Mass Effect 2: When Marketing Is Too Much

A sequel to one of my favorite games of the last decade is out today.  A few months ago, I’d have expected myself to be right over to Target or Best Buy right after work with debit card in hand ready to buy it.  But that’s not happening today, and probably won’t be happening anytime soon.  It’s not because I don’t expect the game to be good, it looks fantastic.  It’s just that the darn thing has just been absolutely over-saturated in advertising.  The marketing is so much and so intrusive, I’m no longer interested.

Getting the public awareness up about your product is one thing, I have no issue whatsoever with banner ads, thirty second TV spots, and other types of unintrusive and expected advertisement.  But when the product is constantly being shoved in my face, I honestly tire of it and already feel sick of it before I even purchase it.  But there’s another issue that’s involved with this type of over-saturation that I really don’t care for.  Sometimes the advertisement is so much, I question the integrity of the places that they’re advertised.  For example, below are two screenshots taken today from Gamespot and IGN, two of the most visited sites on the web when it comes to video game reviews.

They’ve both been plastered with the main characters of the game, but each of these sites are also featuring the review of the game as their top slide.  How unbiased can these reviews really be when they’re getting paid buckets of cash from EA and Bioware in order to promote the same game they are reviewing?  If you follow video games much, you might remember a big fuss a few years ago when Jeff Gerstmann, a writer for Gamespot, gave a game a poor review.  The game was coincidentally being promoted in the same way as you see above.  People with more expensive suits than he disliked this discrepancy and he found himself out of a job.  So this type of sleaziness is not unprecedented.

If it’s not a tacky Mass Effect 2 online ad that’s annoying me, it’s a TV ad every other minute on a channel that might possibly skew to EA’s demographic.  Or it’s a “sponsored segment” on The Totally Rad Show, my favorite online entertainment show.  But the point I want to make directly to EA and other purveyors of similar products is this.  The abundance of advertisement of this game has made me sick of a game that I’ve not even played yet.  I feel like I’ve already spent too much time in the world of Mass Effect, and I don’t really know if I can trust reviews of the game at this point.  I’ll eventually get the game, but I’ll buy it used from Amazon far after all the media hype is over with.


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