 9, Diablo Immortal & Sonic Frontiers spring to mind.
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An abandoned console with a piece of sh*t controller, a market that is somehow still online selling game not good enough to be called shovel ware but on the same level as what the AVGN would call his nuclear-no-man-zone; and all of this AFTER it published.... Which, the marketing on Kick starter at the time was pretty solid, a game console in the hands of the gamer's and the tinker's and the budding-want-to-be-programmers. Then the spokeswoman for the whole thing went sideways out the window into what few would call a Sharknado with Zombie clown's and they had to fight the Sharks.

As stupid as I wrote that, we all know the Ouya is the type of disaster you can't ignore.

Google is abandoning Stadia and moving it. If you watch the videos on youtube about it from start to finish. That is another Disaster happening in Slowmotion. Slow enough you can pull out your lawnchair, metaphorically and watch the trainwreck with a cold one for a few hours like watching Fireworks. You can even do this before the announce they're officially cutting it loose.

Ill never tell.
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I actually bought into it; Love it and the DS game. I even bought the remake on the switch and played to the end of it all. I just want to know where I can get the soundtrack for all of them; officially. That and where's the anime?!

If anything, I think a lot of Square Enix's games are lacking marketing in general as they just annouce it, we watch it until it publishes. I still want a proper sequel to Crystal Chronicle's without it having to come out on a handheld or at least something stable where me and friends can join in on it like a night of DnD.... Just the DnD is already set up, we're just going into dungeons to be heroes before the year ends.



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I actually bought into it; Love it and the DS game. I even bought the remake on the switch and played to the end of it all. I just want to know where I can get the soundtrack for all of them; officially. That and where's the anime?!
The World Ends with You anime aired last year, unless you mean for the sequel?


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The first Western release of Fire Emblem. When this is how you're introduced to the series, "Build an army. Trust no one.", but you have a main character trusting an amnesiac in the first ten seconds... Well, it's no wonder that Awakening was almost the last game in the series. Ironically, it was Awakening's marketing that ultimately proved to be its saviour. Dorcas even has a voiceline in Heroes specifically in reference to this meme of an ad.

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I'd say this counts since it was a game console, but it's all of the strangely sexual references in the Sega 32X marketing in the U.S. It was an add-on for the Sega Genesis that you could plug into the top of the console, so... yeah. Not the greatest way to advertise a gaming product. Especially since the best game on 32X was Knuckles' Chaotix. Which did amazing, as you can easily see.
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I'd say one I personally know : War Wind, a RTS who came out just after Warcraft 2, and went unnoticed because of it. Pity...
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