For the past two months all we’ve heard on gaming podcasts and on social media is that the Xbox Series X had basically no new games to play on it.
Yet Microsoft had this Hivebusters single player campaign coming, which is a visual showcase that’s getting a lot of praise right now, and they stayed so quiet about it. They made no effort to push this project as something to be excited about for the new consoles.
I get that it’s a DLC campaign, but why not at least promote the one big thing you have coming soon? They should have been pushing this in the run up to the Series X launch, and making sure people knew they had this gorgeous piece of content coming soon after launch. It just seems so strange how quiet they were about this.
It’s interesting, but I’m starting to think their research shows that due to the still existing stigma that exists around xbox from the prior gen, that their games do better if they are allowed to be sleeper hits rather than ‘forced’ on the public. They’re also counting on gamepass to let word of mouth get out there about the games. If they had tried going hard promoting a 3-4 hour dlc, even if it’s great, they would have been memed and attacked by console warriors. They’re learning to let the games and presentations speak for themselves and I think it’s working when they don’t have to deal with pre-conceived notions.
I think they’re trying to avoid expectations, because those expectations are often thrown back in their face from bad faith console warriors. This approach let’s the game do the talking and doesn’t feel pushed on people, which people respond to positively.
Miles Morales is literally a new story layered over the exact same city, and it can be completed in 7 hours. Yet Sony promoted it as a massive launch game, and it was a huge focus of conversation around the PS5 launch. I own the game and love it btw.
But Microsoft has this 3 hour campaign, with entirely new characters and environments, and they were damn near silent about it. It’s so fucking weird the more I think about it. They could have been very up front that it’s only a 3 hour campaign thing, but at least fucking talk about it and promote it in their Series X marketing, and talk it up on social media.
Just thinking of how many podcasts I listened to in recent months where the mantra was repeated over and over about how there is really nothing new on Series X, and here is Microsoft just sitting in the corner being all quiet while Hivebusters is about to come out and be this stunning next gen experience.
I think there is a middle ground between over promising on something, and hyping it up too much, and being almost silent about it. They could have been very up front about Hivebusters short length, but still made people aware they did have this gorgeous new thing to play on the Series X around the launch.
Definitely agree, but I think what you see with MS is they’re not afraid to experiment with new ways of doing things, particularly for smaller projects like this dlc, so they probably wanted to try out a low impact launch and see the results. It appears to be working as now the gaming media and players will do the marketing for them, and console warriors don’t have anything to attack it with. It entirely avoids any unconscious bias in media and players that has affected them before. I think it could be a smart play. Just look at netflix, they do the same thing, once you reach a critical number of subscribers in a service, you can let the users identify the hits and push them for you.
Because they just allowed a hard narrative to set in about the new Xbox consoles, that there was no real new stuff to play on the Series X. That kind of narrative gets established in people’s heads, and gets repeated to friends. Hell, I’ve had friends asking me in recent months which console to buy, and I had to tell them the Xbox didn’t really have anything exclusively new for the foreseeable future.
I just think they need a team focused on marketing the games. A team of people who actually plays games, and have “an ear to the ground” so to speak. The marketing for the brand, consoles and Game Pass are great but the actual games are not getting the attention they deserve.
We need something like a Direct or SoP, a format where games are higlighted. And not in the cringey american Inside Xbox-way.
Because it is a 3 hour campaign DLC for a game that is a year old at this point. Let’s not try to inflate the importance of this release above what it is. It is a nice piece of content for fans of the series and Microsoft marketed it as such with a trailer and press release a week before release and advertised it on the dashboard and in the Game Pass app.
Honestly if Microsoft tried to market this in a way that was similar to Sony with Spider Man they would have been laughed at and rather than people having positive things to say about it they would have moaned that it was too short etc. Microsoft did the right thing and managed expectations.
Disclaimer: I’ve played neither Miles Morales nor Hivebusters.
Regarding the Spider-Man comparison: I would say that a follow-up to a great fun game and dipping into the popularity of Into the Spider-Verse (which is fantastic) is pretty exciting! I’ve heard good things about Gears 5, but haven’t gotten around to it yet because it’s the fifth or sixth game in a series I intend to get through at some point. This is all personal anecdotal stuff, of course, and I, SpiderLink, am clearly biased towards Spider-Man as a franchise. Just trying to present a different perspective.
From what I’ve seen, Hivebusters is gorgeous. I don’t really see much in the way of ads and whatnot, so I can’t say about how marketed it was, but maybe the comparison to MM is what they were trying to avoid? I only have a passing familiarity with the GoW series, but it does have a dudebro rah rah war good association in my mind (however unfairly, I played the first one back when it came out and that’s it). I imagine that the public at large would run with the narrative that “Sony has SPIDER-MAN and Microsoft has the same meathead shooting gallery stuff as always” (again, however unfairly) even if it turned out Hivebusters were head and shoulders above MM.
Marketing is very tricky at the best of times, and MS have had some issues with it in the past. Narratives set in and get deeply ingrained and difficult to overcome in any field, plus the internet can turn on a dime. Tone is difficult to set without coming off too “how do you do, fellow kids?”.
Game Pass is their silver bullet, but they need to drive people to it. In my view, MS might just be seeing their first-party efforts as parts of a whole, hoping to quietly make some bangers so they can accrue praise and good reviews. Then they can release a big-ass commercial that rounds up all of the praise.
If the perception (from people who haven’t set foot into the ecosystem) is “just a bunch of old not great first-party games” and “Some AA games 6 months after launch for an unknown period of time” then they need to absolutely destroy that. A sizzle reel of high-scoring, varied, cool-looking games that you didn’t even really know about is a great wind-up, and “$1 to try for a month, no hardware buy necessary” is a knockout.
Again, just my armchair analysis here. I don’t think they’re having a hard time moving hardware right now, and I think that their focus software-wise is more about padding the catalog with quality stuff. Basically they’re charging up for a big haymaker Get someone intrigued enough to try, and release enough stuff to keep them subbing.
I love Gears but I think this is the correct take. Gears 5 really isnt a new game and the franchise although seemingly important to xbox is not as big as people think it is to warrant a massive marketing budget much less for a 3 hour campaign.
Probably because no matter how MS handles a situation they get bashed by the media. If they market something the media says they over hype stuff and get backlash, if they don’t market then the media bashes them for having bad marketing.
They probably at this point just want the content to speak for itself.
I would imagine that if someone watches one of the their live streams they are into Gears and therefore the marketing The Coalition has done is sufficient enough to make them aware the DLC exists etc. It’s not like The Coalition suddenly dropped the DLC onto us, they did actually release a trailer and release a press release a week ahead of time.
I again repeat that it is a short, all but well made DLC, but it is DLC none the less. I honestly do not understand why people seem to be picking fault with the way it has been marketed. If this was the first part of a planned series of DLC then maybe more ‘pomp’ would be needed, but this seems like a one off and something a little extra for Gears fans and that’s the way it has been presented to us.
I had issues with the way Gears 5 was marketed, but this is honestly not another example.
I am sure once Gears 6 comes around Microsoft will be heavily marketing it, but you don’t really spend a lot of time heavily promoting DLC unless it is substantial or part of a series of DLC.
Some people think Gears having a bigger budget will somehow raise its popularity and make it a massive juggernaut in its check notes 8th entry (not counting Tactics). Gears is what it is, a reliable IP xbox can pump out that is linked to the brand.