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Posted on Jul 9th 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Hype cycle, Nintendo Switch, E3


The initial response to Nintendo's new Switch model has been underwhelming, at least from what I've seen online. For well over a year, persistent rumors about the next iteration of a Nintendo Switch have swirled online. A lot of industry pundits have posited what the updated specs would be, what new features would be in store, and how much it would change from the system's initial outing. Whether it's been dubbed the "Switch Pro" or "Switch 2" in various media outlets, it seems most industry figures were convinced that the Switch was going to get a mid-cycle refresh with updated hardware that would include additional enhancements. Now that the announcement has been officially made, the hype cycle has screeched to an abrupt halt, and the resulting whiplash has some people very disappointed that there wasn't more to it than what the reveal video showed.



This is a pattern that has developed in the industry over the past decade or so, with the proliferation of the internet, and growing list of outlets covering gaming and entertainment industry happenings. A rumor begins to circulate, and speculation runs rampant. Details are "leaked" somehow, and as some degree of corroboration comes about, these details go from merely circulating on Twitter and the YouTube/blog-sphere to reputable outlets who make their living reporting on such things. Over time, more information comes to light, and it seems more and more likely that the rumors are true. Eventually, the company making the product or service that is part of the hype cycle will formally announce the thing and provide some details to compare with what has been speculated upon for weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes, the final product meets expectations. But more often than not, it will fail to live up to the mental image most people have conjured.


R-Type Final 2 is a recent casualty of the hype cycle. No matter how good
it is, it could never have lived up to expectations from the hardcore fan base.

I will admit, when I first watched the video for the new "Nintendo Switch OLED Model" reveal, I was a bit disappointed. It's easy to buy into the hype when large outlets that cover gaming and technology are citing multiple sources for why they believed the new model was going to have some kind of 4K upscaling and a new, faster processor. But as with any media source today, one has to take everything with a grain of salt (or a whole bucket, in some instances) and realize that media outlets aren't here to give you the facts: they're here to sell you advertising. That doesn't mean some of the writers and researchers aren't credible, nor does it mean they're purposely trying to deceive us all. But when the parent company/website/outlet is at the helm, ultimately they're looking for more eyeballs on their article, news post, video, etc. The more people who see their content, the more we see the advertisements that help pay their salaries. Is that a cynical take? Perhaps. But that doesn't mean it isn't accurate.

It's much the same with gaming industry events like E3, where people make predictions about what we're going to see. Will there be a more extensive trailer for the marquee game that was teased last year? Will we finally hear more about the new console? Will that studio that Company X bought finally get off the bench and bring us something new? It seems like the same thing year in, and year out. Will we ever reach a point where there's not perpetual disappointment with new gaming-related announcements?


Maybe making a Bingo card for every event is the order of the day...

One way people have found to inject a little fun into it is by making Bingo cards with their predictions, to see if they get enough stuff predicted correctly to achieve a "Bingo" of sorts. That's a fun way to try and alleviate potential disappointment, but not everything is complex enough to warrant that. In situations where there are fewer variables, what's the remedy? It's all well and good to tell people to just not get their hopes up with so-called leaks and insider information, and plenty easy enough for me to say. But when we're constantly bombarded by this information on all fronts, it becomes hard to filter it out or ignore it.

Rather, I say we embrace the pain. By that, I mean we should understand that leaks, "insider" info, patent filings, trademark filings/renewals, and other such things are bread crumbs that might lead us in the right direction, or they could also lead us very much in the wrong direction. We need to understand that all of these things could just as easily lead to something different than what our expectations might be. We need to learn to keep those expectations in check. We need to be cognizant of the fact that these are first-world problems and be happy when we get announcements for things at all. Is it okay to be disappointed when something doesn't turn out the way you want it to? Of course it is. That's a normal, natural feeling. But we don't have to let it drag us down. Once you have some perspective on all of this, it's a lot easier to stop worrying and love the hype cycle. That's what I'm trying to do, and I hope you'll join me in doing so. It will certainly make future gaming announcements less of a disappointment and help us all focus on the things that truly matter in life, rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae.


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Comments
 
As someone who watched Nintendo's E3 solely to see if the rumors about a 2D Metroid announcement were true, the hype bug has bitten me, and I'm sure whatever the game is, there will be some thoughts of, "I wish it had this", especially considering it's the last of the "Metroids" saga.

But if I hadn't watched it, I also wouldn't have had the surprise out of nowhere in seeing Advance Wars remastered. You're going to be let down now and again, but that shouldn't keep someone from getting excited about a game or series they love. I think you hit it right, just make sure you internally understand that not everything will meet your expectations and enjoy the ride.
 
@EZ Racer: As the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi would indicate, "All life have a balance." I think some people need to chill out, and understand that they're not always going to get the things they want out of an E3, a game reveal, a new console, etc. Somewhere along the way, people forget that gaming is about FUN above all else.
 
I think it's very hard to NOT be cynical about the hype cycle and the inevitable circus in its wake.  But if you are a gamer of ANY kind you likely get excited about something.  I had thought myself immune to this until some fun titles were announced first on Switch (DQ3, Metroid, and Advance Wars) then on Steam (FF 1-6 Pixel Remaster).  And just a few days ago my eyebrows were raised with the Steam Deck reveal.  I'm really hoping for that to make it big to upset the PC applecart (and kick that disgustingly named "PC Master Race" square in the ass).

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