Marketing bullshit gamers should stop being a part of

As gamers, we like to complain about the practices of big business. Every time a small but pricey piece of DLC appears, we're up in arms. Every time we're offered a crap trade-in price for a game, we reach for the pitchforks and light up the flaming torches.

But the fact is, there are much worse practices around, and we ourselves promote them. They're the sly hype-spreading, sales-boosting tricks that turn a simple game into a full-blown event, and worst of all, they exist only because we make them happen, either by buying into them over and over, or even by actually accepting them into our gaming culture.

Watch out folks. This is the marketing crap that we are responsible for.


Special editions

Those video games, eh? With their cool dudes on their madcap adventures and their bright colours and their crazy critters and their big robots that go "BOOM!". Oh boy they're awesome. Yessir, they're pretteee awesome. And with all that awesome happening in all those pixels, it's understandable that you'd think it'd be cool to bring some of it into the real world, right? Big robots! They go "BOOM!"


Above: And are worth $130, without doubt

And look! That new game you thought looked quite kind of okay just became 300% more soul-haemorrhagingly transcendent by including a FRIKKIN' PLASTIC TOY OF ONE OF ITS LESSER MONSTERS IN THE BOX!!! AND AN UNUSED DRAWING! Buy that shit and you'll spontaneously evolve! And even better than that, you'll prove what a death-defyingly loyal, cast-iron hardcore bastard you are to that faceless, unfeeling corporation that doesn't even know your name.

Perhaps we're cynical though. Age of Conan's special edition did at least come with free beer. Free, fake, digital in-game beer. No, we're not being cynical at all, are we?


Let's face it. This is the same marketing model as putting toys in cereal boxes to make sugar-rabid 3 year olds choose one shape of reconsitituted corn shaving over another. Except that you're paying an extra £15 for the toy.


Pre-order bonuses

See above, except that you're paying for the toy a year before you even know what the cereal tastes like.


  • mrmorozov987 - August 5, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    I like the bundles and the store-specific extras (hey, if I was going to buy it anyway, why not get an extra 3 hairstyles?). Midnight launches just don't make sense to me.
  • wayne007horse - August 1, 2009 5 a.m.

    It was the word on the street. There were TVO privilege. I took picture with paper art attack with Jockey.
  • MidSnacker - July 31, 2009 6:07 p.m.

    I have to admit... some of those special editions are kinda crap. Like Gears 2. Bought the special, spent more money on it... and nothing. I mean even the gold lancer code f-ed up so I don't even get that. Still fun game... just not 20 extra bucks fun. Amirite?
  • KidKobun - July 31, 2009 6:04 p.m.

    Ahhh thank you for not placing the blame on Mr. Barker. I <3 him. He is a horror God!
  • Japanjack - July 30, 2009 6:11 p.m.

    Well, I got the pre-order bonus for Dragon Age Origin and I see no problem. I mean it's the same price, just five bucks earlier. And I get a few items to start out my game. I actually like that kinda stuff. Also I got the collector's edition for only five more dollars. I will enjoy my bonus DVD, tin case, cloth map, extra content, and extra content for Mass Effect. I think there are (very few) times when the collector's edition is actually reasonable.
  • SausageLozenge - July 30, 2009 1:20 p.m.

    1. I like special additions. The same thing exists on DVD/ Blu-rays. Some people don't care for special features, so why should they have to pay for it. I see it as a choice for the consumer. I enjoy my Halo cat helmet, I collect different toys and display them on my desk. If you don't want a helmet, I don't buy it. 2. I like midnight launches, once again the same thing happens with movies. They are not forcing anybody to watch it at midnight. If you want to wait, then wait. I like to share a experience with like minded people. The other ones I can partially agree, but in a competitive world game publishers need to do what they can by separating themselves from the competition. Their first priority should be putting out a good game, but after that I don't care what they do to market the thing. As a consumer we all have a choice to vote with our dollars, if you don't like something, don't buy it.
  • PlatypusFan - July 29, 2009 6:44 p.m.

    in there u said that akira toriyamas game desighn didn't help blue dragons mecahnics at all but in a diff. article u said that blue dragon was one of the most overlooked games idk maybe its just b/c its 2 diff. ppl Captcha: Lil jeffrey
  • RandomIdoit - July 29, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    @:waynski1457 I am going to (eventually) make a game, and what you're saying is I shouldn't just because no-one's heard of it? NOT COOL DUDE!
  • Red - July 28, 2009 5:35 p.m.

