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The Splinter Cell Essentials Marketing Fracas

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago

35

Videogame Media Watch has a breakdown on a developing story, yet another example of the sometimes less than stellar relationship game reviews/previews have with game marketing. In essence, Ubisoft used language from a GameSpy preview in their marketing, combining words to get the result they wanted. From the article: "As the 1up article notes, the UbiSoft ad probably does need an ellipsis to note where words were removed from the GameSpy preview. This is hardly the main issue, though, as the difference between 'one of the best games on the PSP' and 'one of the best games we've played on the PSP' is not all that important. A somewhat more salient question: how can a game turn from '...one of the best...' on a system to a 2 out of 5 review in a matter of two-and-a-half months between preview and review? "

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Because all the games are shit? (4, Insightful)

twoflower (24166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150367)

A somewhat more salient question: how can a game turn from '...one of the best...' on a system to a 2 out of 5 review in a matter of two-and-a-half months between preview and review? "
Easy. If all the games on the console are shit, and this is one of the best, it could easily rate 2 out of 5 and still be one of the best on that console.

Re:Because all the games are shit? (2, Insightful)

arakon (97351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150603)

No kidding, I keep getting hopeful that a game will come out that will turn my Sony Paperweight(TM) into an actual game machine and I keep getting Severly disappointed. The most Severe crippling of a system in a long time, loading for everything.
Got Untold Legends, load times from hell, hard as hell to see and generally just not fun.

Got Metal Gear Acid, it wasn't Metal gear but some weird ass card game.

Got Rengoku boring as hell after 20 minutes of beatin on the same damn robots over and over...

Got Lumines was entertained for a while.

TOOK a long break from PSP software.

Got YS VI Ark of something.... holy crap at the god aweful 10 second load times. COuldn't play it any further when I cross a map in 5 seconds and wait 10 for the next area to load.

Got Generation of Chaos, which would be an okay game if there was a better story and a better explanation of what the hell it all was. I really liked Disgaia I guess I got my hopes up to far.

SO over-all my PSP has yet to have ANY serious gaming done on it. The games for it, just suck. Maybe that should be the PSP slogan.

"PSP, for games that just suck" Oh and watching that free spiderman 2 UMD you got with it when you are really bored.

Re:Because all the games are shit? (2, Interesting)

iocat (572367) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151010)

Loading is strictly a feature of individual games, not an inherent fault. My company made a game for PSP (Death, Jr.) which featured levels of >60MB (on a system with 24MB usable RAM) with no perceptable in-level loading times, and loading times ~5 seconds to start the levels. A lot of time with launch software, there's not enough time to focus on optimizing elements like loading, so launch titles have very long loading times. But titles like GripShift have almost no load times. So you can't blame the system itself for this.

Further, Metal Gear Ac!d was pretty clearly a card game if you look at the back of the box. You've bought maybe 5 games out of a library of 100; I'm sorry your results haven't been great, but if we're just offering anecdotal evidence here:

I bought MGA knowing exactly what to expect and enjoyed the game

I loved Lumines and wasted many hours playing it

I spent many, many hours leveling enjoyably in Untold Legends. Load times weren't great, but not bad enough to keep me from playing it

I had a great time, with fine loading times, playing the decidely old-school RPG Legend of Heroes.

Capcom Classics Remix is fantastic, as is Powered Up.

So from my perspective, PSP is pretty good!

Re:Because all the games are shit? (1)

arakon (97351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151226)

Yeah I didn't buy MGA, it was a gift from the wife because I really liked playing Metal Gear Solid.

No arguement about Lumines it was a good game.

Untold Legends just could not hold my interest and Like I said was too dark for me to play effectively even with the brightness all the way up.

Haven't Played Legend of Heroes no comment.

I own most of the games on the Capcom Classics library already on various systems including original arcade hardware. So re-buying games I already have just doesn't do much for me.

On the other hand my DS looks like its been through a war-zone (actually it has, I took it to the sand box with me last time I went). Every DS game I've gotten so far has been pretty good and consistant. My occupation tends to put me in positions where I do LOTS of gaming on the go. The PSP is just not a good Portable gaming machine IMO.

BTW, if that really is a picture of Dick's drivethru on your web-page in February, then you are very fortunate. It's been a long time since I've been home in Seattle, and the February sky has always been gray and raining in my memories. But those plain burgers and fries were good. I think they should sell T-Shirts and sell "Jones Cola". The Green Apple was always my favorite.

