Total Nerd The Top 7 Video Game PR FAILs of All Time  

Ariel Kana
36.7k views 7 items
This is the list of the top 7 Video Game PR Fails. PR is designed to make someone want something more, not make them want to run in the opposite direction. Who thought it was a good idea to tell people they need to work more hours in order to "deserve" a PlayStation? Or that decapitating a goat is a great way to get people to play your game? These are over the top attempts that backfired or just went horribly awry.
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page. Prices & inventory are accurate as of publish date.

Ocean Marketing Fails on an Atomic Level

Penny Arcade

Ocean Marketing (well, Marketting) was one of the biggest gaming news items of the end of 2011.

The whole hoopla was over something called "The Avenge Controller", which is an after-market controller designed to be comfortable and make game playing easier, some say that it gives you an advantage in the game without cheating.

It also helps disabled gamers up their skills to be able to seem uninhibited in their gaming, which is actually a really noble cause... which is what makes the whole debacle kind of sad (and then hilarious).

So of course, people jumped all over it. Seems like a good product.

It became so hugely back-ordered, though, that when one customer named Dave emailed asking where his device was, he was met with some automated responses...until the head honcho at Ocean Marketing PR (or Ocean Marketting as he spells it), Paul Christoforo, responded personally, in a pretty flippant fashion. Then it got worse when Dave responded in a really pretty mature fashion. Here's what Paul Christoforo had to say:

"Oh and FYI When a street date gets pushed by a publisher on a video game you pre ordered do you cry to them too ?"

"You just got told bitch … welcome to the real internet check kotaku in 2 weeks when they are reviewing free PS3 Avengers we send them as well as G4 and all the other majors hell yeah , don’t forget to check Amazon,, play n trade , Myers , Frys and a ton of other local stores coming your way you think you speak for billions son your just a kid you speak for yourself no one cares what you think that’s why were growing and moving 20-50 thousand controllers a month."

Aside from the fact that this response is insanely rude, unprofessional, and insulting it is also extremely grammatically incorrect.

This is the head of a (formerly) successful marketing company.

Several emails were exchanged with spelling errors, horrible grammar, and insults, the most notable of which are:

Welcome to the Internet ? Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up. Grow up you look like a complete child bro.

Dave shared these emails with with webcomic mainstay Penny Arcade, which has well over 3 million monthly readers, consisting of some of the most rabid fans on the internet. They also have their own little (huge, important) convention called PAX.

When the site published the emails between Dave, Chistoforo and, eventually, the head writer of PA, the sh*t really hit the fan.

Christoforo went on to not only insult Gabe from Penny Arcade, but seemed like a bully. So, Gabe got involved and then posted the emails.

Within hours the news was all over the internet and the legions of gamers were out for blood.

The article had been published with the full email conversation, including Paul's personal information, which was enough to give the internet access to his Facebook, Twitter and all other forms of social media.

Soon photos of Chistoforo were popping up everywhere with lines from his horribly misspelled emails as well as deep searches that found out he regularly posts on steroid webboards. (Kotaku)

Someone also, then, found out that Ocean Marketing plagiarizes all their blog posts and he also has a history of domestic violence.

This guy was being ridiculed relentlessly on Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon reviews and pretty much everywhere else you can think of -- often using actual pictures off his Facebook.

Someone made a website called

A parody of the situation was up within a day:

Geico's main Twitter even got in on the fun:

And, of course, someone had to make fun of EA, who has famously bad customer service:

This prompted a response from Paul Christoforo, "I just wanted to apologize for the way our emails progressed I didn’t know how big your site was and I really didn’t believe you ran Pax , So for what’s its worth I am very sorry. Your post has obviously made my life very difficult and I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet."

Gabe from Penny Arcade, being the badass that he is, basically posted a public response saying that it was not okay, that Christoforo is a bully, that we all grew up being bullied and that he needed to be taught a lesson (as Christoforo had a history of customer abuse):

"It might not always make the most business sense and it is a policy that has caused us some legal problems, but I really don’t give a s**t about that. When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the f**king ground if I think I can catch them in the flames."

Unfortunately, the internet being what it is, there is no "take-backsies". When the owners of the company that makes the controllers found out what was going on they promptly fired Ocean Marketing. (Not before he posed as the CEO of Avenger Controllers it should be noted.)

Christoforo can now enjoy his time as an internet meme and hopefully he can get into anger management, as well as another career.

UPDATE: Turns out GT is actually doing an interview with the guy, which should be available soon:

Get More:, GT.TV - Paul Christoforo Interview Promo, PC Games, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360


Duke Nukem Forever PR Blacklisted

Social media can be an excellent PR tool, but in the wrong hands it can be a PR death sentence. Following less-than-favorable reviews of 2K Games’s Duke Nukem Forever, Jim Redner, who owns one-man public relations firm The Redner Group, took to Twitter to express his frustration, writing:

#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far with their reviews...we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom.

Can you tweet #Blacklisting?

This brought down a firestorm and Redner responded, "I do not support the McCarthy era notion of blacklisting".

He went on to explain how publishers have limited numbers of review copies, and that he was going to be more choosy about where they went from now on.

Even though he claimed to be sorry he still stands by what he originally said,"It is my opinion that when someone exceeds their journalistic integrity and publishes a scathing, derogatory, uncalled-for review, I have the right to question it,".

Hmmm, I guess a reviewer's opinion is exceeding their journalistic integrity they should just print what the companies want them to print? That seems about right.

God Of War II Release Party Includes Goat Sacrifice

When God of War II launched, Sony decided to throw a huge party in celebration. Why wouldn't thy?

It was, after all the follow up to one of the largest games they ever released. What better way to do so then have a good ol' fashioned Bacchanal? They held the party in a Grecian Temple like room and had the staff dressed in togas and women wandering the room naked except for a bit of body paint.

It was all fun until they trotted out the main centerpiece of the party, a decapitated goat carcass.

It was meant to reflect an animal sacrifice. That makes it okay, doesn't it? Maybe, but hey, it didn't stop there. After the goat remains were revealed, the hosts invited the guests to try some of the innards. Raw.

Needless to say that even though this little stunt put animal rights activists up in arms, the game still sold like gangbusters, but this turned off a lot of people to the company and made a formerly off-the-political-map game, something for animal rights activists to complain about.

Rule of Rose Banned Due to Marketing Ploy

Whoever was in charge of marketing played with fire when they went for the "any publicity is good publicity" on this one got burned. Beyond recognition.

The PR firm tried to sensationalize the game by alluding to scenes of extreme violence and underage sexuality that never actually happen in the game; it used several pieces of official Rule of Rose art. Not screenshots, but the kind of promotional character art that's generally sent out directly from game publishers. And, given that the game stars a bunch of female minors, this set off a few red flags for some distributors in Europe.

This information was published in an Italian magazine and it drew the attention of several prominent Italian politicians, all of whom were horrified to learn of Rule of Rose and its possible effects on the tiny, innocent children it was apparently being marketed to. Europe promptly banned the game and forced 505 Games to cancel its release.

The game had already been released in the US though, making most who played it wish that they had tried the same marketing move here.

The game was met with average reviews, most of which highlighted its thought-provoking storyline.

But if you get something banned in Europe, it's gotta be pretty bad.