Tag Archives: Gaming

Worth the Wait? The Problem of First Day Glitches

As many of you have experienced, you buy a new device or download a new software update on the first day it releases. Well when you do that, there are bound to be some glitches with the software. This is what I call “First Day Glitches.” Many companies have this problem including some of the best companies out there. Whether it be Apple, Nintendo, or even Microsoft, it’s basically inevitable.

glitchesFirst let’s start out with Apple and their recent update iOS 11 that launched on September 18th, 2017. This is exactly one week after the iPhone 8 and iPhone X launch. On the first day, many users were experiencing issues. One of those issues was with the iPad, with graphics that were completely out of whack. The user would unlock the screen, and right away the bar that includes all of your favorite apps would be in the middle of the screen. This made it impossible to get to some of your apps that were underneath that bar. Another problem users ran into was with Apple Pay. Some people reported that Apple Pay would not work, or would completely crash when they tried to use it.

With this new update, Apple added a new feature that records your screen while you use it. Although this was a good idea on Apple’s end, it didn’t have the greatest first impression. Users would start recording and their iPhone would freeze or wouldn’t record audio like it was supposed to. The only way to unfreeze your phone was restarting it.

Apple isn’t the only company to have these kinds of problems. Nintendo had had a couple of pretty big issues when they first launched new products. One of those issues was with the JoyCon controllers not being able to connect to the screen when in portable mode. This raised many red flags because it is one of the key points for the switch being both portable like a GameBoy or stationary like a console. The other major issue with the Switch was that the screen would glitch to the point of not being able to see your game or control it at all. This video shows the extent of problems that it caused for many people.

The last company is Microsoft, and they problems they encountered with their launch of the Xbox One. On the first day, Microsoft released their “Day One edition” of the console which had some problems of its own. The “Green Screen of Death” was the biggest issue among them all. On the first startup of the console, the screen would freeze on the screen shown below. Many people got lucky and just unplugged their console and restarted it but some people had to send it back to Microsoft to get fixed. Gamers that also played on the Xbox 360 compared this to the “Red Ring of Death” which cost Microsoft nearly $1 Billion.

glitchesMany other Microsoft gamers complained about the optical disc drive either not reading discs or making a crunching noise when the disc was inserted. Along with that, the download times of games was very slow, but the explanation for this is based on how large the game files are in order to provide such high-quality graphics. The higher the graphic quality, the bigger the file will be. This is one of those times you have to decide what you would rather have. Quality graphics and slow download time? Or Bad graphics and fast download time? Read more here.

Overall, these companies are great companies even with their flaws, and it is impossible to be perfect. These examples are why I always wait a few days or a few weeks until getting that new device or downloading that new software. If you wait most of the major bugs and glitches will be taken care of.

Here are a few questions to think about. Are you one of the many that have to have the newest thing right away? Or do you wait?

If you were involved with one of these companies, what would you recommend doing differently to make the first day go smoother?

And what are some other examples that you have bought or downloaded something on the first day it released that had some glitches like these?

Brett Olson

Overwatch: The Next Team Fortress 2?

“It’s high noon,” is a quote by McCree who is one of my favorite characters from Overwatch. Blizzard released the game Overwatch last year and it was met with raving success. Overwatch has had stunning marketing results, but will Overwatch become a trend in the near future?

OverwatchCelebrity Terry Crews recently did a video that came out this month. He did a mock audition for Overwatch character Doomfist. People are still playing Overwatch if Terry Crews just did an endorsement deal for Blizzard right?

According to Direct Marketing News Perry Simpson, he listed five reasons Overwatch worked well: brand integrity, powerful influencers, high accessibility, UGC (user-generated content), and a high-quality product.

However, the Gamespulp website reported that Overwatch is slowing down. The website claimed that the characters are part of the reason why the game is not doing so well. The website also stated that there’s no unlocks and loot boxes don’t count. Finally, you already have unlocked all the characters and abilities. What else?

