Speak of the Devil: Player voice in video game marketing

Stephen Tatlow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Popular reception to video game trailers is often at its most polarised when marketing campaigns attempt to capitalise on the social and emotional power of player voice. Voice-led trailers for Anthem (Bioware, 2018), EVE Online (CCP Games, 2003), The Division (Ubisoft, 2016), Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft, 2014) and others have been released as part of video game marketing campaigns. By using (pseudo-)player voice in video game trailers, marketing agencies attempt to demonstrate the social experience of their multiplayer games and perhaps even authenticate their trailer as being representative of real play.

Whilst some designers do manage to integrate idealised player speech cohesively into video game trailers, many fall flat: player reception to voice-led video trailers is often muted at best. In some instances, player reception has been completely contrary, with reimagined remixes offering criticism of both the marketing campaign and the development studios and publishers. Often, it seems that players find voice-led trailers to be “cringeworthy”, inaccurate or otherwise non-representative of their player experience. This demonstrates that players and game studios often seem to have different perceptions of player voice within video games.

This paper explores several trailers and their audience response, identifying what makes voice-led marketing material receive positive feedback from the intended audience. This allows us to suggest how players may envisage voice within their play experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Apr 2020

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