2K's PR partner upset with venomous reviews of Duke Nukem Forever


"too many went too far with their reviews...we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom"

The Redner Group (http://www.therednergroup.com/) is a public relations firm that works with 2K Games on marketing of their products. According to their website, The Redner Group specializes in public relations, social and traditional media relations, and event marketing. They are an outside contractor that 2K hired to promote their titles to the general public. This is also the company that decides just who gets early review copies of a title.

With Duke Nukem Forever hitting this week, The Redner Group went into overdrive to promote the product at E3 2011. A lot of word of mouth hype accompanied the title as today's release approached, and with E3 tying up the gaming media last week, there would not be any reviews until Monday online. When reviews started to be posted, the scores were rather lackluster, to the tune of a Metacritic score between 49 and 59 out of 100 (http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/duke-nukem-forever) depending on which platform the game appears on.

The Redner Group took offense to some of the reviews, the ones they deemed were venoumous. In their own words, "Bad scores are fine, Venim filled reviews...that's completely different." Their reaction is to deny these reviewers early copies of 2K titles for review. This is a dangerous precedent to set, and shows the ugly side of an industry that depends heavily on its enthusiast media, and vice versa.

In the coming days, I am sure that The Redner Group will issue some sort of apology for the public reaction for today's outburst, but they might have given 2K an unintended black eye.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ---Microsoft's E3 Press Conferenc

After having one of the most successful years for the brand, Microsoft enters this year’s E3 Expo riding the waves of the very successful launch of their Kinect peripheral, a device that Microsoft sees as a re-launch of the Xbox 360 system. The first wave on Kinect titles has been released, and there have been some successes, and some failures. The early half of 2011 has yet to see an impactful release for the Kinect, and a lot of questions surround just what is in store.

Microsoft also has rather light second half of 2011, software wise, with only Gears of War 3 as their sole system exclusive, and nothing announced for release beyond that release.

Lastly, Microsoft is always looking to further transform the Xbox 360 into the complete entertainment experience. Last year’s fall update added a lot of features to move towards that goal, but what else would Microsoft have in store?

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference.

The Good

A lot of on-stage presence.

Microsoft kicked off their E3 presentation with an on stage demonstration of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. The demo showed off a lot of the action set pieces that people have come to expect from the Call of Duty franchise, and some new tidbits like underwater controls. The demo turns into a Michael Bay movie, with massive explosions going on around the player as he speeds through the waters around a besieged New York City. Microsoft paid good money to receive exclusive rights to Call of Duty downloadable content, and they will not waste it by not showing off the current best-selling franchise front and center.

The next title to be shown on stage was the first gameplay look of the new Tomb Raider reboot from Crystal Dynamics. The title skews more dark and gritty from the previous titles in the series, featuring a young Lara Croft getting beaten and injured in some brutal ways. The atmosphere and environment also works very well with the direction they are taking the series.

Microsoft’s big title for the rest of 2011, Gears of War 3, showed off the co-op with assistance of Ice-T. Giving a few of some of the new baddies that the player will face, including a massive boss that you have to defeat by damaging several of the weak points on the creature. New gameplay elements, like the walking armored body suits, were shown off during the walkthrough.

The last two major titles on stage bridge the game between the technology of the Kinect, and the core gamer. Ghost Recon Future Soldier shows off how the game’s weapon customizing interface, known as Gunsmith, is 100% Kinect able. Players are able to break down weapons to their base components, switch out any piece out with another, and test their creations on a shooting range. Voice enabled commands can also be used to have Gunsmith put together preset or random weapons. Lastly, the game itself is Kinect enabled. While the gestures to aim and shoot are a bit strange, spreading out one’s fingers out to fire for one example, the controls seemed to be responsive.

The other core title with Kinect features is Mass Effect 3. The BioWare sci-fi RPG will be using the Kinect for voice recognition. During conversations with other character, you can say the lines that Sheppard are given as options, and he will respond accordingly. While you are in battle, you can give your teammates commands to more into position, and for them to activate their abilities. This will make combat flow much easier, as the player will not have to navigate menus.

