I’ve decided to start off here with a very typical topic that i figure anyone with a Blog about this should realize. Over-hyping games doesn’t work. Sure it works in the short term, you may get a lot of sale but the longevity is what gets hurt. Ill be going over how you play your hype to get it to become most successful. Most people don't realize that there is more to hyping your game than just releasing every little bit about it you possibly can. This process requires planing and strategy, Something SWTOR found out the hard way. However at the end of the day you can't judge crowd reaction, so even if you remain careful you cannot really know for sure the outcome.
SWTOR – This game did what WoW does with its hype. They release a ton of information and then hope they can actually get it all out. To WoW's defence they are usually relatively successful with what they do. However being new to the flock Bioware was not. I don't think it was Bioware trying to screw their player base or anything like that, i honestly put it down to inexperience. Bioware was a newcomer joining late in the game, they really didn't know what they were getting into because as much as anyone wants to argue me on it, the MMORPG genre has no comparison in terms of content. While this must seem obvious to some gamers i feel the scale of which is not. Even compared to games like Skyrim how much needs to be tested is still a shot above. My opinion on the matter has 2 sides,
1, Bioware had a ton of ideas and figured they could have them all ready prior to release, then Closed beta hit and they were hit with a wall of bugs. Most devs actually tend to split up their groups so that some address the in game bugs while the other focuses on getting the new content ready. Bioware didn't. They pushed everything towards bug testing, i can say this with confidence since the Closed beta for SWTOR was the smoothest I've ever played. Because of that, a lot of things ended up on the back burner. Which unfortunately included their promises. This however they are attempting to rectify with their played dubbed “miracle patch”.
2, They wanted to keep steady interest in the game. This comes from being in Closed beta as well, watching them remove the cool things that they had in the game only to add them later in the “miracle patch” makes me a little suspicious. Could it be that they pulled out some cool features so they could simply add them at a later date to try and pull back players. While its a clever idea, it also will anger a lot of gamers as we can tell with Mass Effect 3 DLC being done before the game is even done, this caused gamers to start up their pitch forks and torches. Maybe they were hoping we wouldn't notice.
Guild Wars 2 – This game is doing Hype really well at the moment. Every time they release something they release evidence. This is a successful way to hype your game but I still wont consider it “playing it safe”. As has been told with countless Single Player flops, watching trailers only counts for so much. It only matters when you actually get into the game to test it. However with GW2 profits being purely from Box Sales, its almost a mute point. By the time you can tell if the game is good or bad, you have already paid for it. The only thing you can then do is complain about it like most of the other disgruntled gamers do about the crap they just stepped in.
The Secret World – this game is rolling a gamble how they are running this. TSW has yet to really release anything with video gameplay evidence, and when they do release something they play it down so that it gets easily ignored. Either they have no faith in their own game, or they are targeting their demographic. I happen to believe the latter. Lets face it, TSW is not a game for everyone. It has no intention of being the next WoW nor does it even want to try. While AO and AoC both had their launches crash the support for their game, they are pushing TSW not to be a big launch title. I wont be surprised if Funcom realized that Launches suck and theirs have been mid to high ranking for worst possible launches. So is it a bad thing to let the game launch unknown while they fix their game and have the true die hards play it for them. Not at all, i will likely continue to play the game regardless of how bad their launch is, because i know one simple fact. Launches suck.