The Nokia N-Gage price announcementSometimes a newcomer enters the gaming market and makes a big splash. The PSone was a great example of a company entering the gaming domain in strident form and shaking up a complacent industry. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other companies that get it spectacularly wrong. Enter Nokia.BUY @ amazon
The mobile phone giant was riding high off the back of its domination of the mobile phone market. It was arriving onto the gaming scene with a strong and (at the time) revolutionary concept: a mobile phone that also played "proper" games. The days of snake and solitaire were over, this baby could crank out 3D graphics. You could play Tomb Raider on it for crying out loud!
As Nokia geared up for their first E3 there was some trepidation amongst the other platform holders. Could Nokia swoop in and become the new Sony, shaking up the industry and making the competition look like aging dinosaurs?
No. No they could not. The E3 conference was an unmitigated disaster. The audience looked on bemused as the PR team tried desperately to connect with an audience they didn’t understand. Like Granddad at a rave, they seemed hopelessly lost and as the show went on it was clear how much they were in over their heads. Everything the crowd heard made them sure the platform was dead on arrival. A screen longer than it was wide. The requirement to remove the battery to change games. The way you held it to your head: like you had a plate imbedded in your skull. The awful design. The awful games.
Worse was to come though. In a toe curling-ly embarrassing move, Nokia paraded out a bunch of dancing girls with the price tag written on their bellies. They hoped it would result in riotous applause, but at $299 dollars it was far more expensive than anyone expected. Nokia obviously thought they would get a warm reception for their bold pricing like Sony had received when they released the PSOne a hundred dollars cheaper than the Saturn. All they got was silence. Painful, protracted silence. The painted girls slinked off the stage into embarrassed obscurity, and the N-Gage followed not long after.
Lair Reviewers GuideReleased in 2007, Lair was one of the early batch of PS3 exclusives. Created by Factor 5 -- the team behind the amazing Rogue Squadron games on N64 and Gamecube -- it was a flying game where you rode a dragon into battle. While superficially a great concept for a game, the whole experience was crippled by Sony who insisted that the developer utilise the PS3′s stillborn motion control support -- Sixaxis.BUY @ amazon
Shoehorned in at a late stage of the Ps3′s development cycle, this awkward motion control was included to help Sony compete with the then-vibrant Nintendo Wii. With less control fidelity or responsiveness than a Wiimote and far less a control stick, the Sixaxis was mostly used for gimmicks and one-off minigames within full retail titles. Lair meanwhile was one of the only games that forced this awkward control system on the player throughout the whole game. It was reviewed accordingly and suffered a low metacritic score as well as a legion of angry gamers who demanded control stick support be patched in.
Rather than admit the mistake and, you know, listen to what the fans said, Factor 5 instead sent out a "Review Guide". Despite that rather happy looking picture of Greg Miller of IGN above, it seems that for some reason, Reviewers didn’t like being told how to play games. The PR debacle continued when advertisements ran in magazines featuring a stern headmistress chastising gamers for playing incorrectly.
Just to clarify, when every single gamer and reviewer said it would be far better if one small change was made to the game, the developer refused to make the change. The developer then called them stupid, blamed them for failing to understand how to play the game and prepared a huge two-page advert and expensively printed booklet explaining why they were wrong. Month’s later control stick support was added to a game no one wanted to play and the developer went bust. Bravo. Bra-vo.
GTA4 tattooPerhaps not the most egregious case of bad marketing, Peter Moore’s temporary GTA tattoo was still symptomatic of how embarrassingly bad Microsoft was at PR back in the early days of the 360.BUY @ amazon
Back in 2006 Microsoft was still struggling to win over the developers who had a lingering affection for Sony. The announcement of GTA4 appearing on Microsoft’s console was seen as a big deal back at 2006′s E3. There were still a number of problems with how it was presented though. A temporary tatoo is certainly one of the least cool things in the world, but on a middle aged man? Perhaps if he was nine years old he could have pulled the look off, but the bravado and shamelessness that Peter Moore showed as he paraded his GTA4 tattoo -- like an embarrassing uncle chaperoning at an N-Dubz concert -- showed just how far Microsoft were from achieving the effortless street cred Sony had always exhibited.