Overall, it was a strong lineup of titles to show off on stage, and the further bridging of the Kinect with more traditional titles just furthers along the potential future of gaming.

The New New Xbox Live Experience

Every year, the Fall Update of the Xbox Live service is a reboot of the service. It is the time that Microsoft adds in the newest and biggest features that add more bang for the consumers buck. This year’s update should be no different.

The interface itself is changing once again. Taking a page from what looks like the Windows 7 Phone interface, the cleaner look and full Kinect functionality sets out to make browsing the Dashboard a smooth experience. Full voice commands are being added to the motion controls to help set out to achieve that.

Major services are being added to help increase the value of Live, and to make it a one stop destination for every entertainment need. The first is YouTube. YouTube was the last major service that Microsoft needed to have, after Facebook and Twitter were added in previous years. Second is Live TV. A complement to Netflix, this service will only be as good as the sum of its parts. Right now, only a few international driven channels are slated. If Microsoft can line up some premium channel coverage, it could be a force for the service. The biggest surprise would be the integration of the Bing search engine. Using Bing, you can search through all of the content on Live, from Netflix to game content, instead of having to dig through menu after menu for what you are trying to find. This is a huge way to tie in all of the services that Live offers.

The last surprise addition would come from Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championships. The service, known as UFC Live, looks to bring the world of mixed martial arts to Xbox Live in a way that is similar to ESPN 3.

From day one of the Xbox brand’s inception, Microsoft wanted to make one device for all of the consumer’s entertainment needs. They are moving closer and closer to fulfilling that goal.

The Bad

Another year, another canned Kinect demonstration.

Microsoft cannot seem to pin down just how to show off their bread and butter properly. Just like last year’s press conference, Microsoft used fake families and actors on stage to show off their lineup of Kinect titles. While the avalanche of Kinect title announcements brings hope for a strong second half of 2011, they did a horrible job for their unveiling's.

Microsoft’s own Kinect Sports 2 was the worst of the bunch. The woman showing off the golf game did a horrible job at selling the fact that her demonstration was not real experience, while the football demo features two “dudebros” fist pumping and acting like fools while playing a couple downs. It is almost a slap to the face of the consumer when you act like that is what the market for you product is.

Leaks ruin a big surprise, but would there have been cheers?

It was accidently leaked, and no I will not use the much often joke about the poor person looking for a new job, that several major announcement would be made during this press conference on the official Xbox site. The mistake was quickly corrected, but not fast enough for the internet, the world knew that Halo 4 was to be revealed.

When the end of conference teaser was finally shown, there was a noticeable lack of enthusiasm from the crowds in attendance, in stark contrast to the official reveals of Halo Reach and Halo 3. Was this due to the leak, or maybe the market has become a bit burned out on Halo? Microsoft also revealed, officially, the Halo Combat Evolved remake earlier in the show to, again, little enthusiasm.

With six Halo titles in ten years, and Bungie no longer holding the reins of the franchise, perhaps Halo is something no longer worth getting excited over?

The Ugly

Minecraft? On a console?

How can you announce that the largest independent gaming project of the last year will appear on your service, but not have anything solid to talk about afterwards? The brainchild of Markus "Notch" Persson, Minecraft is the quintessential time waster, giving players the ability to build and create anything they want in the world by interacting with the environment. It was one of the best stories to come out of 2010, and the future success of this game gives hope to aspiring game developers to dive in.

Microsoft needed to have something concrete, but instead it was a bullet point in their conference.

Mixed messages.

Microsoft is in a sticky situation with their new company focus.

On one side, they have the traditional core market that made them into the success they are. Core titles like Halo, Gears of War, and Fable have brought millions to the Xbox brand over the years. These games tend to be on the visceral side, featuring content that is made for the 18-34 demographic that enjoys shooting and blowing stuff up in their gaming.

In the other corner, Microsoft has the Kinect software. Looking to tap into the family friendly, casual market, the Kinect games tend to be the same. Experiences for the whole family and software that younger children will enjoy fill out the Kinect library.

