“Okay Internet, you win. Best Buy has the HyperX Cloud Flight in stock, finally, so even though I don’t want to review it at all, I’m buying one and PUTTING IT TO THE TEST!”
I took the above photo.
I composed the above tweet.
I hovered over the post tweet button…
But then I didn’t go through with any of it. I didn’t buy headphones I had no personal interest in. I didn’t publish my tweet, and rush out a review over the next two days.
Instead I heaved an internal sigh of relief.
And I kept the photo as a reminder to listen to my interests, not impulse hype.
GUILTY OF HYPE
It’s really easy to get hyped up and excited over technology and video games.
Often, marketing departments are counting on it.
Though the promotion cycles for these products are a lot shorter than they used to be(thank goodness)…it’s still very much a hype-based business model.
“Hey gamer! We’ve surprised-launched our new headset! Go out and buy one at your favorite store today! It’s clearly amazing in every possible way and you NEED IT.”
“That’s why Microsoft is pleased to announce here at E3 that all of these games are available to download on your Xbox right now!”
“We sent out our already-popular-somehow product to a bunch of influencers so they could provide their own opinions and build up the excitement… don’t you want in on this???! You’re missing out!”
I’m frequently guilty of giving into hype, and I’ll sometimes buy tech products I never had an interest in just because they’re right in front of me, or available early, or available for a cheaper price than “normal.”
It’s all marketing though. Hype gets you to buy something immediately without thinking. And the magic is that you do it to yourself.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION
The last time I allowed myself to get really hyped up for a game release was in 2010, when Red Dead Redemption came out. I was one of the five people that totally loved Red Dead Revolver, its predecessor, and when a sequel was finally announced, and it was the follow-up to GTA IV which was one of my favorite games of all-time…I WAS SO IN.
I was in to the point where I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
First I noticed that all of the cool smoke effects from the earlier trailers were missing in the final game. And then I finished the whole game after 16 hours of play, just two days after I bought it.
The game was less than half as long as GTA IV, and although it’s quite good, it’s clearly the product of a troubled development cycle that was pushed out the door missing some intended content.
I vowed never to get excited about a game in that way again.
Sometimes I vow publicly not to buy a pair of headphones…then I buy them four days later when I see them in-stock at a local store.
I get a weird adrenaline rush out of seeing a new tech product, even if it’s something I’m not that interested in. I’ve participated in the marketing hype cycle for so long that I’m just used to having that reaction, because it’s been engineered in me.
Sometimes I think I get more excited about buying a new product than actually using it. I’ll buy a headset, review it, and then sell it off to a friend a month later after it spends three weeks collecting dust.
Hype can be fun…but it can lead to a lot of waste and its pleasures are often short-lived.
FOLLOW YOUR INTEREST, NOT THE MARKETING
With the preponderance of internet marketing, trailers, and in-depth feature videos, it’s actually easier than ever to avoid pure hype and decide if a product or game is the right thing for you.
But novelty still has an impressive pull, at least for me.
I’ve said for months that I wouldn’t review the Flight, and yet I very nearly bought one just upon seeing it.
It’s good to be excited. But you have to navigate the difference between excitement and hype.
I was excited about Assassin’s Creed Origins, and I’m still playing it six months later. It’s an excellent game, and its RPG sensibilities tap into the things I like the most about video games.
I was hyped about Far Cry 5 just because it was a new entry in a series I used to love…and I more or less fell off of it a week and a half later.
I was excited the first time I bought Audio-Technica’s lauded M50X headphones…and I still love them today. I’ve owned three different pairs, and they’re a constant audio companion when I need to do some monitoring work or check the sound signature of another pair of headphones.
I was hyped when I ran across a launch week pair of Arctis Pro headphones (which I had just vowed never to buy) and I immediately purchased and reviewed them over a couple of days.
Now, they’re sitting collecting dust on my shelf.
Marketing is designed to capitalize on our excitement and turn it into hype.
It never hurts to take a day to think about something. You can always buy it next week, if you still feel like you need to.