Hype Marketing And How It’s Helping The Games Industry

By Charlie from consoledeals.co.uk

Our retail experience has changed dramatically over the years, especially in the tech industry. This is mainly thanks to the boom in social platforms and online interactions. Retailers and manufacturers are now exposed to every man and his dog, who have something to say, whether it’s about their service, their product or offerings and this can be tough to bounce back from if you’ve taken a hammering in the press over a particular issue that grabs people’s attention.

In the technology industry there can be a huge backlash, with shop staff completely ignored in favour of “product-slamming” on a Facebook company page or on blog forums.

However, on the flipside of this, the same platforms can be used to help promote and advertise a product launch and these surely outweigh the negatives of a few nasty comments? Facebook Ads, Google Ad-words, traditional visual marketing and also press releases and word-of-mouth can be effective in spreading the word of a new product which perhaps has been anticipated for a while but information has been slowly drip-fed through publications and news articles.

This is where hype sets in and can no doubt do wonders for the share price too.

Battle of the Consoles

E3 is the biggest games industry show in the World and this year it saw the announcements of two pieces of hardware from two giants in the technology industry.

Microsoft announced the Xbox One and Sony announced the long-awaited PS4, two next-generation consoles which should be released just before Christmas 2013. These are prime examples of how effective hype marketing really is because although these two consoles have been announced with prices and some specifications, essentially there has been no official, specific release date and it has only been implied that they will launch before Christmas this year.

It’s unlikely that they won’t both launch before Christmas this year in the US and in Europe but the hype that was built up before E3 was so powerful that onlookers and attendees didn’t seem too bothered that no specific date was given.

In the run up to the event information was leaked about possible specifications, game releases and features for both consoles and, in fact, Microsoft had already shown their console a few weeks prior to E3 to whet the appetite (Sony were vilified in some quarters because they didn’t show a finalised product design before E3).

This information, no matter how accurate, was the key to ramping up interest in the hardware to such an extent that by the time people arrived in LA, they were practically salivating.

Good Faith

With any marketing, the aim is to promote interest in the product, by using visual stimulation and a promise of something new and exciting. Sometimes, in the case of these two games consoles, it can be to promise something better than previous iterations and to create a must-have feeling towards the product.

Games consoles are ideal for this because they use two elements to attract: the hardware and the games. Future releases of long-awaited game franchises keep the hardware looking fresh and appealing long after it’s been launched. This longevity helps the games industry survive from year to year but also maintains that important sense of desire, with customers waiting for that anticipated title.

Pre-ordering helps to boost interest in something that isn’t available to the consumer yet but also gives them an action to take, to stake their claim on something they desire. The principles sometimes used in Marketing, AIDA, promote:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Sony and Microsoft utilise the pre-order hype to gain as much traction after the announcement as possible and they have, over the years become masters of building hype for their own products. So with this desire-model working successfully for both Sony and Microsoft, they are finding that as consumers, we are willing to part with our money long before the console is due to be released and indeed, without even a release date.

Pre-ordering isn’t a new concept and it makes sense to introduce pre-ordering for such highly anticipated products but a by-product of this is that it creates a further hype towards these items which originated even before their official announcements, increased during E3 and has now reached utter meltdown, as consumers fear they won’t be able to get one on release day.

After all, you can’t put a price on the prestige that comes from owning a shiny new PS4!

Charlie works with Console Deals, is a keen gamer and can’t wait to see what PS4 deals become available the closer it gets to the launch date.

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8 Comments

  1. “can’t wait to see what PS4 deals become available the closer it gets to the launch date”

    I’ll be amazed if there are any deals other than those that reduce the price by £5 or add 2-3 games for another ~£60-100.

  2. Which is why I haven’t pre-ordered yet. If its out this year, I will go out and pre-order where I can physically pick it up day one. But I want to see what deals are about and where the best place is to pick it up from.

  3. Am 29 and still getting swept up in the hype trains that market teams use ,You think I would learn ,only thing slowed me down is buying my house and renovation and that is scary because I still have the hunger just not as much disposable income.

  4. When I think of hype I think of one game (as of late) “Aliens: Colonial Marines”. That game got hyped up by a very slick (borderline illegal) marketing campaign to try to convince everybody the game was better than it actually was. BUT it backfired because the hype push peoples expectations to a level the game quality couldn’t match so people started their own hype marketing campaign which turned the game into one of the biggest jokes of the year. Aliens: Colonial Marines isn’t as good or as bad as the hype makes it out to be. If SEGA would have just advertized the game honestly, it probably would have sold more.

    I think when it comes to advertizing, hype marketing is a very grey area. I don’t know if from a moral standpoint you can even call it advertizing because hype marketing isn’t based in truths. Its closer to propaganda. Youre not trying to advertize a product, youre trying to manipulate a populations emotion. I honestly don’t believe when your market includes children you can advocate hype marketing as being good. Look at CoD, it gets alot of hype and is probably from a business point an excellent example of hype marketing, but the hype makes underage kids really, really want to play the game. This puts strains on parents and creates situations in society that draws attentions from anti-gaming organizations. Hype is like a marketing nuclear bomb, you cant control the blast or fallout, you just pick your target and hope for the best. You see underage kids hyped up to play mature games because while the game might not be directly marketed to them they’re still exposed to the hype. IMO its irresponsible to get someone hyped who can’t legally buy the product. Hype may help sales but it does so at the cost of consumer trust and integrity.

  5. Good article and interesting to see TSA having someone from retail, with a marketing-centric piece. If Sony and Microsoft are doing it well, they leave no opportunity alone. The chance to get us talking about any facet of their respective new console is a moment to be seized. Saying that, hype is a fragile thing and something you have to back-up, to a certain degree. Xdark’s mention of Colonial Marines is a good example. Still… a nice amount of hype can create genuine excitement and buzz. God knows, I’ve not felt so positive about a console release since… umm, ever!

    “After all, you can’t put a price on the prestige that comes from owning a shiny new PS4!”
    Not sure eBay will agree with you, come launch day. ;-)

  6. How times change, when I worked for John Lewis in their Electronics Dept many years ago and we knew there was new hardware just months away, we used to remind the staff to S.W.A.N Sell What’s Available Now. so any talk of PS4 and XB1 would have been frowned upon this far away from their release dates.

  7. After pre-ordering Injustice Collector’s Edition this year I said to myself that I will never again preorder. I was satisfied but the price of the game dropped so much after launch that I just felt bad.
    I will not be buying a PS4 on launch day. I still have an immense library of PS3 games to catch up with.

    • I know the feeling the last console game I pre ordered was spacemarine paid £45 so I go the extra armour sets and the 2-3week afte laugh it was £25 new and thq the scum bags sold the pre order stuff on xbl for £2

      Now I think about it when went on sale I bought it for pc for £4.99. Such a shame it was rushed it could have so much more they would have had a license to print money

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