Bullshots: How Video Game Creators Deceive Their Customers
False advertisement is not as strong as before, but you can still find instances of it. Unfortunately, one of the places where this problem is greatly at large is the gaming industry. Countless times we saw trailers, gameplay footages or even live demos that promised so much, but in the end, did not deliver.
Why does this keep happening?
Well, the reason for why the developers do this is obvious – to make people more excited for the game. But the real question is why are they allowed to keep doing this? More often than not, there were no penalties when something like this happened. Let’s look at a recent example when there actually were some consequences – No Man’s Sky. Hello Games – the developers – kept talking about such great features as multiplayer, a nearly infinite number of randomly-generated planets with different climates, flora, and fauna. In the end, we got some of the things they promised, but not much. Graphically the game was good, but everything else was not. Not much to do, boring grinding, no multiplayer – people were disappointed. All this lead to terrible reviews and eventually, investigation for false advertisement. So why has No Man’s Sky bombed, but other titles didn’t? Simply because it was an indie game? Not really, as Mighty No.9, a Kickstarter project, got mixed reactions to say the least but never got into that much trouble. Then what was it?
It’s all about crossing the line
The reason Hello Games suffered such a blow was probably due to the fact that they simply overdid it. In every interview, every convention and showcase they talked about how great the game will be and all the features it will include, that by the time they presented their product the whiplash was too much. Something similar happened when we first saw trailers of project Natal, later known as Xbox Kinect. I remember my jaw dropping when I watched that video, it looked like Microsoft made a leap in time and brought some next-generation technology with them. But it turned out that unfortunately, all that footage did not depict the ending product at all. The camera quality was worse, the sensors less responsive and the overall experience did not match up. But they did tone it down with the boasting when it came to real live demonstrations of the software, so people had a better idea of what they were actually buying. So, usually when other developers – be it AAA giants or other independent folks – do some embellishing, they are much more discreet. For example, one of such important aspects is the appearance of the “in-game footage” disclaimer on any trailer that shows off gameplay, since its absence almost guarantees, that the game will not look as good, if even similar at all. It was a huge uproar when after promising a survival-horror Alien game, SEGA released the plain and uninventive Colonial Marines. Developers also often save themselves by promising DLCs and patches if something goes badly like studio DICE did with Battlefield 4. But No Man’s Sky had no excuses, nothing to redeem themselves with. Even if they were a big company, something like this could not be overlooked by an over-hyped crowd. This goes to show that, fortunately, we live in the time when consumers’ opinion matters.
So, will this ever change?
Probably no, not really. No matter how strict the rules get, people always find a way to sprinkle lies in order to make their product look better. So what we need to do is stay vigilant, not let ourselves be fooled by pretty words and work on improving the gaming community. One of the ways to do it is by becoming a member of Gametree. We thoroughly analyze all the information for our database to make sure that every game that we recommend to our customers will satisfy their personal tastes so that both their money and their time will not be wasted.