Up For Debate - Gaming's most outrageous PR spins and disasters

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Aug 3, 2019 4:15 PM

Gaming is an interest which is never short on both hilarity and disaster. The push/pull between a rabid fanbase, over-eager executives, and cynical players mean we’re constantly on a ship steering through rocky waters. Publishers want higher margins, gamers want better games, and when these two ideals clash we get our PR disasters. Back in the old days we didn’t really get them at all but, with gaming proliferating into the huge entertainment goliath it is today, failures are both costly and embarrassing. They will say anything they can to paper over the cracks.

I tell you what though, the last couple of years have been rich pickings. Truly, we are in the golden age of outlandish PR claims. Half the time it’s not even their fault. They’re often being asked to make something bad sound fantastic, and that’s not an easy task. PR can’t often say the truth. They can’t say they think loot boxes suck and they detract from the gameplay experience. They can’t tell you their game is probably overpriced right now, or that it’s not content complete. But they can tell you about how absolutely awesome everything is right now.

So it’s time to celebrate both the most hilarious cock-ups and the most outrageous positive spins. The PR who can take a disaster and weave it into a success truly are gold dust. 

I’ll get the ball rolling with a few of my favourites. I just about managed to resist an entire page of EA quotes.

“We don’t call them loot boxes. We call them ‘surprise mechanics’”. - Kerry Hopkins, EA.

Glorious stuff. Meme-worthy.

“Fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, it’s called Xbox 360.” Don Mattrick, Microsoft.

Mattrick there, bullish about the always-online functionality of the Xbox One when it was originally announced. The climb down took just 72 hours.

“Borderlands 3 won't have microtransactions." - Randy Pitchford, Gearbox. 

“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.” - EA Community Team, EA.

Star Wars Battlefront 2’s launch cause a bigger mess than Jabba’s underwear. Framing paid customers having to spend hundreds of hours unlocking key characters as “pride and accomplishment” truly was the icing on the cake.

"It's probably too cheap... If you can have an amazing experience, we believe price is not a problem.

"We want consumers to think to themselves 'I will work more hours to buy one.' We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else."  - Ken Kutaragi, Sony.

Nothing beats being bullish optimistic, cocksure, smug, or condescending to your fan base than telling them they should get another job to pay for your overpriced console. 

There’s a few to get it going then, but what have been some of your favourites over the years? Anything in particular which has had you head-palming? Let us know your thoughts below!

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05:21 Aug-19-2019

ill still remember about diablo immoral until this day

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02:29 Aug-05-2019

This will make a nice thesis "The Effect of PR Disaster to Company's Stock Price".

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19:25 Aug-03-2019

Fallout 76 and Bethesda have had one hell of a year. The Epic Game Store and its move to timed exclusives has also been one hell of a shift show.

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19:23 Aug-03-2019

This one is pretty "nice":
"... some of you will probably be slightly shocked by all the tricks I listed here. But I'll leave the mortality out of the talk, we can discuss it, if we have time later. "
Video "Let’s go whaling: Tricks for monetising mobile game players with free-to-play", presentation for CEOs and developers. It has few juicy bits in it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNjI03CG

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19:26 Aug-03-2019

Another one would be Bethesdas announcement of TES Blades, where Todd said, how we will get unprecedented unique experience like never before. Then they made game with timegating on limited chest slots and buildings, game with useless currency you earn by playing and real currency you get by paying to skip timegating,... But I am too lazy to look up for actual quote.

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19:21 Aug-03-2019

where is Fallout 76 ?

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09:40 Aug-06-2019

Good one

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17:28 Aug-03-2019

There is an amazing Youtube channel talking about this topic in detail called YongYea. I highly recommend people watching his content.
https://bit.ly/2Kl8IGl
This video talks about the psychology behind micro transactions.

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18:21 Aug-03-2019

I wouldn't call his channel "amazing" since his videos could easily be 1/4 of their length. His pacing is all over the place and repeats himself way too much.

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19:07 Aug-03-2019

i agree , that's why i rely more on bulluar news , the guy treats every subject from different perspectives and talks about 5-6 different topics in a single video that is usually significatly shorter than those of yongyea

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19:20 Aug-03-2019

Do you watch Upper Echelon Gaming?

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20:19 Aug-03-2019

actually i follow most of them . upper echelon , jim sterling , cleanpricegaming , yongyea , but my favorite of them all is still bulluar news since he is almost the only one that sums up all the news in one video that is done regularly and look at the problems from different perspectives while providing some kind of solutions to problems

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17:05 Aug-03-2019

We just need one single scandal and all of this lootbox and microtransation gambling will be gone or put under a tighter microscope kinda like what happened after the csgo skin betting fiasco.

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16:57 Aug-03-2019

All the No mans sky interviews lol we could list all the lies...

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16:40 Aug-03-2019

No spin or pr disaster is my favorite since all of them are about corrupt people ruining my gaming hobby and feeding on the money of children through gambling.

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