Up For Debate - Does hype make or break a game?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Jan 16, 2021 5:00 PM
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Hype. It’s a buzz word in the entertainment industry. Whether that be video games, movies, or your nephew’s local theatre production, generating hype for your product is an essential component of marketing now. 

Which is pretty obvious since your end goal every time is to make as much money as possible, and the more hype you generate, the more likely that more people will buy your product. But generating too much hype can overbuild expectations, resulting in critical disappointment at launch.

I don’t think there is a better case study of this than the recent launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Say what you will about the game itself, but it’s quite possible that it is was the most hyped game of all time, judging by it’s financial success and broken records at least.

Hype fuels expectations, and high expectations means a smaller margin for error that the customer will be satisfied with. Obviously hype will generate more excitement for your product, leading to more sales, but potentially hurting your reputation for quality can lead to decreased sales in the long term.

One way to combat this would be to not give into the hype generation, and instead keep low expectations. That way, if something comes out and it’s bad, you won’t be disappointed. And if it turns out to be great, then it will feel even better to you. It’s a win-win situation right?

But if you always have low expectations, then there’s never anything to get excited about, and it’s fun to get excited about stuff, hell it even feels good to get excited. So maybe there’s a balance that needs to get struck there?

What’s also tricky is that hype can be generated by the audience rather than the studio itself, which means it can end up being hard to control. As a developer you can't help it if loads of people are excited about your product, in fact that probably feels great when that happens. But then is it really your fault if your audience’s expectations were too high? Should you have managed the hype yourself to lower everyone’s expectations?

Anyway, it’s a difficult subject to touch on because of it's volatility, and you can absolutely argue for either side. What would be interesting is to see the general consensus from you guys considering we’ve all most likely had first hand experience of hype in one way or another.

So what do you think? Does hype make or break a game? Is it good to get excited about stuff? Or should we always keep low expectations? And are companies mostly responsible for hype? Or the fans? Let’s debate!

Is hype good or bad for video games?

Do you like to join in on the hype for a particular game?

Who is most responsible for generating hype?

Login or Register to join the debate

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19:21 Jan-17-2021

Hype in and of itself is good, however, don't fault a game that doesn't live up to expectations, promises, yes, but not expectations. Could we talk about how expectations derived out of past experiences culminates into us requiring more out of a game. I think gamer age, the point at which one starts playing games, is a key factor of how well each person's hype train will do. Imagine making that worse when your first few games are all instant classics. The bar is set high from the get go. For pre-internet gamers, that includes bug free experiences and no micro-transactions.


Hyping a character can also hinder the gaming experience

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03:11 Jan-18-2021

I thought Cyberpunk was a good game, but after watching this, I find it lacking substantially.
youtube.com/watch?v=omyoJ7onNrg

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19:13 Jan-17-2021

Kind of depends of if they deliver on the game or not isn't it? ????

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12:57 Jan-17-2021

Break
That's why I don't get hyped over any game anymore

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05:25 Jan-17-2021

Depends... Take dmcV, RE2, DOOM for example. And then take Re3 and Cyberpunk ;_;

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01:41 Jan-17-2021

Hype is fine if you don't promote gameplay and/or graphical standards that can't be met in the final product, or release a game that clearly isn't finished ala CP2077. If you fake a demo, as the E3 one was for CP2077, you'll only create unrealistic expectations which will bite you in the @$$ upon release.

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01:44 Jan-17-2021

The link below to an article by Jason Schreier provides some details about the demo.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-16/cyberpunk-2077-what-caused-the-video-game-s-disastrous-rollout

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22:20 Jan-16-2021

Hype is kind of double edged sword.It is nice as tool to get people excited and sell your game.But on the other hand, it can also cause problems with people having overly high expectations once it runs out of control and imagination is set free.So it is highly important to control hype and set some realistic expectations and not just let it run wild.And overhyping can come from fans and companies.

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22:22 Jan-16-2021

Which is why companies have to be careful about marketing, start too soon and you might set expectations too high by showing features that will be later removed and through that disappoint fans. Also sometimes it is better to address rumors too, directly or indirectly, which helps to course correct expectations. Silence is bad. Also lack of honesty will always result in bad case of overhyping.

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22:24 Jan-16-2021

And as much as fans can overhype each other, with predictions, nitpicking every detail,... it is job of company to address that. I personally try to control my hype, because it really is flip of a coin on whether they will deliver or not. So it is important to take things with grain of salt, especially if things come out of early game development. Because things will change, they constantly do.

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22:27 Jan-16-2021

And game development is like iceberg. What we get, that part above sea level, is just small part of everything developers wanted to do and dropped for various reasons and in various stages of development, because they either didn't have enough time, it didn't fit in game, would be too much work for niche feature,... so yeah, don't let yourself get overhyped. Also don't pre-order and check reviews.

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21:09 Jan-16-2021

Iv always kept my hype at a low, that way im never disappointed if a game is pure rubbish or buggy or whatever

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19:38 Jan-16-2021

I dont really get hyped much. But I say hype is good. Disappointment is part of it. Makes it all the more satisfying when it pays off.
The only thing Id say is get hyped on your own. Dont hop on the train just coz its all everyone is talking about.

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19:10 Jan-16-2021

People keep forgetting that witcher 3 was so good because it had two games before it . Cyberpunk was CDProjekt Reds first take on the first person open world experience . Those who understood how games normally work would have their hype in check (at least I didn't expect miracles to happen in their first attempt.

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08:17 Jan-17-2021

No, that's what you think people are forgetting. Cyberpunk simply flopped because they couldn't meet the promises they made way before the game was released.

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08:21 Jan-17-2021

Don't make promises that you can't meet, regardless if it's your first game or 23rd. Cyberpunk is still a fun game to an extent, just not what they promised..

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08:26 Jan-17-2021

it to be, hence the outrage. This game was so hyped l thought it would set new standards for years to come.

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18:30 Jan-16-2021

I think it is generally bad for the people that expect too much out of something, not only a game, better to say oh cool will wait when it comes without searching/watching everything related to it every day

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18:17 Jan-16-2021

I don't think that hype hurts a game at all actually. If it weren't for the huge hype for CB2077, it wouldn't make any money at all, as no one would even want to play such a broken game. It's the hype that actually saved it and gave it a chance for redemption.

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17:20 Jan-16-2021

You know my answer!

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18:31 Jan-16-2021

You are a wise man, i did not want to believe you when you said cp 2077 wont be a masterpiece and that the game will be launched in bad shap, i was blidly following the hype train then

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17:12 Jan-16-2021

Good for lawsuits!

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