Bungie’s Destiny Launch Issues, a Production Stumble, or a Marketing Stunt
At heart I am a gamer of video games and I think I have a good idea of what a gamer wants from their games. Smooth controls, nice graphics, a great non-screen grabbing immersive story that includes a skip button, and most recently added … responsive online gaming with voice communication. A gamer can’t really ask for more than that, but we always find ourselves looking at developers asking what the next big thing is. Destiny is trying to bring something shiny new to our table. The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not that shiny new thing will be worth all that hype. Wait a sec though, where did all the hype come from?
That’s how it is. As a person who is quite skeptical about things in business, I find it hard to believe that a game that has been absolutely in development for 2 years, but potentially 5 years, has decided to ditch the server 8 hours after its release. I do not think so. My question is who has the most to gain from this kind of indecency? The marketing team. Ask yourself when there is good news versus bad news, which one grows faster and stays in your mind longer? You most likely still remember that juicy secret someone whispered in your ear while you were on the school bus in third grade. Sorry, dirty secrets just have a higher retention rate in memory, so the good news doesn’t go that far.
I’ve seen people do it a ton of times. Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Music Awards is a great example. It was so outrageous that everyone was talking about it, even people who didn’t listen to his music. It’s the move of a marketing genius … if one person can pull it off without unleashing it. What I mean by that is that if the plan gets this crazy, it fails. Even in a world full of moving images and audio streams trying to invade our minds, word of mouth is still the most effective way of getting information out to the world. So for those few brave individuals who are willing to risk their careers in the name of marketing, they can achieve up to 200 percent higher exposure when combined with some bad news. All technical marketing in commerce as a whole cannot produce results like that if given the same amount of time.
On the other hand, Destiny is doing a lot of new things that require a lot of things to work perfectly all the time. It is incredibly likely that a minor thing that was overlooked caused many of the problems observed during launch. Perhaps the deadlines are too rigid and large companies are putting aside the need for developers to produce good quality games in favor of the money. Even after an “official” reason is published, all that remains is speculation. All I know is that the game is silky smooth, but it doesn’t really seem to offer anything groundbreaking. These little server connectivity hiccups make me feel like I have to return my new computer the same day I brought it home. I don’t want the game, I’m just disappointed, but I’m still hoping to see big improvements once all the bugs are fixed.
Whether intentionally or not, Bungie’s fate has me in the magic bubble of hope. The foundation and the idea of the game are so good that once the game is at its best it should be amazing. Plus, there’s the added effect of feeling like an under-story. At the end of the day, all the hype, both good and bad, has given the game more exposure in the market. All they have to do now is make sure that when the veil is lifted, that destination is running 100 percent so that it can deliver the goods and shake our socks off.