As long as advertising has been a thing, developers and publishers have been coming up with various schemes and strategies to promote their games. Some send their games up into space, challenging players to locate them once they hit the Earth. Others send angry men into bars, posing as Sam Fisher to threaten patrons before having the police called on them. Let’s take a look at 10 other disastrous video game publicity stunts that companies tried.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Augment Your Pre-Order
Based on anonymous reports, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided faced a number of issues in development including a possible sequel that may never see the light of day. However, Square Enix decided to start early with ruining consumer interest by introducing the “Augment Your Pre-Order” campaign. Basically, depending on the number of players who pre-ordered the game, a subsequent tier of bonuses would unlock. So one unlocked tier gave new costumes, another provided an extra in-game mission, four days early access, you get the idea. This didn’t go down well for a number of reasons. Even if you did pre-order of your own volition, you were at the mercy of other players pre-ordering to get all the benefits. Square Enix was probably banking on players to “encourage” others to pre-order through word of mouth, making this a low-key pyramid scheme. The publisher later explained that it was an alternative to different rewards for different regions but why didn’t it just give all the rewards to anyone who pre-ordered? Fortunately, it scrapped the campaign and did just that.