    I agree with everything here, but mainly I agree about the exclusive deals and special editions. What pisses me off is the people who buy these things. They literally get excited about spending extra money on shit they don't need. I think the most horseshit example of a bad exclusive was the early unlockable rifle in Call of Duty: World At War. So essentially what they're saying is that they are better players because they baught a special edition.
  • secretsearcher - July 28, 2009 4:17 p.m.

    hmmm reCaptcha: karplus sugars must be artificial
  • secretsearcher - July 28, 2009 4:16 p.m.

    The only one of these I'm guilty of is the licensed games one. I buy every Harry Potter game that comes out just because I loved the books. Big flippin deal. And I'm going to buy Revenge of the Fallen, but not because of the license, but for the multiplayer aspect. But true, special editions are a load of bs. And no matter how much I want a game, I'd never go to a midnight release. Why not wait a few hours and play it when you can actually focus on what you are doing? And what about having a life other than video games? (But I guess I shouldn't talk. I'd go to a midnight release of a movie...)
  • Xeacons - July 28, 2009 3:15 p.m.

    Oh come on! SE are almost always worth it (and rarely more expensive). Get the game, or get the game, soundtrack, walkthrough, etc.? They both cost $50. The Conduit's extra's sucked, but since I didn't lose any money over it, I didn't lose any sleep. The only time I was ever disappointed was RE4 "Premium Ed." Making of video? No. It was 15 mins of Capcom saying, "we've done so much more this time, but no spoilers; you have to play it yourself."
  • linkganon - July 28, 2009 5:25 a.m.

    let me guess, your game store is not in a mall, well mine is in a mall and closes at 6 pm every day, earlier on sundays. then there are those stores (wal-mart) that close at 10 and opens at 8. no such thing as a midnight launch, in fact, you would only see one person per block. you can practically drive on the wrong side of the road from one side of the city to the other and not hit anything, not that i would never do that, but it is like driving on a closed course except for it is not closed.
  • Duckmaster - July 28, 2009 5:07 a.m.

    I totally agree with the midnight game launches. I went to get in line to get SSBB, but once I got there I thought "Why don't I just come back at midnight? It'll be fun, but it's not worth standing out here for 2 hours."
  • TKTOWA - July 28, 2009 3:54 a.m.

    I'm a huge Clive Barker fan. I mean HUGE. Jericho had an amazing story and great gameplay if only you didn't die so quickly and your squad didn't run into suicide exploding guys like it was commonplace. If you get the cheats for more health it's playable. And I just gotta say with that cheat, it's one Hell of an awesome FPS.
  • Silvermech - July 28, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    Watchmen should be an example for the last one.
  • Hellwilder - July 28, 2009 1:54 a.m.

    Those aren't mine, but they are great :D About pre-ordering... I don't do that. It's the same for me. But a friend bought me a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in a pre-sale. So, I played it 6 hours before anyone else. YEZ! THAT'S AWESOME!
  • Hellwilder - July 28, 2009 1:49 a.m.

    What about the Resident Evil 5 coffee cup? And the Chimera figure? They are AWESOME
  • waynski1457 - July 27, 2009 10:37 p.m.

    I know it's mainstream, but what about "If the game is something you never heard of before, why buy it?" crap. Would have given you an excuse to slip Okami in... And I'll defend midnight launches only because all of them that I've ever been to, I've gone with my friends and it was awesome just hanging out. Hell, I went to GeoW2 and WoW: WotLK without buying either just to hang out. Sure we're all big nerds, but that's kind of a given, isn't it?
  • DeadGirls - July 27, 2009 9:14 p.m.

    I totally agree with these points. Especially Store exclusive content, that is horrible! On the bright side, all the goddamn nunchucks willing to shell out for the special editions that include shitty-ass night vision goggles (I'm looking at you CoD:MW2) and other junk bring more money to the industry, some of which hopefully trickles down to the developers.

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