The future always brings with it so many doubts and as many hopes. Every human being, since dreamer at most pragmatic he creates expectations for tomorrow, often conditioned by the context in which he lives. In recent decades the concept of expectation has settled in a much more morbid way than in the past, taking the name of "Hype Culture", a terminology well known among today's mediums.
What is Hype Culture?
On a psychological level, the Hype Culture is an obsessive interest, which releases excitement and adrenaline, towards a product not yet released. This feeling, which can get to the point of losing any kind of reasoning, is nowadays characteristic of any type of industry, from pharmaceuticals to video games.
Hype and Communication: two sides of the same coin
High expectations for a product are almost never self-induced, in fact, they derive from careful, and sometimes subtle, communication by companies. Entering the heart of the videogame world, in fact, It's easy to spot aggressive marketing strategies that aim to pump up your title, assembling ad hoc presentations that are not always faithful to the final product. It is no coincidence that the literal translation of the term "Hype" is "hype" or "swelling" which, despite deviating from the meaning attributed in the jargon, is rather fitting. There are numerous case histories that show that a wrong communication and management of public expectations can lead to irreparable damage to image and compromised credibility.
The Blizzard Case
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Freedom of opinion and inclusiveness according to Blizzard
In recent years, Blizzard has shown twice in a row that it does not know how to manage the expectations of the general public. Blizzcon has always been for fans of US Software House titles a "According to E3", an event where only big announcements and important updates would appear on stage. That was until Blizzcon 2018; Blizzard confirmed the presence of Diablo on stage and rumors spoke of the upcoming announcement of Diablo 4 (which would instead arrive at Blizzcon 2019). The enthusiasm of the fans was as great as the disappointment with the announcement of the mobile title Diablo Immortal.
Unfortunately Diablo Immortal was not the only slip of that disastrous year for Blizzard. Warcraft 3: Reforged, an alleged re-release of the highly acclaimed Warcraft 3 from 2002, was also announced at the same event. The announcement was met with extreme positivity, but no promises were kept. On January 28, 2020, the title makes its debut and is immediately considered even worse than the original product, rather than a re-release. The unfortunate re-release probably holds the record for creating the biggest discontent in gaming history, signed by the amount of refunds made and its 0.6 in Metacritic.
Game Freak and False Advertising
We have therefore ascertained that from a business point of view the management of the hype of the general public is mainly composed of communication and advertising. So who is the perfect example of miscommunication and misleading advertising? It could only be Game Freak. With great regret it must be admitted that the creators of pocket monsters have had some organizational problems in recent years. It really seems like they don't even know what they're putting into their games. The most fitting examples begin in 2017 with Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, where an entire marketing campaign was based on the exploration of Ultra Megalopolis, the only real prominent addition to the titles. The new city turned out to be a very short corridor, with an intense Boss Fight which however did not justify the spotlight.
Unfortunately, Ultramegalopolis turned out to be just the beginning of a series of blunders made by Game Freak. Following the announcement of Pokémon Sword and Shield, the Japanese Software House revealed the famous and controversial cut of the National Pokédex. This statement immediately sparked perplexity and a general decline in expectations for the new title, but Game Freak reassured that this cut would allow the team to dedicate themselves to creating high-quality animations. and a product, on the whole, finished. At the launch Pokémon Sword and Shield were anything but refined and with approximate animations, splitting the community between those who still appreciated the new additions and those who demolished them without hesitation. To date, despite being the third best-selling title pair in the franchise, Pokémon Sword and Shield leave an indelible mark on Game Freak's credibility and on the loyalty of their fans.
The stigma of Pre-orders
If it is true that every action corresponds to a reaction, it is also true that a trend always corresponds to a countertendency. The purpose of pompous trailers and sneaky marketing has always been, in addition to creating expectations, to secure pre-orders. I don't need to explain to you that a pre-order consists of paying in advance for a title, even if only partially, as happens at GameStop. The general disillusionment of one's hopes, caused by broken promises and countless stocks that have undergone sudden changes or graphical downgrades, has led more and more players to practice a real Anti-Preorder policy.
Pre-ordering a title is now seen by a large part of the gamer community as an excess of naivety, but is this always the case? While the public is proving to be increasingly aware of market practices, on the other the excessive skepticism is making both the pre-order and the enthusiasm around the news real taboos.
Don't expect anything and you will never be disappointed, it's a guaranteed win
How many times have you heard this phrase when you have been genuinely excited about something new? I, personally, far too many times. I don't know about you, but I'm not buying this bullshit; it is a sterile affirmation and devoid of the human side of each of us, which sounds a bit like "Don't get involved and you'll never lose." But this discourse seems to transcend games a little, doesn't it? Perhaps yes, perhaps precisely because we are increasingly collapsing into a world of pessimism and apathy we should try to find positivity at least in video games, because there are developers out there who deserve it. As I said at the beginning, we are always projected towards the future with doubts and hopes, and if you say you don't have any, you are lying to yourself.
Final Fantasy VII Remake: The magic of Hype breaks on Day One
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It's easy, write a Final Fantasy 7 Remake review
A common side effect of Hype Culture is, for many, not being able to enjoy the coveted product once it arrives. How much do you hear about a video game before it comes out compared to the post-launch period? There are very few titles that "survive" the frenetic pace we are now used to. Numerous examples could be brought, but the most recent and striking is definitely Final Fantasy VII Remake. One of the most anticipated games of recent years, the title has seen most of the discussions aimed at it disappear within a week of its launch. Accomplices being released in a period full of new arrivals (April 2020) and being only a part of a larger project certainly did not benefit Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which however remains one of the titles most quickly engulfed by the Hype. Cultures.
Leak and Rumor: my insider cousin and "reliable" sources
Stolen news, rumors, lots of bullshit and some truths that communities speculate on for months or years. This plague belongs more than ever to the gaming industry, but why should the possibility of having some juicy news well in advance be a bad thing? The premature disclosure of confidential information implies the violation of an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and the irreparable consequences on the schedule set by a company. As icing on the cake we have journalists who around these rumors create completely non-existent stories, while new “insiders” arrive on Twitter ready to predict what day tomorrow will be. The truth is, creating fake leaks is really easy, you could do it yourself, it would take you 10 minutes, a bit of imagination and a jump on reddit or 4chan. Moral of the story, get excited about what's official, leave the rest to ResetEra patients.