Game Announcements and Reading Beyond the Headline

The irresponsibility of game announcements

“So when’s Crash coming out?”

Truth is, those Crash Bandicoot remasters mightn’t be seen for a while. They get announced, disappear for a year or two, then come back, get some footage, some delays and eventually they’ll come out. Maybe they’ll surface in 2018, maybe sooner, maybe later.

Either way, it’ll be some time away. I know that. If you’re reading this, then you most likely know that too. You’re in the loop. You know how this works.

But the casual Crash fan-base (the size of which should not be underestimated) may not know this. Many gamers are unlike ourselves; they buy maybe a handful of games a year, perhaps they’ve fallen out of love with video games since the OG Crash games but they don’t keep up with news as often as we do. They don’t know how it works.

This is the irresponsibility of game announcements.


The importance of a date

When a game is announced, the next, obvious question to ask is “when can I play it?” Sadly, a lot of games are announced without acknowledging this follow up question.

Bethesda’s announcement of Fallout 4, to me, represents the perfect announcement for three reasons: a) here’s the game, b) here’s someone playing the game and c) here’s when you can play the game.

The Last Guardian however represents what not to do. After announcing the game there is several years of silence before we see the game played, then another year before a release date is announced. We’ll see if it does indeed finally release this October.

In terms of consumer satisfaction, powerful marketing and the cultivation and management of hype, a date is important. How are we really supposed to get excited when we don’t have the number of days to countdown?


Reading beyond the headline 

The industry, in its present state, thrives off announcements. It craves big news, speculation and rumour, anything to create an eye-catching headline that drives audience attention. But it comes at a cost; the details behind the story, beyond the headline often go unnoticed.

It’s a lot easier to read 140 characters than it is to read 140 words, but the amount of information contained within a single Tweet will never match the attached article.

Those that heard of Death Stranding‘s announcement may not have noticed that it’s yet to enter full production; according to Eurogamer an engine has yet to be chosen. There may be some out there already getting excited for this game, but marketers have got a monumental task ahead of them maintaining this excitement throughout its years of development.

Honesty and transparency is absolutely necessary, but we – as an audience – must demand and expect it.

It can be dangerous and frankly heartbreaking to hear a game has been announced before receiving news that it’ll be years before you can play it. Do yourself a favour and before you’re consumed by the hype, read beyond the headline.

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