Well, in all fairness, Overwatch currently has around 20 million players according to IGN along with an almost perfect review. Blizzard made a really good game here. So why people think that a game like this be slowing down? One word: trend.

A trend is a popular style that lasts for a brief period in time. Trends usually do not last more than a year. A good example of a trend that has lasted is the word ‘cool.’ So, does that mean that Overwatch is a terrible game? No. Of course not. It’s just that some (including myself) see this game as a trend. I haven’t played Overwatch in months now and I don’t really want to.

Overwatch is like World of Warcraft or Runescape. There is a dedicated, loyal fan base for these games, but it is like a trend. World of Warcraft has gained subscribers, but has lost many subscribers over the years.

Overwatch is a fun game to play however and with twenty-two characters to choose from. A good variety of maps, weapons, abilities, and unique character’s backstories. The game is multiplayer only which might be a reason why this game is slowing down. How would a single player campaign work? I’m not sure.

What can Blizzard do since Overwatch is kinda-of looked at as being a trend? Well, Blizzard could patch the game, maybe add new maps, add new characters, and perhaps a single player campaign. Will they do this? Again, I’m not sure.

Other than Overwatch being rumored as a trend, I want to look more in-depth of the game’s marketing. Let’s compare Valve’s Team Fortress 2 to Overwatch due to the similarities. Overwatch seems to have a similar art style, character style, and general map rotation.

According to PCGamesN, Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s game director expressed his thoughts on the Team Fortress 2 comparison from a fan’s question during Blizzcon. He said, “Team Fortress 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, but we’re going in a different design direction than they are. If people want to compare Overwatch to Team Fortress 2, we would take that as the world’s greatest compliment,” said Kaplan.

Sure, Overwatch is not a complete copy of Team Fortress 2, but there are many similarities. Not to mention how Valve marketed Team Fortress 2. For example, Valve marketed and showed off Team Fortress 2 characters just like Overwatch. They made one video for each of their characters.

Blizzard has even reached out to a popular film channel on YouTube known as RocketJump formerly known as FreddieW. The video came out October 2016. They advertised Heroes of the Storm more, but they do have Overwatch character Tracer in it. It sounds like Blizzard is still trying to keep Overwatch relevant.

What are your thoughts on Overwatch? Do you think Blizzard implemented a marketing genius game or will people lose interest in this game very soon? Tell me in the comments below! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends. Thank you!

Kyle Konigsmark

Creativity in Action: Marketing Rise of the Tomb Raider

In 2013 “a survivor was born” when Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix released Tomb Raider, a complete reboot to an already beloved series. The game met with incredible success and news of a sequel. Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced and fans were excited everywhere.

Tomb RaiderThat was until it was announced that Rise was going to be an Xbox One “timed exclusive”, which meant that for the first year of release, Rise was only available to the Xbox. This was met with an overwhelming amount of criticism. So how was Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics going to sell the game? With a really cool marketing campaign.

Tomb RaiderWe’ll start with the Survival Billboard. This was a challenge that was held in London, the home city of Lara Croft, and sponsored by Microsoft in an attempt to promote the game. The challenge sounded simple, eight contestants stood on a billboard. The contestants had to remain on the billboard for as long as they could while facing harsh weather conditions such as cold rain, strong wind, freezing snow and intense heat.

The event was live streamed via Twitch, an internet live streaming service, and played ads for the upcoming video game within the breaks of streaming. Microsoft also launched a website that viewers could go to. The website allowed viewers to choose what weather condition the contestants would have to deal with next. What is incredible is that the event lasted 20 hours and 45 minutes before there was only one contestant left standing. This marketing stunt won Microsoft several Cannes Lions and left one contestant with some hypothermia. The Cannes Lion is an award for those in advertising and communications.

