How many games get released in any given month? How many of them are titles you’ve been waiting a long time for? You’ve been quite the busy bee, reading up on every news report, press release and advertisement just to satiate your desire until you can get your hands on the game itself. If you’re going through this much effort, that’s a pretty good sign that you’ll eventually buy it. If this sounds like you, then please, continue as you are. The games you’ve been looking for have had a sufficient amount of coverage to follow, and I’d imagine all is right in the world for you. After all, you got what you’ve been waiting for.
On the other hand, how many games slip through your radar, only to be silently released with very little buzz? Unless a game is really popular, it needs try that much harder to force itself into the consciousness of the public. If people aren’t hearing about a game, how can developers expect them to sell, and more importantly, how can gamers on the fence be able to make an informed decision?
It’s becoming very obvious nowadays that aggressive, if not just prudent marketing tactics, are as important as having a game that’s actually fun to play. If a good game is released but no one really hears about it, what are we supposed to do?
I don’t know if it was just a really bad coincidence, but last year, SEGA released the Nintendo DS RPG Phantasy Star Zero (Which I reviewed, found here) on the same day as Infinity Ward released Modern Warfare 2. I ventured to a number of Gamestop and Best Buy stores in town and each and every one of them didn’t know what I was talking about when I mentioned Phantasy Star Zero, but they all had an absurd mount of copies of Infinity Ward’s pride and joy ready to throw in my face. Could you chalk it up to bad timing? I would say so. Did any of you know something else released on the same day as Modern Warfare 2? I doubt it.
Was that a smart idea? Of course not.
The same cycle has repeated again this year. SEGA’s Phantasy Star Portable 2 was released on the same day as Halo: Reach. Let that sink in. Another game was released on the same day as Halo: Reach and I highly doubt anyone knew about it. I hope it’s not just me, but I believe releasing anything on the day of a game as prolific as Halo is suicide. I think the worst thing to do to a gamer is to release two (good) games on the same day, because more often than not, they will be standing in line, making a decision on which game they’ll be spending time on. In this case, I’m sorry to say that SEGA seriously harmed its own game because of poor timing. Doing this once is understandable, but when the exact same scenario plays out for the second time, can we really just chalk it up to a bad coincidence?
Sure, PSP2 and Halo: Reach belong to two different genres, Action RPG and Shooter. They inherently would be getting the attention of different audiences, and theoretically, their subsequent sales shouldn’t interrupt each other right? To a degree, yes. However, what about the gamers who haven’t decided yet? How will they choose what to buy? It’s just like an election year. Presidential candidates of their respective political parties don’t have to do too much legwork to secure the votes of their own supporters, because they’re busy focusing on garnering those important votes from those that are undecided. Be it aggressive commercials, attack ad’s, it doesn’t matter how they do it, but they force their way into our homes, and more often than not, the one that makes a more memorable presence will be the victor.
I had my eyes on PSP2 last year, when I got my hands on the Japanese beta. I was instantly hooked, and couldn’t wait till it’s eventual release in the States. Of the various video game news sites I frequented, I never heard anything about the game, except for the thriving fansite PSO-World.com . To be more specific, SEGA put out a trailer, and an E3 booth for PSP2, but hardly any of this coverage made its way to more mainstream publications, where a lot of people go to for their gaming news in the first place.
It’s as if it didn’t even exist- although it has to be sitting on the sales racks of most video game stores now, I wonder how many people are still waiting for some kind of news about it to break.
Perhaps it still doesn’t exist.