Corruption is a strong word, but in some areas it is well warranted. There is a gray area in the gaming industry that no one seems to try to tackle and that is the corrupt part. With headlines on major gaming news sites like “Why Lord of The Rings Fans Should be Excited For Shadow of Mordor” it is growing more and more evident of what these news outlets are doing. They are hyping games and feeding it to their viewers as if it were news. This type of reporting can be harmful to the people that matter the most though. Those people being the viewers. Sites hype, hype, hype and hype until the game has a hype level so high it could not possibly reach the expectations set by the authors. More importantly it hurts game progress. As we’ve seen with Call of Duty. Call of Duty came from a small setting with barely any hype and really little knowledge about the game in the real world. Now, what we have is a mega sized hyped series which almost always fails to meet expectations.
Call of Duty is by all means a huge success and sells millions every year generating billions for its company, but does that make it a great game? Success should not equate quality and in this area it really doesn’t. Fans have shown this at an increasing number which is fantastic, but it is not enough. The games are hyped by gaming news sites and people fall prey for it. Remember last E3 when every news outlet was reporting about the new engine? Dynamic shadows, amazing graphics, more fluid gameplay, solid frame rates! It was a hit and what it did was shed hope to their viewers, but what happened when the game came out? The dynamic shadows weren’t so dynamic, the fps not so stable, and the gameplay hadn’t changed a bit. It is a logical argument to state that the consumers should be more aware, but it doesn’t excuse the hype machine built by news outlets. As a consumer you really should not fall for hype and do your research before dropping $60 on a game and possibly $20-$50 on a season pass. You should educate yourself, but where do you go for that? The people who are supposed to educate you have been feeding you hype. So, really the problem doesn’t lie with the consumer him/herself.
So what can you do? You can not buy in to it. Find a new site or maybe a specific author who holds your interests. You can find YouTubers with the same interests as well, watch them, and listen to their opinion. The most important thing you can do though is not read, but watch. Watch what the companies actually give you. Don’t listen to their words of hype, don’t buy in to it, and don’t read obvious articles that are designed for hype. Look for gameplay, game features, and Q&A’s. It isn’t easy, but it can save you money and heartache.
The hype some times is innocent and genuine, but a majority seems to be bought and that is where corruption comes in. We hear stories about YouTubers being paid by Microsoft, EA, and other companies to give their products positive reviews. The companies themselves send out swag in many forms. Some times it might be an actual person in the studio other times it can be as simple as personal items such as the game itself or collectibles. Regardless of the method though the action speaks very loud to the company and at that point most feel ‘compelled’ to give the game an above average review despite the game being below average.
So, where does this leave you? As I said earlier find someone you like. Find a site that shares your opinion, a specific author, or a specific YouTuber, but don’t stop there. Actually watch the game itself, listen to developer Q&A’s, and essentially make your own preview of a game before you buy it. When you see an article titled something like “Why you should like Blah Blah Blah!” skip over that, write the author’s name down, and be weary of his/her’s postings. Because odds are you aren’t going to open that article and be reading why you specifically will like that game you are going to be reading a generalized advertisement of that game. I’ve fallen for hype, I’ve felt the pain, and I’ve learned from it. When will you?
Note*: This article is the opinion of the author who wrote it and does not represent the views of everyone at RGN