The problem is that Microsoft has yet to come up with a way to balance the two when they present their press conferences. They cannot go from on stage combat to canned presentations of cute and cuddly. They need to find a happy balance between the two, mostly by respecting the titles for the Kinect for by having better presentations.

Microsoft’s conference was just as segmented as last year’s. They were unable to achieve a nice flow in showing off all of the products and services that they will be adding to the 360 in the coming year. While this will not have a direct bearing on their sales, it is still a bit disheartening to see a rather poor effort for the second straight year.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ---Nintendo's E3 Press Conference

Nintendo’s E3 was perhaps one of the most anticipated amongst the gaming world. The 3DS launch early this year game some a taste of the future of the long established video game company, and the known reveal of the first new console since 2006 caused much excitement. Nintendo would have the most to gain, or lose, coming into this E3, as it has to sell the idea of moving on from the Wii to a market that has never had to experience a chance in consoles before.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference.

The Good

The Wii U is revealed.

When word leaked out that Nintendo was working on a new console, the heads of Nintendo came out and confirmed its existence. Questions and rumors started to arise as every major gaming media site claimed to have a source in the inside that knew what Nintendo had up its sleeve. All of the speculation and excitement came to a head when the president of Nintendo of America, Reginald Fils-Aime, announced on stage that the new Nintendo console was named Wii U.

The highlight of the new console, which Nintendo focused on completely, was the controller. The unique design features a 6.2” touch screen with a full complement of buttons, as well as a camera, speakers, and a microphone. The most impressive feature of the new console is that the action going happening on the television can be transferred to the screen on the controller. The screen on the controller also opens up several possibilities to interact with a game like never before, as shown on stage during a montage of concepts.

What may be more impressive is that Nintendo was able to leverage strong third party partners into buying into the tech. John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronics Arts, took to the stage to tell the audience of the potential of the new Nintendo console. Having strong third party relations have never been Nintendo’s strong suit, something they are looking to change for the future.

Nintendo bolsters the 3DS with a sensational lineup.

To most, the 3DS has a rather lackluster launch lineup, especially from Nintendo’s first party releases. Nintendo took a risk at launching the handheld at a price point that was higher than usual, and so far the system has not sold as well as Nintendo would like. Their answer to drum up excitement for the 3DS is a lineup of Nintendo developed titles that will rain down this holiday season.

Before the year is out, the system will see Mario Kart 3DS, which will feature kart customizing and flight and underwater elements added to the tracks, Mario Bros 3DS, which sees the return of some Mario gameplay favorites like the Tanooki suit and the flag pole to finish of stages, and Star Fox 3DS, which will feature a robust multiplayer experience.

Most Nintendo systems would have to wait years to see an iteration of these titles; Nintendo is going all in this holiday season to get the market excited for the handheld.

Happy birthday Zelda!

Nintendo kicked off the press conference with a live orchestra playing a medley of Zelda music from the series. The Zelda franchise has some of the most memorable tunes in the history of gaming, and Nintendo played off of that nostalgia well.

Gaming industry Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage to help celebrate the 25 anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series with a bit of fun, interacting with the orchestra while they played some of the series iconic sound effects, the funniest being the opening the chest tune. Miyamoto also announced that the Game Boy Color title Link Awakenings would be available for free on the 3DS eShop that day. Also, Nintendo will be offering a free version of the multiplayer Four Swords as a free download for the DSi this fall. Lastly, Nintendo will be releasing a special edition, gold colored Wii remote when the Wii title Skyward Sword comes out this fall.

It was a nice treatment of one of the most cherished franchises in gaming, and Nintendo does an amazing job in celebrating the past of the company, along with its future.

The Bad

Nintendo looks past the Wii and the market that got them here?

The Wii has been Nintendo’s most successful console since the Super Nintendo. Nintendo was able to build up excitement for their product with a market that has long stepped away from gaming, and used that excitement to sell their brand. Titles like Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Mario Kart have sold hand over fist to this market. The so called “casual” market was locked down by Nintendo since the early days of the Wii, and it has treated Nintendo well.