Re:Because all the games are shit? (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 8 years ago | (#15154447)

My apologies on Acid, then! Plus it was from your wife so you probably couldn't return it or complain too much about it! I won't argue that my DS has been getting more play than my PSP lately (Animal Crossing, Pheonix Wright, AoK, Tetris...), but my point is just that the PSP as a machine I think is rad; software just hasn't always been there yet for some people.

FTR: That Dick's shot is from their site... my visit in February was predictably rainy (and windy, just to add some variety)!

Re:Because all the games are shit? (1)

arakon (97351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15155426)

I thought so. I don't think I ever remember seeing skies like that in Feb., but i really wouldn't mind having one of those burgers about now.

Re:Because all the games are shit? (1, Informative)

radish (98371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151131)

Sounds like you're buying the wrong games. Burnout is great, GTA is great, Wipeout is great, Hot Shots Golf is insanely great and I heard excellent things about the XMen game (not my scene). There are plenty of good games on the PSP, in fact, if you look at metacritic the numbers are very similar to the DS library, which gets huge praise around most parts.

Re:Because all the games are shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15151362)

Fucking trolling tools. Only on slashdot could something like this get modded up. Idiot.

Sucker born every minute. (4, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150368)

That is why you should NEVER believe quotes on books, movie reviews, games, etc. Even if it is in print it is far too easy to take out of context.

Take this for example:
"The main-chase scene in Matrix 2 is the best I have ever seen; it's too bad the rest of the movie couldn't keep pace."

Spin enabled: "...Matrix 2 is the best I have ever seen.."

Anybody with half of an education should know this stuff.
Demo the ****ware, if you like it buy it!

Re:Sucker born every minute. (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150454)

Anybody with half of an education should know this stuff. Demo the ****ware, if you like it buy it!

You make good points, but not everything can be demoed. I personally hate paying $7 for a game rental at blockbuster and haven't really gotten into the whole rent by mail craze because I really don't watch/play that many movies/games a month to make it worthwhile. As for PC games, a lot of games started giving multiplayer only demoes a few years back and I hated that too. Actually, I think the best source for demos is by far IGN's movies when all else fails. Those give you a decent sense of how well the game looks and feels. Plus, I usually wait a few weeks after a game comes out (learned that with Republic [gamespot.com] ) and see what the online feeling is. Also let's patches come out for those PC games and lets people get online for those multiplayer only titles. But like you said, let the buyer beware and make sure the game is really worth top dollar before you buy.

Re:Sucker born every minute. (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15153351)

I personally hate paying $7 for a game rental at blockbuster and haven't really gotten into the whole rent by mail craze because I really don't watch/play that many movies/games a month to make it worthwhile.

I am in the same boat, but I'll tell you what - gamefly has really allowed me to play alot more games. I pay for the one game plan and play 3 games a month, and I really have a limited amount of time. I get to feel a game out, and enjoy (or suffer) the gameplay. Most games don't hold my interest, but I get to see some cool stuff. If I don't like a game, it's with the outgoing mail the next day at work. New game in 5 days.

I'm not sure if I was to post AC as this sounds like a commercial.

Poster born every minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15150525)

"B5_geek's post is one of the best. Too bad the rest of his posts suck."

"B5_geek's post is one of the best..."

Re:Sucker born every minute. (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150560)

This reminds me of a joke sticker on a CD that came out several years ago. The sticker simply said "...mesmerizing... -Time" as if Time magazine had said that about the CD. It was a fairly small band who had absolutely no chance of ever being reviewed in Time (do they even have CD reviews?), and again, it was done purely as a joke. Anyways, I always got a slight chuckle out of that.

Re:Sucker born every minute. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15150792)

It's even better when they use just a single word or two, with zero context.

"This movie was amazing in its level of awfulness. I still find it shocking how bad every single aspect of this movie was. Even the audio was garbled in a couple of scenes, it's simply unbelievable that it came from a major studio."

Then you see the trailer, quoting the review:
"...amazing..."
"...shocking..."
"...unbelievable..."

Re:Sucker born every minute. (2)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150896)

This crap got pulled most hilariously on a Benji poster:

"Gene Shalit gave us a lukewarm review on the Today show," Camp recalls. Shalit closed by saying, "It's a wow for kids, a bowwow for dogs, and (breaking for a commercial) I think it's time for this message."

"I knew the picture worked," Camp says. "But how was I doing to get people into the theater?"

