The Column of All Cosmos
What Are You Buying, Stranger?: Evaluating The Video Game Hype Stock Market
Hype Rules Everything Around Me, HREAM get the money, dolla dolla bills y’all.
TIME TO BUY SOME HYPE
TIME TO SELL SOME HYPE
TIME TO BE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT PARTICULAR COMPANIES, FOR A MULTITUDE OF NIT-PICKY ISSUES
TIME FOR RAMPANT SPECULATION AND WILD INACCURACIES ABOUT THE GAMING INDUSTRY
LET’S GET GOING ON HYPING THINGS UP, WHICH IS LIKE MAYBE HONESTLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS WE HAVE GOING, BUT HEY WE NEED TO KEEP THE PR CYCLE AND MARKETING CAMPAIGNS GOING RIGHT, E3 IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER AND NO, EVERYTHING IS FINE, PLEASE PRE-ORDER OUR GAME AND PLEASE BE EXCITED, AND YES WE ARE AWARE OF THE JOY-CON CONTROLLERS SYNC ISSUES BUT THERE IS NOTHING TO COMMENT ON AT THIS TIME SO WHATEVER LET’S GET STARTED.
STUPID EASY MONEY — Rockstar
This is the most brain dead analysis around: Rockstar is a silent juggernaut that doesn’t have to lift a finger, and yet everybody pays attention to literally anything they do or say. And that’s for good reason; they make some of the best games in the world and release them at such a methodical pace, you never get burnt out on them (unlike something like Just Dance).
Red Dead Redemption 2, no matter how much you and I disagree about that lazy naming convention, is going to be a blockbuster and a strong GOTY contender, and nobody would bat an eye at that sentence. It’s just going to happen, they’re going to drop the details at just the right moment, and then boom years later it’s constantly in the top five best sellers every month and we all nod our heads in collective agreement. More power to them, they’re the easiest money to bet on around. Buying Rockstar hype in fictional stock form is like buying air, it just keeps rising and is impenetrable and impervious to any deflation. Buy this with reckless abandon, guilt free.
BUY — CD Projekt RED
I bet you all forgot about them, didn’t you? Every pays attention to North American based studios, and Japanese studios, but nobody keeps their eye on the ball when it comes to Europe. Specifically, Poland, where the pound for pound best developers in the world work. CD Projekt RED is exactly the punk rock, kick ass company this industry needs. They make incredibly smart decisions, put quality above all else, and are moral vanguards when it comes to DRM, DLC, and customer feedback.
Coming off their magnum opus, The Witcher 3, which deserves every award it got and then some, are already in the middle of producing the next big free-to-play smash in Gwent. It’s so good, it’ll disrupt other CCG titles vying to take down a wounded Hearthstone (Elder Scrolls, Hex, Duelyst, Shadowverse, etc.) and you can read all about it here!
I’m now a Gwent gent, so get bent while I vent about the dent Gwent has put in my…..tent? Scent? Clark Kent? Okay, I’m…freshlypoppedculture.com
And on top of that, there’s the mysterious Cyberpunk 2077, which not only sounds incredible so far, but is now backed by the Polish government, has multiplayer, and is coming either this year or next year, which means you can smell a tasty E3 behind closed door impression blow-out that will win awards and explode minds. Buy the hype now before the stock gets over-saturated. You heard it here first, don’t sleep on the kings of the gaming world.
SMART OPPORTUNITY — Playtonic
I’m no stranger to talking about Yooka Laylee, the spiritual sequel to Banjo Kazooie, and if you want a whole rundown on why I love Rare and will easily fall in love with Playtonic, you can check this out:
I bow down to the ancient gods of Banjo and Kazooie, and the new gods of Yooka and Laylee.freshlypoppedculture.com
So just because I’m incredibly excited about a $40 platforming game doesn’t necessarily mean you should, right? Well, consider the out of nowhere success of Shovel Knight, an indie that didn’t land on people’s radars until it showed up on every GOTY list. The retro nostalgia craze has finally culminated into a period where devs can make actual classics instead of treading old ground to emulate classics, and I truly believe that this game is going to be special, and start a whole new wave of imitators and knock-offs. A Hat in Time is in a similar boat, and the 3D platforming genre is about to pop off in a way it hasn’t since maybe 1998.
Get in before the madness begins, because Shovel Knight is IN this game. HE’S IN IT. That has to mean more cross-ups down the line with Yacht Club…
SAMPLE — Bethesda
The choice for a sampling depends on what kind of games you like to play, pure and simple. Bethesda is ramping up to their E3 showcase with some games we already know about (Prey, Quake Champions, Wolfenstein New Colossus, Elder Scrolls Legends) and some we don’t (Evil Within 2, anything else they’re working on). There isn’t a bad bet in here, but without more details, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re buying into. Maybe there’s a new Fallout or Doom surprise thing, or one of these games sucks totally, who knows. Since Bethesda only sends out their games a day before launch, we won’t know. Unless you’re an ‘influencer’, then maybe you’ll know ahead of time. But this is a safe buy, and you can dabble in much worse companies and line-ups. You could do much, much worse. Trust me.
