Companies have long sought ways to connect with fans. Trying to captivate people’s attention and get fans hyped up about games. After all, this isn’t like the old days. People aren’t subscribing to all sorts of magazines, so there are no full page ads to obsess over. You honestly don’t see game commercials on TVs as often as they used to appear, so that isn’t an option either. Instead, companies are relying on social media and the ability to go viral to reach audiences. Is it working for them? Definitely.
In 2018, we have seen companies capture folks’ attention and hold it in the palm of their hands. Developers and publishers seem to have figured out how to tease and tantalize folks. This results in all sorts of engagement, retweets, moments where things are trending, and of course news stories calling attention to every little thing these companies managed to hype up.
CD Projekt Red is one company we have to salute for their efforts. They have been working on Cyberpunk 2077 for years, having announced it back in 2012. How did it make news? By making a single tweet. On January 10, 2018, it tweeted the word “beep” on the account. The message went viral. Sites wrote about it. Over 44,000 people liked it. 16,000 people retweeted it. Over 3,000 people responded to it. To a single word, keep in mind.
Granted, it was rather important. It has been five years since anything was posted on this official Twitter. CD Projekt Red has been secretive about Cyberpunk 2077. It is a situation where any news is good news. And, since it is so easy to go ahead and share news on Twitter, people immediately took action to show their enthusiasm. It ended up becoming a big deal, which is rather amazing.
Nintendo is the other company kicking it into gear when it comes to using social media to get fans hyped up. Or troll them, I suppose. Whichever you prefer. Throughout January, there were rumors the company would hold a Direct. That’s their presentation they use to reveal upcoming games. Instead of confirming or denying, Nintendo took to Twitter to tease. First, it retweeted a picture of Talkatoo, the Super Mario Odyssey parrot who gives hints, and said, “What is the secret you're seeking? I know it, I know it, ha HA! I can't tell you! ♪ It's hiding somewhere and no peeking! ♪ Go find it, go find it, scra-CAW!” Then, it shared a burning image of Chibi-Robo praising the sun. While the Talkatoo image only had about 15,000 likes, 3,100 retweets, and 1,300 replies, the Chibi-Robo image received over 49,000 likes, 16,000 retweets, and 5,300 replies. That’s huge.
It is another case of a company masterfully manipulating its audience and using things to their favor. The fans were happy, because they received positive interactions with a company that were, frankly, hilarious. (Of course, now that Dark Souls Remastered has been revealed, we can see Chibi-Robo was praising the sun.) Nintendo has to be happy, because it received so much attention and its stealth-dropped Nintendo Direct Mini received so much attention. Everyone won.
Social media is showing what an amazing tool it can be to generate hype. Both Cyberpunk 2077 and the January 2018 Nintendo Direct received so much more attention than they probably would have through ordinary announcements. The way CD Projekt Red and Nintendo handled things endeared them to fans, added a bit of mystery and excitement to otherwise typical announcements and hints, and frankly made fans’ days a bit brighter.