During the conference, Nintendo put forth a show that was geared to their brand nostalgia, with their 3DS lineup, and to the core gaming market, with touting the third party relationships for the Wii U. Other than talk of the newest Zelda for the Wii, Skyward Sword, the Wii was already an afterthought for Nintendo, even with their new console more than eight months away.

While there are sure to be some Wii games announced during the rest of E3, it is a bold move from Nintendo to cease focusing on the Wii so swiftly, and with another holiday season to go before the Wii U launches sometime in 2012.

The Ugly

More questions, then answers.

While the Wii U was the focus of Nintendo’s press conference, the unveiling of the system left more questions on the table than answers.

A lot of confusion regarding the new controller arose, was it just a peripheral for the current Wii console, or was it the system by itself? Does the system support more than one of these controllers, and can it be taken on the road and played as a handheld like the 3DS?

Nintendo spent their time showing off concepts of what the Wii U, but it did a poor job in explaining some of the key features of the new system. Details about the hardware were left out intentionally so that Nintendo could get everyone to focus on the new controller. The problem with this approach, is while the new controller is an interesting piece of hardware, the masses in attendance were more interesting with how Nintendo would catch up with the competition in terms of power. Would the Wii U be graphically comparable with the PS3 and Xbox 360? Does the system feature a more robust online experience not found on current Nintendo hardware?

It is a dangerous practice to leave so many questions on the table, especially when you have the undivided attention of the gaming world. The next few months will be filled with more rumors at the abilities of the system until Nintendo finally starts to show off some software.

Overall, Nintendo did a great job to get people excited for the 3DS. This holiday season might be one of the strongest software line ups for any handheld as several top shelf Nintendo franchises will make their 3D debut. The Wii U reveal was interesting, but the lack on some of the details of the hardware just led to many more questions than answers. Nintendo had a clean presentation once again, even if some leave scratching their heads.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ---Sony's E3 Press Event

Sony came into this year’s E3 Expo riding a wave of uncertainty.

The PlayStation Network outage in late April put a bad taste in the mouth from many. For three weeks, there was a period of uneasiness among the market. No one knew what was happening, and just what information was leaked out for the world to abuse. Sony’s response to the matter has been questioned at several points, from the media down to the everyday consumers. A level of trust may have been lost, and the PlayStation brand might have taken a public relations hit that is may not be able to recover from.

The E3 Expo is the first time since the outage that Sony would have the undivided attention of the entire gaming world. Did they do what was needed to put peoples’ fears to rest over the PSN outage? Did Sony reveal enough about their upcoming year to give confidence in the PlayStation brand as a whole?

This is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Sony’s E3 press conference.

The Good

Sony apologizes.

When Jack Tretton stepped onto stage at the Los Angeles Sports Memorial Center’s stage, he jumped right in to the “elephant in the room.”

He stood front and center on stage, without looking into any teleprompter, and delivered a true to the heart apology to the third party publishers and developers, to the retail partners, and most importantly, the consumers.

“I want to apologize both personally, and on behalf of the company, for any anxiety we caused you. I know we took you away from what you enjoy to do most, connecting and gaming with friends all over the world, and enjoying all the many entertainment options on the PlayStation Network. And it is you that causes us to be humble and amazed at the amount of dedication and support you continue to give to the PlayStation brand.”

This was the apology that consumers were looking for from the beginning. Not the usual corporate double speak and form letter like response, but a true to form apology that is sincere and to the heart.

Starting the conference off with the apology set the tone for the rest of the event, Sony’s argument on why the consumer should be invested in the PlayStation brand now, and into the future.

Nintendo has Mario. Microsoft has Halo. Sony has Uncharted.

Sony has been blessed in that have one of the most diverse line-ups of exclusives among the three console manufactures. Their library ranges from light hearted platform titles like Ratchet and Clank and Sly Cooper, to visceral sci-fi driven shooters in the form of Resistance. While Sony has had a lot of titles to hang their name on, it has been many years since someone could point to a specific series as the marquee franchise in the Sony library.

