Hype and reality do not match up

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Author: Will Westwater

“Destiny” was one of the most highly anticipated games of all time—so hyped that consumers were willing to buy the game before any reviews were published. Gamers called in sick to their jobs, waited in line and spent their hard-earned $60 on what they believed would be the game of the year. But when “Destiny” turned out not to be everything they hoped for, many felt cheated.

Due to the game’s scale and multiplayer focus, “Destiny” was given to reviewers only one day in advance. One day is not enough lead time for any outlet to play “Destiny” to completion, and then write, edit and publish an accurate review. Most did not have a review up by the time the game was available for purchase.

Releasing without a day one review may seem like a cheap trick to get higher day one sales, but this idea was well-thought-out without malicious intent. In their weekly update, four days before the game’s release, developer Bungie explained the reasoning behind the initial lack of reviews.

The problem was that Bungie intended “Destiny” to be experienced in an environment with thousands of other players. Any outlet that played the game before the general population, therefore, would be unable to write an informed review.

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This, combined with the generous public alpha and beta tests over the summer, allowed Bungie along with publisher Activision to feel comfortable about the lack of day one reviews. They felt consumers would be familiar with the kind of game they were purchasing.

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It is up to buyers to decide whether or not they want to go in blind on their purchases. After all, Activision is not forcing anybody to buy the game, and Bungie knew and accepted that the lack of reviews could raise conflicts.

“Some of you might wait to pick up a copy until you read the final verdict from your most trusted review house. We’re okay with that. We’ve created something we’re proud of,” Bungie said in the report.

“Destiny” is a solid game. It is technically superb, with guns that have weight in the player’s hands and satisfying headshots—not to mention that ramping the sparrow through dips and craters in the lunar surface is the closest gamers will ever get to the feeling of riding a speeder in Star Wars. Where the game lacks, however, is in variety of mission structure, with some missions feeling quite bland.

Some disappointment is understandable, but Activision and Bungie were never trying to trick the consumer. We as the consumers dictate what games we buy. Hype can be fun, but it can also be misleading. Although I discourage the trend of short lead times, it is important for buyers to understand that the lack of day one reviews is not something the developers and publishers took lightly. Developers need to recognize when to hype up a new release, but gamers must remember to stay composed and not always buy into the hype.

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