Back in the early days of 360 marketing Microsoft tried everything to make their console appear cool. From converting J Allard from techie geek to suave, hairless messiah to covering old men in temporary tattoos, there was nothing they wouldn’t try to compete with Sony. Little did they know that all they had to do was wait and Sony’s marketing would collapse spectacularly of its own accord.
John Romero’s about to make you his bitchDaikatana was one of the most delayed, overhyped games of all time. Shifted from one game engine to the other repeatedly, its collapse is such a compelling story that books have been written about it. Conceived by one half of the creative paring responsible for Doom, hope couldn’t have been higher for the revolutionary FPS back in 1997. It was three years later before the game was actually released though. The end result was a game that finally answered a question PC FPS gamers had asked for a long time. Back in the early days of PC FPS’s, it was never clear whether the success of Doom was down to the creative genius of John Carmack or John Romero. After Daikatana, everyone knew it was John Carmack.BUY @ amazon
While I encourage you to go out and read all about the collapse of Ion Storm and their rock star lifestyles, Playmate games designers and bust ups with disgruntled employees, its one particular advertisement that really derailed the train. With gamers angry both at the delays and the stories of lavish excess amongst developers clearly not working hard enough, the marketing around the game focused on mocking those angry gamers. Claiming that "John Romero’s about to make you his bitch", and inviting the furious masses to "suck it down", this reference to Romero’s gaming smack-talk was lost on the fans. Like an overexposed celebrity that the public has grown tired of, everyone wanted to see Romero’s overblown project fail. They would have to wait a long time, but eventually Daikatana was released to a world of gamers united in a collective "m’eh". Badly designed and technologically superseded by its competitors, Daikatana was a failure. In one way the advertising was right. Those who were unlucky enough to buy the game had no choice but to "suck it down".
All i want for christmas is a pspIf there’s ever been a console that’s been the victim of terrible marketing, surely its the PSP. A technologically impressive handheld with a selection of good games, it’s been a success in its own right. Despite its relatively strong sales though, it has been overshadowed completely by the dominance of the Nintendo DS.BUY @ amazon
Every decision Sony made regarding the PSP seemed like it was trying to sabotage its own success. From the hardware revisions that added few new features (or actively downgraded the quality of the screen) to the mystifyingly awful PSP Go, it almost seemed like Sony secretly hated the little handheld device. After trying to force UMD’s on us then abandoning those that purchased them, it was clear that Sony didn’t know what it wanted to do with the PS3′s little brother. Perhaps if Sony couldn’t destroy its own child with hardware revisions, it could kill it with bad advertising?
Enter stage Zipatoni, an American marketing company that provides clients "zany" and "off-beat" marketing services. If that doesn’t make you want to vomit, I don’t know what will. Zipatoni specialise in viral marketing. They basically get paid for lying online, making fake twitter accounts, writing blogs where they pretend to be excited teenagers who want to buy an iPod/PSP/Coke/Handgun and generally being below plankton in terms of morality and worth to society.
Zipatoni created a campaign based around blogs and videos which were filled with terrible "leet speak" and purported to be written by a bunch of teenagers trying to get their friends parents to buy him a PSP for Christmas. As well as being completely out of touch with how teenagers (or humans) actually communicate, the whole thing was quickly exposed as a lie. Here’s just one example of the way marketing executives think teenagers talk, dawg:
"we started clowning with sum not-so-subtle hints to j’s parents that a psp would be teh perfect gift. we created this site to spread the luv to those like j who want a psp! consider us your own personal psp hype machine, here to help you wage a holiday assault on ur parents, girl, granny, boss -- whoever -- so they know what you really want."
So as well as patronising the youth they hoped would buy a PSP, they also tried to piss off the "parents, girls, grannies" with pester power. When they were caught and exposed as being soulless, shameless husks, they apologised by saying "Perhaps our speech was too funky-fresh". No, you monster! We’re not annoyed because of what you said, we’re annoyed because you lied, and you didn’t even lie well enough to avoid being caught!
The video above is such an embarrassment that Sony keep trying to delete it, but it keeps resurfacing again and again to remind them of their mistake. How much of it can you stand to watch?
items 1 - 5 of 10
today on Ranker
start a list with results
close sorting window
use the search box to filter your list