This year’s press conference just may have given us a franchise to look to.

The Uncharted series, a third person action title from Naughty Dog, has been a key franchise for the PlayStation 3 since launch. The Uncharted series has always been about pushing the system to its limits; better visuals, better sound, and better experience than anything else we can find on the Sony system.

Uncharted 3 took the stage with an on stage presentation of a level not seen before. No other game had as much time front and center during the press event, and Sony positioned the game as the centerpiece of their 2011 PlayStation 3 lineup. With stunning visuals, fluid gameplay, and the traditional atmosphere that the gaming world has become to recognize, Uncharted has become positioned as Sony’s premier franchise. What helps drive that point home is the big title announced for Sony’s new handheld, The PS Vita, is Uncharted Golden Abyss.

Uncharted looks to be the franchise that Sony will hang its hat on for the future of the brand.

Next Generation Platform comes to life.

Sony came to E3 fully ready to go head to head with Nintendo’s 3DS system. As sales of the 3DS seem to stagnate after the initial launch period, a disappointment shared by Nintendo brass, Sony took the stage to reveal the much anticipated NGP, forever now known as the PS Vita.

The Vita is bolstered by a strong lineup of software, mostly from Sony’s first party partners. The marquee title shown was Uncharted Golden Abyss, another adventure of the Nathan Drake that takes place within the Uncharted universe, but between the PS3 titles. Golden Abyss features both traditional and touch controls, which can be used simultaneously is the player chooses too.

Other titles shown on the PS Vita include a version of Street Fighter X Tekken, featuring Cole from Sony’s inFamous series, Ruin, a dungeon crawler in the same vein as Diablo and Torchlight, and traditional Sony franchises ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet.

The big surprise came when the price of the system was announced. Thoughts that the tech would drive the MSRP of the handheld into the many hundreds of dollars, Sony dropped the bomb that the Wi-Fi only version will cost $249, and the 3g version with cost $299. This puts the Vita in the same price range as the Nintendo 3DS, and sets up one of the interesting battles of this year’s holiday season.

Sony continues to woo the third parties.

Just like last year, EA and Sony have once again partnered to offer exclusive content on the PlayStation 3 version of select EA titles. SSX, the revival of EA’s arcade snowboarding series, will have Mt. Fuji as an exclusive mountain to play on. Need for Speed The Run will feature additional cars that will not be available on the other versions. Lastly, Battlefield 3 will come with the full version of Battlefield 1942 on the same disc, for free.

Perhaps the most shocking third party partnership came when Ken Levine, the brainchild of the BioShock franchise, took the stage to tout the advantages of the PlayStation Move controller, and how it can bring a much more immersive experience to games. On stage, he announced that BioShock Infinite will contain Move controls.

Other titles shown that will include exclusive content includes Saint’s Row 3, the previously mentioned Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken, and NBA 2k12, with a Kobe Bryant demoed feature called “On the Move.”

These partnerships help attract the consumer to the PlayStation brand by increasing the perceived value of the system, while most of the exclusive access on the Xbox 360 revolves around early access to paid content.

The Bad

Resistance 3 comes across as lackluster.

Blame it on having to follow Uncharted 3 on stage, or perhaps just a poor choice of a level to show off, but Insomniac’s last PlayStation 3 exclusive looked rather plain when demoed on stage.

The demo sequence came across as simple sci-fi shooter fare, blow up a bunch of aliens amongst wreckage, while you merry band of underground fighter buddies take the brunt of the abuse. The action seemed choppy at times, and the overall aesthetic of the atmosphere was just terribly plain. It was not a good showing for what was once the top billed franchise for the PS3.

The Ugly

The nation’s fastest, something.

The announcement that the PS Vita will be partnering with AT&T as the systems national broadband partner brought a wave of discontent from the audience. What started as a few groans turned into a full blown wave of boos as the face of Kaz Hirai twisted in a way that made him think of E3’s of the past.

Please, everyone put on your 3d glasses, pretty please?