The next bit of advertising that Microsoft threw together was “Escape from Siberia”. In “Escape” four fairly popular YouTube personalities were tasked with surviving the elements for 48 hours. The YouTubers had to complete “obstacles” such as camping, which I guess is an obstacle? Ziplining, rock climbing and archer. The vlogs were uploaded to the “Xbox On” YouTube channel as well as each of the individual YouTube channels.

Now we will head over to “The Climb”, which was aired in 2015 on Comedy Central. The commercial was a cross promotional event with the stars from the show Broad City, in which they are trying to climb up scaffolding while mixing in gameplay for Rise makes for a really funny commercial.

Something that this marketing campaign did that I thought was really cool was it tried to reach the female gaming community, as well as just females in general. If you haven’t watched Broad City, 1. You should and 2. You need to know it has a large female audience.

Another thing that Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics did was to hire Karen O, the frontwoman for the band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen wrote the song and performed it for a music video that featured Lara Croft fighting and overcoming challenges from the video game, the song is called “I Shall Rise” The video was uploaded to the “Xbox On” YouTube channel on November 12th 2015. As I was saying this campaign tried to reach a larger female audience than most games do in general. However, I do not know whether or not Rise of the Tomb Raider was successful in gaining a female audience.

Now with any marketing campaign you have to have a presence on social media, and this game had just that. “Lara Croft’s Adventures” was the name given to the Instagram promotions that included several accounts which all linked together. One account was the Tomb Raider Journals in which several pictures are displayed with notes written by Lara to provide context on her current journey.

The next Instagram account was called Tomb Raider Research in which it showed Lara’s “virtual bulletin board, the account had photos, newspaper clippings, artifacts and notes and like the other account all were used to help provide context.

Tomb Raider

With all of these avenues of advertisement at their fingertips, was Microsoft successful? Yes and no, and here is why. It is true from a marketing standpoint that this campaign was brilliant and fun, in fact it won the Game Marketing Awards: “Outstanding Overall Marketing Campaign 2016”. It is true that the game was the highest selling Xbox One game during the week of Christmas 2015 and by the end of 2015 the game had sold over 1 million copies. So, it’s not like the company lost money. But the downfall comes from the fact that it was a timed exclusive for one year and on one console. Because when the game was released for the other systems such as PC, the game sold three times the amount in its first month of release.       

I guess in the end the game was a success, even for the Xbox, just not as much sales as they had projected. Crystal Dynamics is already developing a third entry for the rebooted series. Maybe they will think about pairing up with Microsoft again, or Sony, or neither and just release the game to all platforms.

So, what are your thoughts on the rebooted Tomb Raider series? Should Crystal Dynamics partner with a company like Microsoft again or not? Comment below! Peace out homies.

Nick Mussehl

Nintendo is Switching Things Up: But How Effective is the Switch?

What’s all this commotion about a “Nintendo Switch?” If you live under a rock and haven’t heard yet, the Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s new gaming console that is both a home console and portable gaming system hybrid, allowing gamers to play games in their homes and on the go.

“Nintendo’s innovative new console lives up to the hype,” according to many websites like Vice. And they’re not wrong. Just look at the first few minutes of Nintendo Switch’s Presentation Reveal! Can you feel all that hype through all those lights, sound and that countdown?

Why is there such a hype for Nintendo’s console in the first place? Nintendo is a strong brand and has a strong fan base. Nintendo has captured the hearts of many gamers from the Nintendo 64, to the Wii, along with many of their iconic IP characters such as Mario and Link. No wonder the Switch looks successful even before its official launch!

There were many rumors about the Nintendo Switch before the official reveal. While that could be bad for the company, one wonders if those leaks were intentional. It certainly helped enhance the already existing hype for the new console. And the rumors were very detailed, stating before any crucial information about the console was officially revealed that it would be a hybrid console.

While the Wii may have been a huge success for Nintendo, its advertising campaign…wasn’t that great. And don’t let me get started on its successor, the Wii U. Even the name of the console itself wasn’t the best.

