If you haven’t noticed, games are kind of a big deal. There is more money being thrown around in this industry than comprises the toilet paper of Bobby Kotick, and when that kind of capital is flowing, it becomes a team effort to get the message out.
Enter marketers. Yes, how ironic an industry that’s original promotional material mostly resembled what I’d imagine life looks like through the eyes of a Chucky Cheese robot has become the focus of so much marketing. But perhaps that makes sense. As the medium ages, much like a fine wine or grandma, it’s becoming more potent – and affecting more people in the process. But this mix of expansion, accessible technology, and the ever-two-point-0-ier-ness of the internet is leading to a questionable cocktail of marketing strategies – strategies that no amount of hyphens, run-on sentences, or half-assed analogies will account for. Strategies that are not only deceptive, but inherently lazy.
You may have caught wind of the recent IGN – Activision allegations of deceptive marketing, courtesy of former Ziffer Shawn Elliot. What? No? But it had all five people who cared in an uproar! Well, to fill you in, the crux of that situation was marketing messages being published on an editorial site disguised as objective, informative content, which is a frightening trend emerging in our industry. Not only does this kind of marketing shred the credibility of the site, it questions the integrity of our industry and those who work in it.
Which really brings me to my main complaint – I find it lazy, and as someone in the marketing profession I am slightly offended. Come on, we are supposed to be creative! There has to be a better way to communicate our message than posing it as conveniently placed “observations” in what is already press-driven prose. If we are confident in our product and our target market, then why the deception?
Maybe this is scratching at a deeper issue – the quality of our work. It’s difficult not to draw parallels between a company pumping out five franchise titles a year and desperate marketing. This is, of course, blatantly oversimplified but to illustrate a point: Perhaps if we re-think our models for game development, our future marketers won’t be paying off sites to mention their product twelve times per paragraph. Not only this, but I can go back to being proud of what I do for a living. Well, on second thought…