CONSIDER — Activision
This is a tricky one to assess, not only because it feels like Blizzard is a totally separate entity (if you love Starcraft remakes and Hearthstone expansions, sign right up) but because this is going to be a funky year for the biggest publisher in the world. They went all in on Bungie, and the result was a few years of Destiny. It wasn’t a flop, by any stretch, but you’re either in or out on that game completely. The sequel being leaked early was sloppy, and I don’t know what to make of any of it, honestly. I felt burnt by that game, Bungie is clearly not the studio they once were, and we know whether or not you’re excited.
The same would go for Call of Duty, except the mix-up this year is World War II? I mean, yeah sure, why not. Again, you already know if you’re in or out but this is an interesting experiment, on the back of Battlefield 1. Quite frankly, it’s going to be hard to top World at War, I love that game, but more power to you.
The stock is always fine for buying, I’m not enthused, but there’s always a Skylanders to bank on. And Tony Hawk…oh nevermind. RIP that series. And Guitar Hero…nope, not that either. Huh, weird how they run franchises into the ground. That can’t be good for business long term, right?
RISKY — Microsoft
There is a real risky upside to buying into Microsoft hype stock. On paper, they have few exclusives left, and any we don’t know about are likely guessable (they start with the letters F, G, and H). The Scorpio is a giant question mark, and will be expensive, justifiably so, but still. And yet, after the crushing disappointments of Fable and Scalebound and ReCore, I can’t help but think Microsoft has some cards up their sleeves. They’re either going to have a killer Scorpio conference into E3 into a strong holiday, or a huge bust the whole year long.
But I don’t see them saving their cards, I foresee them showing their hand early and going for it to bolster the Scorpio release. Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, Cuphead, a few surprises, and a superior home console, that could be the start of something magical. Or not, because they don’t have Nioh or Nier or Horizon or Zelda, all games that will dominate most of 2017’s eyeballs.
WAIT AND SEE — EA
Oh Electronic Arts, what will you do next? There’s no telling what the quality of EA is from game to game, they are by far the most inconsistent company around. Wild swings in both directions means uncertainty, and the markets loathe uncertainty. Battlefield 1, great! Plants versus Zombies, underrated! NBA Live, they still make that? Mass Effect Andromeda, meh? Titanfall 2, boy did they bury that in an awful shitty release window! Way to shoot yourselves in the foot with a great game, you clowns.
Outside of the sports game cycle, we get the bi-annual stalwart Battlefront 2, now with single player, yippee. What other Star Wars projects are going to be shown? Who knows, maybe they’ll never be ready. And Need for Speed, maybe that’s dead alongside Criterion, which is really a shame on both accounts. So not only do you not really ever know what they’re up to on the periphery (remember Yarny?) but it’s a crap-shoot for their AAA titles. Hell, Battlefield 4 and Hardline were giant busts, why couldn’t the next game be? Time will only tell, but let’s hope Amy Hennig can come to save the day.
DON’T BUY — Nintendo
Hey, remember when Nintendo put out an excellent game? You’re going to be waiting a while before that happens again. Like, possibly an entire year. You don’t have to sell Nintendo stock, but the enthusiasm will quickly dry up without some fuel for their fire. The Switch might collect dust as we go through E3, wait for Super Mario Odyssey to get delayed, and then anyone who wanted to buy a Switch can’t and they sit on their thumbs and go onto play something else. It’s going to be a rough year, unless you REALLY like milking invisible cows. Like, fetish levels of milking cow utters. Which is fine, I will not judge you, but that’s what Nintendo is offering right now. A milking simulator. Buy a cheap Wii U, Zelda, Splatoon, and Mario Kart 8 and it’s like owning a Switch basically without the virtual milk.
SELL — Ubisoft
Boy oh boy, what to do with Ubi. Ghost Recon came back, nobody noticed. Watch Dogs is a franchise everyone doesn’t seem to necessarily want, but will take. Assassin’s Creed is set to return with a game in Egypt that has been leaked out the wazoo. What else, they buried Rayman and Rabbids, launched Steep, For Honor is cool, maybe we’ll all buy that when it goes on sale or something. Yeah, not a lot of momentum going for them, and I’m not sure another Far Cry or whisper about Beyond Good and Evil can do anything to stop the stock from falling fast and hard. Whatever hope you have you might as well sell, unless you love Just Dance beyond comprehension. Which is fine, no judgements, but this is a wasteland of hype.
GHOST TOWN — Valve
Do they even make games anymore?
Is VR dead?
What are they working on?
Whose dick do I have to suck to get a Left 4 Dead sequel off the ground? Jesus Christ, Valve, cut it out with DOTA and fix up Steam you sacks of shit, and stop letting talented people leave every god damn week. Gabe, what the fuck is going on. I know it’s fun to print money and sit on your ass all day, and joke about Half-Life and do interviews on Reddit, but for the love of all that is holy be a company that releases products. That we can buy. Total horseshit stock until they do something, which when they do, will be solid gold. The hype will be palpable, tangible excitement, but until that day, they are to be forgotten and shamed and shunned.
Makes me so mad, they took Dust out of the competitive Counter-Strike cycle. The greatest multiplayer map of all time, come on.