Nintendo needed to switch things up. Which is why the Switch is so perfect. It’s innovative and what the consumers want! Plus, the product itself works well, many who have already gotten the chance to hold a Switch have stated that it just feels right.

The name itself is clever and works brilliantly. It’s catchy and tells the consumer what the product is all about: switching up the gameplay. Even their advertisement as well as the Switch short animation logo are quick, simple, effective & catchy. You won’t be able to have that little animation and click sound out of your head.

The Campaign Switch!

Nintendo SwitchThe Switch’s campaign itself was fairly simple. It started out with a system reveal trailer that clearly shows what this new gaming system is all about. However, it is missing commentary and other key information such as an official game lineup and release date. The missing information may have been also used to enhance the already high hype surrounding this console.

This trailer was followed a few months later by an official one hour long Nintendo Switch Presentation which aired and was streamed worldwide live. In it, Nintendo officials showed off and explained various features and games that will be coming out the Nintendo Switch.

Many ads were also released afterwards, as well as some airing during the key time frame for American audiences: The Super bowl. Nintendo also uses a lot of social media, especially twitter to let their fans know when and how new information about the new console will be released.

The ads themselves are also well done. They aren’t too confusing, showing what the product is and its potential.

Switch up the timeline?

The most confusing aspect of Switch’s campaign, is it timeline. Why all the wait? Why was the NX (Nintendo’s Switch working title) not revealed at E3 (a summer gaming convention, known for its gaming consoles and games reveals)? Why was the Switch revealed by a short trailer with no commentary and followed with no new information for months until the presentation?

While many people argue that this is a failure of the Switch’s campaign, I see more potential in its reasoning behind it. I believe this timeline was intentional to add even more hype to the console. Since the console was surrounded by a lot of mystery and many fans, this wait made them even more excited and curious for this console. Even when rumors started surfacing that Nintendo wasn’t going to be able to make a console by March 2017 (since there was no new information regarding the console officially from Nintendo for a long time) and that the NX was already dead, everyone was getting their wallets out, excitingly waiting for any new information they could get. Carefully teasing, one by one its fans, Nintendo found a new and innovate way to hype up their new product before its launch!

The Overall Switch?

Overall the Nintendo Switch has a very effective campaign. The product itself works, its ads are simple and clear and the console is living off its hype. What about you? What do you think? Are you excited for Nintendo’s new console? Do you plan on getting it on its release, March 3 2017? Do you plan on getting it in the future? Do you think it will succeed or is it getting to much hype and will come crashing down as a disappointment?

Clara Tosi

A Marketing Campaign as Convoluted as the Plot of the Game

The Metal Gear franchise has a storied history over the past thirty years. The first release was in 1987 that redefined and created an entirely new genre of video game. The creator of this series is Hideo Kojima and he is well known for his convoluted story arcs as well as character development. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released in September of 2015 and is the most recent addition to join the modern console series since 2008 when Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was released.

Metal Gear

In December of 2012 a trailer for a game called “The Phantom Pain” was released, featuring a fake game development studio brand named Moby Dick Studios. This sparked a keen amount of interest in this game that had essentially shown off a spectacularly crafted world but no one had heard of these developers before.

Metal GearIn March of 2013 an interview was arranged between a game journalist and the CEO of Moby Dick Studios. The journalist arrived to the interview to find a man dressed in bandages over his face. His name was Joakim Mogren, and he bore a striking resemblance to one of the characters in the trailer. Joakim refused to answer any of the journalist’s questions but he did reveal that there would be a more official announcement later that month, and he showed some photos from the game indicating that it would be running on the Fox engine.

This interview had a number of journalists speculating as to what exactly happened and how strange the interaction was. Later that month the official announcement was made at the Game Developers Conference. It was unveiled by Hideo Kojima himself with a terrifying mask dressed in bandages similar to Joakim. Hideo announced MGSV: The Phantom Pain and the community surrounding the MGS series rejoiced as they eagerly began to speculate on the events leading up to and during the game’s storyline.

