Why Do Companies Have To ‘Tell You’ They’re Doing A Thing?
For many years now I’ve maintained that the Halo series was only a massively popular series of games because Microsoft told everyone it would be.
The power of persuasion is incredible and nothing quite sells a product like word of mouth. Well, that and controversy.
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A few decades ago when DC Comics ruled that world, they were so set in their hubris that they never saw Marvel coming until it was too late. DC was all about showing you godlike characters; the fastest man alive, the world’s greatest detective, the universe’s greatest weapon, etc. Meanwhile Marvel went to great lengths to show you that while their characters were powerful and direct comparisons could be drawn to DC characters, theirs had weaknesses. How did they portray this? Simple: They created fictional scenarios within the fiction itself to emphasise the weaknesses of their characters.
As an example, we know that Spider-Man can lift a car with relative ease just like Superman can. But then the comic will place Spider-Man under a car and then narrate to us that all hope feels lost for him and the weight of the car is crushing him until at last he summons up the strength through sheer will, and breaks free. Glorious relief.
We root for Spider-Man at that point because the story has put him into a position of attention; of danger.
Anyway coming back to my point from that long-winded anecdote, I find it so strange how some companies feel a need to broadcast their efforts after initially broadcasting that they would be making those efforts. You need only look at this morning’s news of Microsoft beginning their cheaper digital games. (Yes I realise what header I used. Heh heh heh. Satire.) To us at eGamer it’s reporting for the purposes of letting users know that it’s now a thing; it’s a sort of public service announcement. But from my perspective looking at Microsoft it feels like a bit of that and a bit of, “Hey look at us and what we’re doing right now aren’t you happy!”
I liken it to the kind of person who decides to do you a favour, and then proceeds to constantly remind you of that favour they once did you until you begin to regret the universe ever being sneezed out of the nose of a being called The Great Green Arkleseizure. Kudos if you catch the reference. Or perhaps when a child does something and then takes it to every person it’s ever met to show them, but we all know it’s shit and yet we smile and say well done to the poor creature.
To me it seems far simpler to put your head down and work at making positive changes rather than singing about the minor steps you’ve taken. I mean, I could go up to Microsoft right now and say, “Okay but what have you really done thus far,” or, “Okay so what next?”
In this respect I would like to offer some courtesy to Sony with their PS Plus subscriptions. They never sang songs about it the way that Xbox sang about Games for Gold and rewarding their existing subscribers, and yet which is the superior offering? Sony seems to want to actually cater to gamers rather than tell them that they’re catering to them.
Words are easy. Actions are what counts.
And I’ve always maintained that a person is defined by their actions; regardless of their intentions or what they say.
So thanks for letting us know that you’re doing a thing and creating that comic book tension, MS. And other companies who do this too. Next time just do it, okay? Don’t make a fuss about it and draw attention to yourselves with big bold signs. Just go ahead and roll with it. Trust me, people will still find out — that’s what we’re here for.