That day he rented a billboard outside Shalit's NBC office in Rockefeller Center in New York. " 'Benji -- I think it's time for this message.' -- Gene Shalit."

Shalit looked out his window, saw it, and laughed his head off.

Benji creator, Ole Miss alum on star hunt [clarionledger.com]

Re:Sucker born every minute. (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151119)

Favorite critical quote that, when used in an ad, demonstrated spectacular ignorance;

"...with a gag-to-laugh ratio that's even higher than the original." -- said about "Ace Ventura 2"

If the gag-to-laugh ratio increases, wouldn't that mean that there are fewer laughs per joke (gag), or that the reviewer gagged on his popcorn more than he laughed -- to a greater extent than he did when watching Ace Ventura 1?

Re:Sucker born every minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15155582)

Uhhh...you know that "higher" often means "better," and not necessarily "larger," right? If you're going to be pedantic, you should at least not be so thick. Even a child knows that.

Re:Sucker born every minute. (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151441)

Looking at just who is being quoted can be informative too.

For example, if you pick up an SF book with words of praise on the back cover from Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley, then you might just want to put it down and walk away quietly before anybody sees you. Those two were the most pathologically nice people in the industry, and would have found a way to describe The Eye of Argon [pale.org] as "Delightful" and "Breathtaking". On the other hand, seeing a back cover quote from Orson Scott Card really means something, as a book has to really have something to get him to read past the first ten pages, let alone write a quote for it.

Re:Sucker born every minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15152742)

Too bad he doesn't hold his own work to the same high standard.

Re:Sucker born every minute. (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152541)

ake this for example:
"The main-chase scene in Matrix 2 is the best I have ever seen; it's too bad the rest of the movie couldn't keep pace."

Spin enabled: "...Matrix 2 is the best I have ever seen.."

Anybody with half of an education should know this stuff.


Hey, so what if it's actually in the title of the game??

One of the stranger game covers I've seen is the original European release of Grand Theft Auto: http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/images/games .jpg [rockstargames.com]

"...Grand Theft Auto..."

Somewhere, at some time, somebody said "grand theft auto" as part of a sentence... and we captured that moment!

Better yet (0, Redundant)

Skevin (16048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15153144)

You can spin any review to read favorably:
"It's [an] amazing...piece of...work...that keeps...you coming...back...for a long, long time. Ten...out of...ten...two...thumbs...up."

Original Text:
"It's amazing anyone would buy this piece of crap. It's not like I already work my ass off for barely enough cash that keeps the bills paid. Ubisoft, I watch you coming out with this trash every year. I'm returning this game back to the store where I got it, and won't be recommending any more Ubisoft games for a long, long time. The next time I see anyone tenuously pulling any money out of his pocket to buy your ill-gotten two-bit software, I'll tell him what I think before he thumbs his nose up at you. Solomon

Re:Sucker born every minute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15153286)

I had book called "The Self Publishing Manual" or something similiar like that... It basicly said that you can outright fabricate any quote you want to be on your book cover. You can always claim that the quote was "satire", or it was part of the "artwork" of the book, or the name was a pseudonym, or you can claim to have heard the person say such a thing, or some other such thing... most likely the person you quote won't find out about it, and even if they did, it is too expensive with too little pay off to really be able to sue you. It suggested that a lot / most of the quotes about a book you see on books are outright fabrications.

It is kind of hard to preview a game... (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150544)

One thing to remember about previews, is that you are playing a game in the rough. I have played pre-alpha builds of games, and have seen some cool items in games, that were later pulled. That can change a game pretty drastically, from what you saw. Previews are part of a game's marketting strategy. You don't see a lot of previews of an entire game, but of a few levels, that the developer/publisher choose to show you. They give you an idea of what the game is about. Reviews, on the other hand, are written based on what you will get to put in your machine. I may get hyped up by previews... but I wait for reviews before making any real choice.

Re:It is kind of hard to preview a game... (1)

2old2rockNroll (572607) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150820)

It's like all the preview hype and raves about Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. When the reviewers got the finished version, they panned it. Thankfully, Tomb Raider once again has a winner with Legend.

Blog triumphalism! (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150570)

I like how, at the end of the article, he goes on about how awesome the citizen-driven media is! No one would have normally noticed this! Only the bloggers have the power to fix our horribly corrupt blah blah blah.

