I usually try to think of a clever title, a play on words or an allusion to a piece of work I like but all I can think of today is “hype”. As you know I’m a fan of my sports titles and whilst everyone else works to a calendar that culminates in the Autumn deluge of AAA games I work to a slightly different calendar that has its peak in late Summer with the release of the big name EA Sports titles.

This means that whilst “normal” games have their public relations drive for up to a year before they launch, the nature of sports games means that we only hear concrete details in the summer with around a month between the first play tests and release. Having dabbled in games journalism for a few years now I’ve grown to love this style of release, with the refreshing lack of incessant hype surrounding the titles making for a pleasant change in today’s market. It’s particularly notable given how important the sales of these games are to the industry – Madden and Fifa routinely smash sales records suggesting that hype perhaps isn’t everything when selling a game.

Why then do we have EA releasing the first screenshot of Madden 2010 and asking people to spot the improvements?


Why do this to us? Why start to try and hype a game that could not possibly attract more fans than it already has? Last year you just released a lovely fact sheet of improvements, now we’ve to play Where’s Wally with gameplay innovations for the sake of whipping up discussion about a game that comes every year and sells millions regardless of its quality. I can feel my little island of hype isolation being invaded, I can see teaser trailers for Fifa 2011 and a viral ad campaign for NBA 2015 on the horizon and it makes me so utterly sad. We live in an age where every game  is expected to have this extra layer of hype and expectation even where it shouldn’t be placed.

Wait a minute… is that new defensive blocking?







7 responses to “Hype”

  1. Celeste avatar

    Videogame hype is something that I have a love-hate relationship with. On the one hand, living a relatively boring life means I don’t get too many opportunities to get excited over something, so I enjoy looking forward to a game once in a while. On the other hand, what game has ever really lived up to the hype surrounding it? One’s experience of playing a game at release tends to become tainted by the inevitable expectations formed by the preceding hype. And even when the game does indeed rock, the magic is always diluted a little because you’ve already seen the strings.

    It’s a shame this is happening to Madden 2010, but I guess to some extent this is a game that people will already hold a lot of expectations about.

  2. John.B avatar

    I don’t mind hype with a Halo 3 or a GTA which I view very much as the summer blockbuster, of course it’ll get hype. I just feel that the age of the internet means a game doesn’t register unless 8 billion screenies and trailers are out daily and when it means hype has to be generated for a game like Madden then it’s gone a step too far.

  3. Darach avatar

    It’s very interesting John. You’ve got me all thinking now. 😛

    When is hype a good thing, and is there a different answer for different games/genres?

    Just to keep it short, one ‘possible’ upside with your Madden example; is mebbe EA think they’re on to something special this time. That maybe they’ve got more to unveil this time than just an iteration of an already fine game.

    It would be nice, wouldn’t it?
    *crosses fingers* 😉

  4. John.B avatar

    Maybee, albeit it’d be hard to improve from last years sublime effort.

  5. Martin avatar

    Hype, alas is prevalent in all forms of media and sadly more often than not, the end product fails to match the hype.
    But is the hype a product of the media or is it the people waiting to see the next big thing? How many times have you seen a film/game trailer and thought “here, that looks good?” and then went and told a few people about this really good thing that you saw, thus adding to the hype. Was it public enemy that sang “Don’t believe the hype”? Wise words indeed.
    I do like the Madden games but for me the last great fuss free one was Madden 92 on the Mega drive.

    Oh did I tell you I saw this awesome trailer for GI Joe the Movie…………..

  6. Stacy avatar

    Never mind the hype, I can’t stop staring at those computer generated torsos!

  7. Lorna avatar

    It can be a good thing for catching my eye and making me consider a game that I had perhaps dismissed out of hand, but alos it can lead to a dilution of excitement due to the sheer weight of nonsense surrounding a game…it’s a toughie. If it is a game that I am genuinely looking forward to, then I will often seek out information rather than be fed it or alternatively choose to ignore it – I find this self-regulation the best way to avoid hype-out. However, if you buy gaming mags, with cover after cover of space marines it can be irksome to say the least!

Leave a Reply