Don’t Make Overkill’s Mistake: Consumer Fatigue

Okay, so in the promos as rewards one, I said that it may be a good idea to release additional content right after a big event, in order to over-deliver.

Release. Not hold an entire other event.

Don’t make Overkill’s mistake.

Nearly everyone I’m speaking to lately is exhausted with Payday. Burnt out. Taking a break. They just can’t take any more hyping.

The problem is not necessarily that they’re releasing more content again, or even that it’s paid. It’s that they have to make a 3-day “hype” event of it when they just got off the Hypetrain and spent a week in Hype-ami, FL for Spring Break. Everyone is tired from screaming along with MTV veejays who want to know if they’re ready to party and throwing up their Miller Hype.

They’re ready to return to class to study all this new content.

But Overkill is that one guy who’s still in Cancun the Monday after everyone else has flown home, trying to keep the party going.

And this just after an announcement that they’ll be supporting this game for another two years. Honestly, I’m a little concerned for the developers if they have to maintain a production schedule like this.

But practical concerns aside, the reason why you really don’t want to be holding content release events at all times is because it’s simply not possible for a community to be in a perpetually suspended state of hype. It’s psychologically draining for them, and it looks like panic mode for you.

My friend Logan likes to think that Overkill’s been so gung-ho lately because Grand Theft Auto V Online just released their long-awaited heisting jobs and Battlefield: Hardline just came out. Overkill is trying to keep people’s attention on them instead of their competition.

And that may very well be true, but it’s a shit way to look at it.

For one, if you are actually innovating and doing unique shit instead of copying others, then you’re not in competition with anyone.

Moreover, though, videogames are not some zero-sum game where a consumer will choose one and only one title and they will only play that one game at a time and only buy addon content for that game. I think everyone who has a Steam account knows this shit ain’t true. And PSN and XBLA have the console market covered too. At any moment, you’re not only “competing” with the newest, biggest releases at the time, but also everything that comes up on sale and everything that already exists in a particular user’s library. You know, that they may choose to play instead of your game because they’re fucking burnt out on your shit.

It’s just not worth worrying about, especially if you are doing as you should, and bringing something unique to the table (which granted, Overkill is).

And more than anything, it looks desperate. You know who doesn’t do this shit? Rockstar Games. Valve Software. They are not desperate. They are both secure in their place in the world and it’s not just because they’re huge developers.

Valve updates their IP’s maybe two or three times a year. It’s always a big deal, not because they hype it to hell and back, but because they do it so infrequently. Having update events constantly actually diminishes the amount of excitement your players will feel about it. Think of it like every TV show episode where they decide to have a particular holiday every day. They always get sick of Christmas after a month of caroling and opening presents every night. That’s what having a hype event every week, all week is.

Rockstar updates more frequently, but it’s clear they’re not worried about what their “competition” is doing (which they actually do have since GTA is such an oft-copied format) because they know you’ll be back. They’re the one and only at what they do, all else is just imitation. They don’t mind if you play other games for a while. You will forsake those games the moment Rockstar calls. Valve? Same thing. More so even since they actually benefit when you buy other games on Steam. They’re not jealous of Battlefield. They know you’ll be back to TF2 when they tell you they’ve updated.

Overkill could have done that with their Speedrunners promo, actually. Take a break from us, check out these guys for a while. Go play other games while we work on improvements and cool shit. We’ll let you know when the cookies are done.

A-fkn-las.

If you want to be a big boy, act like one. If you are making an innovative, quality product, then rest assured that you don’t need to be in front of people’s faces at all times to maintain their interest in it.

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