Is hype a bad thing? Absolutely not.
The hype that goes with any large game convention is as inevitable as delayed releases and day one patches. As gamers, we love to hear big news and fresh announcements so we can start getting excited about our favorite franchises. When a new game is announced by itself during the year, it creates a huge buzz - becoming major news on websites and forums alike. Possible teasers, gameplay, demos, and even betas become the spectacle and attention focus of our whole community.
So it's hardly surprisingly that conventions such as PAX and E3 generate an enormous amount of hype. All those individual announcements are smashed together into one enormous event. And the excitement is multiplied expontentially. In other words, the hype makes sense when you think about it. But it kind of gets a bad rap. And frankly, that isn't fair.
It's actually quite nice inside
It's often said that major events such as E3 bring nothing but overhyped anticipation and empty promises. And when the actual event rolls around, we get trailers with no game, games with no release date, release dates with no truth, and (worst of all) gameplay that outright lies to consumers. The retail games never look as good as they looked at the reveal, do they?
Well, of course they don’t. That’s the nature of advertising.
Your HD TV also never looks as clear at home as it did in the shop, and IKEA furniture always looks like an expert put it together for the shop display. Nothing is ever as good as the idea of it - that is psychology 101. When I was a kid, I used to dream about getting a next-gen console (won’t tell you which and betray my age) and I loved the fantasy. When I finally got it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But the daydreams were better. This is nothing new.
To say that these conventions hype games up is completely true, but it is also completely irrelevant. In fact, it's a good thing for our industry. Building up your own excitement and anticipation for games is part of the joy of being a gamer. It is true that the thoughts are often better than the reality, but the hoping and dreaming between announcement and release are part of the joy that a game gives to you. Your relationship with a game and what you get out of it does not begin when you put it into you console, or download it to your virtual library. It begins when you first hear of its existence.
The answer is always us. The gamers win E3 every time.
Hype can be a wonderful thing if you treat it the right way.
It creates news and gossip, exciting conversation and debate. There is great fun to be had in watching the trailers, reading the interviews, and following the game's development. It is a journey of enjoyment. Playing the actual game isn't necessarily the be all and end all of the experience. And it doesn't have to be. Learn to enjoy the ride.
Yes, hype can build things up too much and cause disappointment. Yes, it can facilitate some bold-faced lies about games. However, it also creates a hugely enjoyable atmosphere that can be enjoyed through to a game's release. And as long as you manage expectations appropriately, the disappointment won't be so bad. Being excited about the future is one of the best things about life. Don’t hate the hype.