Metal Gear

When the release date for MGSV was announced, they also unveiled a skimpily dressed character design for Quiet which caused a fair amount of controversy. When pressed about this, Kojima mentioned that when the game was released people would regret their assumption that she was just a sex object. But in my opinion this has yet to be seen. However, the controversy more than likely helped the game’s presence in social media and increased their visibility.

Metal Gear So, the marketing team for MGSV had to rekindle the community it had once garnished with gamers to raise awareness of the upcoming release. To do this they released a playable teaser type of game that was retailed for full price in 2014 called MGSV: Ground Zeroes. In my opinion this was a very intelligent thing to do, because not only were they able to create a product that hints at a later release. But it also gauged interest and people’s willingness to purchase a full priced game that wasn’t a complete product.

Another fairly clever aspect of MGSV: Ground Zeroes is that the game is almost entirely packed with easter eggs of self-referential content as well as a huge amount of fan service that was definitely appreciated. One specific mission in the game has you pointing a special sort of flashlight at logos of Kojima Productions as well as the various titles of games that have been made in the Metal Gear franchise.

When you point your flashlight at these titles or logos a voice will say something along the lines of “this one’s not very special” or “nice job, that’s another one” depending on whether Hideo Kojima himself worked on the game. If you find all of the relevant titles Hideo Kojima himself will speak and assume that you’ve got extensive knowledge of the series. Then he will thank the player for their knowledge of the series and their support throughout the years.

Metal GearThe amount of time that this campaign took to painstakingly create some semblance of news throughout a course of 3 years is astonishing. The constant trickle of tidbits kept the fans of the series speculating and the critically acclaimed reviews of the game helped with the recommendations through word of mouth. The game itself cost $80 million to create and on the initial release date $179 million were made and a total of 6 million units had been sold in the following months. All in all, I would say that the campaign was outlandish, counterintuitive and at times completely absurd but that’s just what fans come to expect from Hideo Kojima.

Brigham Swanson

Amazon’s Video Game Power Grab with Twitch Prime

In 2014, Amazon bought the massive streaming service known as Twitch. Three years later Twitch now has a paid membership known as Twitch Prime that is free if one is already an Amazon Prime member. Meanwhile, Twitch has reached out to a multitude of video game companies in an attempt to gather a larger audience.

Twitch and video games are already tied together. Twitch is primarily used to stream video games of all varieties, but YouTube also has a massive presence in the video game community. Google owns YouTube and Amazon is competing with Google. That is the strategy behind why Amazon bought Twitch. One of Google’s largest properties is YouTube, and Twitch is something that can compete with and maybe someday rival YouTube. Amazon wants to take on Google, so they started by competing with one of its largest money makers.

But will this strategy work?

With Twitch Prime, this strategy may stand a chance. Twitch has been expanding in recent years, but YouTube is still a colossus. It is reasonable to think that YouTube can’t be competed with, but if that was true then why did Google try to buy Twitch?

Twitch

Twitch has a great foothold in the videogame market that is actively growing thanks to Twitch Prime. This new service that is directly related to Amazon Prime allows members free  “game loot” by making partnerships with various video game companies. This cross promotion is important and done with multiple gaming companies. I will be using Hi-Rez as an example.

TwitchHi-Rez is the gaming studio responsible for the hit MOBA Smite. While only a few years old, Smite has over 25 million players and is growing. In the month of January, Twitch Prime focused on promoting Smite. Exclusive skins, chest rolls, and access to an event were given to Twitch Prime members. These things would either have to be bought or were not attainable otherwise.

Twitch Prime also went as far as to host Smite’s World Championship in association with Coca-Cola. This is a huge step that promotes Twitch Prime, Hi-Rez, and Amazon all at once. Amazon Prime members get Twitch Prime for free, so if a subscriber has an interest in video games obtaining Twitch Prime is easy and painless. Once that subscriber has Twitch Prime, they would be immediately made aware of Smite and its world championship that they could watch for free. After watching, they may be interested in the game which is free too.

