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Hype and blowback

in glhf

‘Marketing’ used to be a surefire rocketship to success. Just get something out in front of people and they’ll have no choice but to slobber over it, buy it. Whether or not said thing was good…didn’t factor into the equation all that much.

Esports types take this concept up to sound more business-like, to play like they actually know what’s going on. If only we could market esports properly to the mainstream, that’s when it’ll truly explode; we just need to find that right angle, that perfect pitch, right?

At some point early in the evolution of video games as a platform for competition, the whole thing went very commercial. Top priority was getting paid, not playing games. It’s been a postulate for years now that you shouldn’t even bother organizing a LAN event if there’s no prizes. Kids won’t show up.

Wait, what?

Like Charlie Brown, even my dog’s gone commercial.

Is the first question on your mind, getting into gaming, is ‘how do I get paid?’ You’re part of the disease, not the cure.

Hype is a derivative, it’s just marketing on crack, the dark side of the publicity force, even more useless these days than simple advertising.

Most things said about the disruptive power of the internet is hyperbole, but when it comes to this concept in particular, it really did turn the world upside down. Nobody’s listening to your carefully crafted sales pitch, they’re only listening to their friends, or sources they trust. You wonder why Google gets their hands into all these other sorts of businesses, when they’re primarily an advertising company? Eventually companies are going to realize that not even the largest AdWords campaign is going to make a dent.

The only marketing that matters today is the organic type that happens within social circles, on the internet or otherwise.

It’s a threat to the status quo, and we see brands and corporations and people that still think marketing is king trying to inject themselves into the real social circles of normal people. It’s like that one douche at a party who nobody really knows and is incapable of conversing about anything if it’s not about what they’re doing this year. You can no longer hype the shit out of something inferior and get away with it.

Last night, Sennheiser HD 595s weren’t even on my radar. This morning, I must get my hands on a pair. It wasn’t a banner ad or a preroll ad on a stream or a tweet from the official Sennheiser account, it was an independent endorsement from someone I specifically trust.

There’s no longer any need for endless hype, or extensive marketing. This should be liberating for producers of things! All you have to do is focus on your craft, all the energy you’d devote to promotions can and should now simply go into what it is you’d be promoting. The result should be a better product, and good things sell themselves. Let your fans do your promotion for you, and just put out something good.

But that leaves the hard part of actually producing something good.

This is the crux of the NA Star League blowback. You can’t be a self-described revolution and then ask people to cut you some slack. You can’t say that nothing will ever be the same again, imply that you’re simply going to overrun the competition the instant you hit the ground, imply that you’ve got it all figured out and then some, and then expect everyone to go ‘there there, its ok, we still love you’ when that’s clearly not the case. You can’t expect unconditional community support while you figure shit out, and ask for twenty bucks a head at the same time.

It just doesn’t work that way.