Friday, December 7, 2012

This World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria commercial is everything wrong with gaming today.

This 30-second commercial for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria has been blasting me in the face everywhere I look, from TV to website banner ads to pre-video ads on YouTube. And it's everything wrong with game marketing today.

Why does a trailer for one of the biggest games in the industry neglect to feature any actual gameplay footage? The intricate cinematic isn't even using World of Warcraft's in-game engine. I understand it's hard to convey a great video game through a non-interactive medium like television, but surely we can find a way that includes any of the game at all?

And it's not limited to WoW. Beginning perhaps with Halo 3 in 2007, live-action and cinematic TV commercials for big-name game releases have become the way to go.

I'm not saying these commercials are bad, per se. But it's embarrassing that we as an industry are so ashamed of the quality of our gameplay that all our marquee titles go out of their way not to show what the actual game looks like. And what's worse, gamers embrace these "cinematic" trailers. This one for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 starring Everyman Gamer Jonah Hill and zero gameplay footage is considered by its top YouTube commenter to be "probably one of the best trailers ever made for a shooter game."

Maybe it's because developers realize that what the games actually look like is a huge turn-off to casual audiences. Back to World of Warcraft, would you want a sizzle trailer on national TV featuring this?

From the first page of Google image search results for "mists of pandaria gameplay"

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