This chain of events is beneficial to all three companies without forcing the individual to jump through a multitude of hoops. It is a creative, yet simple way Amazon is using Twitch to compete with YouTube and by extension, compete with Google.

So far, the strategy is effective. It worked on me, as I am an avid Smite player and had not heard about Twitch Prime until Hi-Rez began to advertise it. I already have an Amazon Prime membership, so it was easy for me to get Twitch Prime.

It is working now; however, that does not mean it will continue to work. The biggest roadblock that Amazon has is that it is trying to compete with Google. While Google is already a difficult company to compete with, YouTube is its own headache. While Twitch is growing, it has a long way to go before it can overpower YouTube.

That begs the question, is it possible to overpower YouTube? Can Amazon compete with Google like this? Will Twitch only rest in its large, but specific video game market? YouTube meanwhile has a multitude of video markets with video games being only one.

Only time will tell if Amazon’s strategy will continue to work. Companies like Hi-Rez will continue to benefit in the meantime. The trifecta of marketing is running smoothly, but will it ever gain enough momentum to overpower its rivals?

Sam King

Double Jump: Xbox and Backwards Compatible Gaming Consoles

Backwards compatibility is a huge thing in the gaming industry. Microsoft knows this, and that is why they start working on it after they get all of the bugs out of the software. They are now talking about doing something that has never been done before, and that is making Original Xbox games compatible with the Xbox One. That is jumping backwards two systems, what I like to call “Double Jump.”

Xbox engineering boss Mike Ybarra says, “We’re not looking at original Xbox games on Xbox One yet. Right now the focus is making more Xbox 360 games work. It would be certainly very challenging. Getting Xbox 360 games to work was incredibly challenging and really a multi-year engineering investment. Going all the way back to the original certainly would challenge the team.”

xboxMicrosoft would be the perfect company to try this. All of the Xbox consoles are basically PC’s with basic software. All of the engineers know this software by heart; this is what they are known for. They have already made the Original Xbox games backwards compatible to the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One, which they are currently working on now. So they know the software in all three and what they had to do for the “Single jump,” now they just need to combine it somehow and figure it out.

If Microsoft did this, they would have another thing over Sony in their PlayStation vs. Xbox rivalry. PlayStation devices have such a complicated software that it is nearly impossible to make any of their games compatible with previous systems. The only thing PlayStation has done is created a gaming streaming service called PlayStation Now. The only issue with this is that the service is an extra $19.99 per month or $44.99 for a three-month package. This service only includes PS3 games as of right now, but this is the best thing they can do because of their software.

When Xbox made the Xbox 360 backwards compatible, it went very well and now that they are doing the Xbox One, the sales for the older games have gone up tremendously. When Microsoft announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 was being added to the list of backwards compatible games, the sales for the game on Amazon went up 13,600%. This made it to second in the list of Amazon’s hourly charts right under Doom which was just recently released. Backwards compatibility brings the old games back to the market instead of just sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

Some people might ask, “Why not just remaster the game?” Well for one making a game in the first place is very expensive. In 1999, Crash Team Racing cost the production company $2.4 Million for development; now games cost way more. Destiny in 2012 cost $140 Million, so honestly with today’s technology and expectations from fans, it would not be worth it when they can just copy the software from the old system.

Another reason is that it takes a lot of time and manpower that could be being used for new games. Grand Theft Auto IV took four years to produce. They started in November of 2004, and the game was finally released in 2008, plus that is with about 150 people on the development team.

xboxAll in all, if Microsoft ever does this, people will go crazy. As I mentioned before, this would be the first time that this has ever been done. Microsoft can do it, they know all of the software and have the brains to do it. The old games would come out of hibernation and start making a little money again.

