Hype: The Bugbear of PC Gaming

GAMING

Over the decades, I have been involved in computer gaming and I have seen many things which have been harmful to the gaming community. However, looking back, none in my opinion have been as detrimental as the way hype has grown over the years.

We have all ridden the hype train for a new game or piece of hardware, but when I speak to people in the community, I think they put the blame in the wrong place. Let me stretch the train analogy a bit and give you my perspective of how the hype train works.

First, we have the conductor, the person that gets people boarding the hype train - the publisher. They give us promises often based on best case scenarios that seldom have a place in the real world. In the instance of PC games, they give us trailers built on rendering engines for movie quality but have nothing to do with the way the game plays. We are given reference of impressive features that somehow never materialize.

Next, we have the Bartender - the person in the lounge car that is serving us drinks. This is some of the gaming press. They are looking for site clicks so they take the sensational stories being fed them and crank their hype to 11. I have seen Youtubers take an announcement of a new game, still a year from launch and spend the next 12 months publishing “new” news every few days. The “news” is often just the same things already said but with a focus twist to get people to click back.

Finally, we come to the Engineer - the person driving the hype train, and that person is the gaming community. Sure, the dev and publisher got us on the train and the “press” kept feeding us more and more news to increase our excitement, but we, the community are what takes the hype to whole new levels. We know the narrative we are being fed is misleading and yet we pass the news around as if it were fact to anyone that will listen. People that are skeptical are called down in forums and reddit, told that they are just naysayers and the item/game being discussed will be amazing. Then when the finished product fails to live to our overly exaggerate expectations, we cry foul and blame the game developers, the publishers or the game press.

 

The game we got was never going to be able to live up to the hype. It was doomed to be considered a bit of a failure no matter what was published because the expectations the hype train had set were nearly impossible to match. This of course was made even worse when the game released, because it was way below the bar all the hype had set.

Hype does this to the community with pretty much every major lose. It can be a new game that has missing features, or graphics that do not hit the bar we have convinced ourselves it should. We build up high expectations and then suffer a deep disappointment.

We could change this, with little real effort on our part. We could refuse to get on the hype train. We could spend less of our time talking about the next new game and instead focus on what we have now and enjoy the great games we already have. Instead, too many get wrapped into waiting for what is next, miss out on what they have, and then are disappointed with what they end up with.

New games are something cool that we are all looking forward to. However, if all our energy and focus is on a not yet realized new product, all our time spent in discussions of speculation, then we miss out on today and end up waiting for a tomorrow that never comes. This leads to frustration, disillusionment and eventually that love we feel for PC Gaming fades as all the hype kills it.

The articles content, opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in SAPPHIRE NATION are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent official policy or position of SAPPHIRE Technology.
Edward Crisler
Edward is the definition of an “old school” gamer, playing computer games as far back at 1977. He hosted a tech talk show for 20 years and is now the North America PR Representative for SAPPHIRE as well as SAPPHIRE’s unofficial gaming evangelist. You can follow him on Twitter @EdCrisler.

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