This horrible, horrible error might have only been noticed by a few bloggers because maybe, just maybe, no one gives a crap. It's about an ad that few see for a game few want on a system few own.

You want to fix game media? Ditch "new games journalism," stop playing the stupid "everyone is a hater" card regarding violent games, stop trying to provide media exclusively through press releases and for God's sake, dissociate yourselves from the companies whom your job is to critique!

Pointing out relatively minor transgressions and fraud present in almost every venue while shouting how awesome blogs are from the rooftops solves nothing.

What's really funny here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15152128)

Gamespot is really only barely distinguishable from a blog itself. It's an internet website which prints news and opinions. The only thing that differentiates it from a blog is that it has a budget. But since there are bloggers with budgets now, even that doesn't count. Which means that this blogger is basically congratulating bloggers for managing to find and point out a journalistic error committed ... via another blog.

So once again we see that all blogs are really good for is keeping the excesses of other blogs in check.

It's a matter of selling the magazine (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15150649)

It's simple: people like to be excited. Excitement makes people feel good, and for magazines in particular, if you're excited about an upcoming feature or review, it makes you buy the next issue of the magazine (in addition to the one you've already got). Negativity, on the other hand, is a turn-off; there are very few reviewers of any media that can consistently pan things and still be an interesting read (Anthony Lane of the New Yorker is one of them, FYI). So even if the game's final review makes it clear that it sucks, the preview (which is probably longer and more graphics-filled than the review) is enough to keep people happy and buying the magazine.

Or, it could simply be that they don't get the chance to play through the whole game and realize some of its faults during the preview, but when they get a final copy, they can spend enough time to find out where the problems are.

Re:It's a matter of selling the magazine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15150832)

That's why the evening news is so positive huh...

Re:It's a matter of selling the magazine (1)

Wwolmack (731212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151665)

Colin Williamson wrote some of the best reviews for awful games in PC Gamer.

The first thing i'd do with any new issue was look for any horribly low scores, and hope that I'd get a gem like this:
If you stripped yourself naked, smeared your body with honey, duct-taped raw steaks to your ass, and jumped into a cage filled with rabid grizzly bears, I can almost guarantee you'd be having more fun than if you were playing Swamp Buggy Racing. I'm serious.
From Swamp Buggy Racing (Google cache) [72.14.203.104]

or this:
Sadly, this sporadic confusion extends to your teammates, whose behavior has been realistically modeled after the characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. These fellows run in circles, bump into each other, jump off cliffs, hump the walls, and moonwalk while shooting paintballs from their butt.
From Extreme Paintbrawl (Google cache) [72.14.203.104]

Then again, maybe i'm just weird.

Re:It's a matter of selling the magazine (1)

J-Doggqx (809697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152564)

"Then again, maybe i'm just weird."

I just want you to know that you aren't alone. I do the same thing and if it is especially low scoring I will even read it out loud to my wife who usually finds it equally funny. Sometimes I feel it was worth having another terrible game released into the wild simply because of the pleasure the scathing review gave me.

I'll just say this (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15151790)

I don't approve of sleazy marketing. BUT, the Splinter Cell series is one of the most fun series I've ever played. I never tire of sneaking around in the dark and killing people. Just remember, if Ubisoft ever stops making these games it may end up affecting you personally. I may be your neighbor. ;)

Re:I'll just say this (2, Funny)

mrpotato (97715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15152691)

"I [...] approve of sleazy marketing." -- bogie

"I never tire of [...] killing people." -- bogie

And I will second it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15152693)

they just need a way of making them longer, and have the difficulty levels actually make them harder... and if they could crank out moreof them quicker, it's not like i want any engine changes, i want more stories.... lots more stories...

Don't mean to be offtopic but... (1)

nmaster64 (867033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15154200)

...this is the only /. article I've ever seen with no catchy little department tagline...wtf?

Repeat after me... (1)

Big Sean O (317186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15155979)

Preview = Paid review.

A company doesn't offer a prerelease version of a game to a website without some expectation of softball consideration. Websites know this so they tend to talk up the good points and play down the bad points (because, after all the game isn't finished yet).

"One of the best games we've played on the PSP" is exactly full of the kind of weasel words they use in previews. Low and behold Ubisoft ends up removing some of the weasel words in order to make a more compelling quote.

Meh. That's why I listen to Chris the video-game guy at the store. Looks like Comic Book Guy, but is refreshingly free of condescension. Also, you dorks at slashdot are pretty cool too...
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