Brett Olson

Gaming Your Emotions: Life is Strange and the Graphic Adventure Genre

I have always been far more intrigued by emotional appeal and the effects of good storytelling than by explosions, violence, or action. Perhaps that is why I was never a big gamer growing up. Now, before you eviscerate me in the comments, I am FULLY aware that games are much more than the three things I listed above, but what I am saying is this: in entertainment, I was looking for emotional appeal, and I got that mostly from movies.

All of that changed this past August, however, when I played a game called Life is Strange.

Life is Strange is an episodic Graphic Adventure game by a small production company called Dontnod Entertainment. The game revolves around a high school senior named Maxine (Max) Caulfield, who suddenly discovers she has the ability to ‘rewind’ time and alter the events of the past. The vast majority of the game is spent making decisions for Max which will ultimately affect events that occur later in the game (a staple of the Graphic Adventure genre).

I won’t go into the details of the story from there (you should play it for yourself!), but suffice it to say, I was hooked. I played the entire 14-hour story, all five episodes, in about three days. I never game that way. I was a recluse, sealed away in my dark basement with cans of 7Up piled around me, wearing PJs and headphones and only leaving to eat and (occasionally) socialize. But my time as a hermit got me thinking: why did this particular game affect me so much? And did it have the same effect on others?

I had to investigate.

life-is-strange

After finishing the game and wiping literal tears from my eyes (seriously, it’s great, play it), I took to Google to see if other people shared my experience. The results, it turned out, were astonishing. Of course, not everyone shared my experience, but it seemed like quite a few people, more than one might think, were deeply and truly affected by this game.

But, as amazing as Life is Strange is, why is it not the explosive hit that so many lesser other titles are? Shouldn’t everyone want to play this incredible, life-altering game?

The issue lies in the type of game that Life is Strange is. Graphic Adventure games lack much of what the general public wants from video games: they are lengthy, they lack action, they are dialogue and cut-scene driven, and they tend to tug at the heart strings more than the adrenal glands. They are, in many ways, video games’ answer to weird, arthouse cinema (which, incidentally, happens to be my favorite kind of cinema…). But is that a model that can still be profitable?

For the developers, yes. For the gaming industry as a whole? Of course not.

According to an article published on mcv.com, Life is Strange sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. This is a fantastic achievement for a little-known indie game from an even lesser known developer. But that achievement can seem minimal when compared to the successes of genre-giant Telltale Games, whose Graphic Adventure adaptations of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us have enjoyed massive critical acclaim and financial gains.

the walking dead promo art

But there is always another perspective. Yes, Telltale achieved a huge victory with The Walking Dead, their most successful game, selling around 8.5 million copies and bringing in more than $40 million. However, the newest Call of Duty game sold 21 million copies and brought in $840 million. So while The Walking Dead was a huge victory for Telltale, it barely ranked in the greater gaming industry. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however. As long as these games keep making money for their developers, we will keep seeing them.

What it does mean, though, is that these games aren’t going to be the huge hits we want them to be quite yet. Graphic Adventures are amazing, and people should play them, but they haven’t quite reached ‘water-cooler conversation’ status. We have a tendency to believe that, when something is really good, people should just naturally flock to that thing (we can call that the Netflix phenomena). But that’s not how pop-culture works. You need staying power, you need big money behind you, and you need a solid reputation. Telltales’ reputation is solid, yes, but it’s being shaken more and more as Telltale wades into the mainstream.

Like I said, none of this even remotely spells doom for Telltale or any other Graphic Adventure developer, but perhaps we should reign in our expectations just a tad.

So enjoy your trips to Arcadia Bay, fight your way through the hordes of Walkers, and brace yourself (winter is coming). After all, maybe we shouldn’t be so anxious for these games to explode into popularity. Graphic Adventure games are, after all, about you. Your experience, your adventures, and your emotions.

What you decide to do with that experience after the game is over, is entirely up to you.

Carrsan T. Morrissey