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The Year’s Biggest Gaming PR Gaffes

Posted 4 Jan 2013 by

I enjoyed this article just posted on IncGamers, about the year’s biggest PR snafus in the gaming industry. As you can imagine, a certain Diablo 3 game director makes an appearance. That was certainly a juicy week or two of drama, but since I was a part of that as it happened, I found the other stories in the article more interesting.

There are Hitman Absolution fan insults, a Borderlands 2 “girlfriend” mode, and the debacle of a non-launch that was War Z. Quote:

Then, on 17 December [War Z] appeared on Steam. It was accompanied by a features list that bore little resemblance to reality, and included several items (such as private servers) that were not even implemented in the game. Nowhere on the title’s sales page did Hammerpoint give even the slightest hint that The War Z was still very much in beta.

On 18 December the features list was altered to somewhat (though not entirely) fall in line with reality, but on 19 December Steam pulled the game from sale and offered full refunds to any dissatisfied players.

In between those two dates, Sergey Titov put out a disgraceful non-apology (on a thread that no longer exists on the War Z forums) in which he said he was sorry if anybody had “misread” the Steam features list full of outright falsehoods and that the list was open to “multiple interpretations.” It wasn’t. It was open to one interpretation, which was “many of these features are not present in the game that is being sold to me.”

I don’t know that the Video Game industry is the hardest/worst PR field in the world, but it’s got to be up there. Hugely competitive, very fast-paced, lots of overlap in products and audience, high fan expectations and demands, and haters galore. Given all that it might be a surprise that we don’t see more such blowups.


Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard, Community Relations, Jay Wilson, Other Games