Living up to the Hype

You might be sick of reading about the game now, but Destiny came out this week, and as you might have read previously I did not preorder. Part of the reason was because I was slightly concerned about the sheer amount of hype, and whether, despite all of the testing, the game could support the launch day traffic.

With this being Bungie (and Activision) the servers held and the game brought in around $500 million dollars; although going on what Activision has previously stated that means Destiny has so far only broken even. Regardless of this a considerable number of people have purchased the game, a game which doesn’t have Metacritic score yet because reviewers were only able to start playing once the servers went live, which was only one day before launch. Therefore there are no full reviews from the major videogame sites, but they have still provided some form of write up expressing their thoughts and opinions of their experience so far, which for a game like Destiny I feel is actually more helpful.

Despite being glad I held out for a day (although I was busy for the entirety of the launch day anyway), I ended up buying Destiny from one of the main supermarket chains the following day. Even though just a couple of hours before I made my purchase I had read a notable number of user reviews where people claimed the game ‘failed to live up to the hype’.

Hype is a weird thing. If you take a cynical view at it, it is nothing more than a way for a company to make people part with their money as soon as the product becomes available. The other side to look at is that hype is a way to generate peoples excitement in something so they can get more enjoyment out of being able to (in this case) play the game they’ve been looking forward to.

With Destiny the difference was that people (myself included) were able to play a significant portion of the game over a month before its release. In a sense this was part of the hype machine, yet at the same time it felt like the hype was almost leading to the beta. Before the beta I was still on the fence about Destiny, sure I’m a big fan of Bungie’s work with the Halo series, but I still wasn’t sold on the MMO style FPS that was being shown off. Yet I was intrigued by the universe that Bungie had created, so being able to experience the game for free before launch really helped to sell the game for me.

For those who seem unhappy with what they have played so far, if they did participate in the beta I wonder what exactly it was that they were expecting? Bungie always stated the beta was designed to test the servers and to make minor tweaks such as balancing, otherwise the core game would remain unchanged from this stage. If for some reason those who didn’t try the beta yet got the game around launch and are unhappy, fair enough. I may be enjoying what I have played so far with Destiny, but I perfectly understand how this is not a game for everyone, despite what Activision might want. Just because you enjoyed the Halo games does not mean you will automatically enjoy Destiny. Even though both titles handle very similarly, the way the two games are approached are rather different.

AAA games now depend on hype more than ever before, and the unfortunate aspect of this is that no matter how the final game turns out, someone is going to feel unsatisfied. Finding the right balance is important, but even if people are satisfied, if not enough people buy it early on then the game can be seen as a failure by no fault of its own. Hype can be a good thing, but it has increasing bond with marketing, and a good sales campaign doesn’t make a good game.

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