From a pure business standpoint, it is no surprise that Sony is pushing 3D technology. As a company, Sony has a lot to gain if 3D penetration increases, as they produce the most 3D televisions on the market. But during this year’s press event, Sony almost reached the point of begging the consumer to adapt to 3D.

The PlayStation branded monitor and glasses is a good concept. A 24” screen, glasses, cables, and the Resistance 3 title for $500 are a pretty good value for someone looking for an entry level product. The problem is that gaming has yet to have its “Avatar” moment, and until it does, Sony will continue to be unable to gain that market penetration that it wants.

Overall, Sony put together a solid press event, and a significant argument on why the PlayStation brand is worth investing in for the next 12 months. A solid and varied selection of first and third party titles, exciting new hardware with the PS Vita, and continued support to turn the PlayStation family into a truly unified brand is coming along nicely.


Some hands on time with the PlayStation Move

I had a chance to spend three hours today with the PlayStation Move as part of a in-store demonstration.

On hand was one Move controller and Navigation controller, and software that included Tiger Woods 11, Sports Champions, Time Crisis, TV Superstars, The Shoot, Kung Fu Rider, Start The Party, EyePet, Beat Sketcher, and echochrome ii.

The first thing that blew me away, was how light the Move controller is. The controller charges like a PS3 Dual Shock, so there is no batteries adding that little bit of weight. It is the same length of a Wii Remote with a Motion Plus attachment, but the round shape of the controller fits in a hand much better. Even though it is light, the controller does not feel cheap. The buttons are solid, the Move controller has all of the face buttons of the Dual Shock, with the addition of two more. On the underside of the controller is the T, of trigger button. On the top of the controller is the Move button, standing out because of the Move logo on it. These two buttons are what you use to interact with most titles. Even the ball on the top of the remote feels well built. The light in the ball changes color depending on the game you play, and the light is bright, causing a halo effect if you wear a certain type of glasses.

You can use the Move controller to interact with the PS3 interface. Holding down the T button, you can scroll around the screen in a very smooth manner. There was no lag between the player interaction, and the action translating on the screen.

Calibrating the Move controller for each title was simple, point at camera, and press the Move button on the top of the remote. Most of the titles would even go as far as to tell you if the lighting in the room is strong enough to cause interference. Even though this warning popped up a few times, there was no issue.

Tiger Woods 11 was very impressive. Like advertised at E3, this will be the best golf experience one can find in a video game. You cannot simply flick your wrist, or swing with little effort, like you could on any of the Wii golf titles. If you want a good drive, you have to swing with full force. Just like my golf game in real life, all of my shots in Tiger had a natural slice to them, landing left of my intended target. There was a slight delay from when you swing, to when the action translates to the screen, but the camera never lost track of the Move controller when you prepare for your swing.

Sports Champion is the game that will come with the Move bundle, just like Wii Sports and Sports Resort, it is a collection of mini games. Two games were available for demo, Disc Golf, and Table Tennis. Table Tennis worked great. You are able to turn your wrist and hit your shots, creating very noticeable back and topspin. Depending on how hard you swing, the speed of the ball changes. You have to be careful, carelessly swinging hard at the ball will knock it out of bounds.

EyePet is creepy, but cute. With the Move controller, you interact with the little creature, and the demo had you draw a plane on the screen. The creature then drew it itself, cut it out, and built the plane. The pieces looked just like the pieces the player drew.

The Shoot and Time Crisis are light gun rail shooters. The aiming is as accurate as you are. The curser moves across the screen smoothly, able to shoot one person after another with the same speed you would find at the arcades.

Beat Sketcher combines elements of music and drawing in a variety of mini games. The games control well, but was not my cup of tea. The kids that tried this game out had a blast with it, and might be a surprise hit for the Move.

Kung Fu Rider, TV Superstars, Start the Party are your standard mini game fare. They control well, will have a lot of family friendly distractions, but not a lot of meat outside of that.  TV Superstars also has an option to take the player's picture and voice to represent their in game avatar.

I walked away from my time with the Move rather impressed. Every aspect that I tried out has equaled and surpassed the Wii Remote w/ Motion Plus. The games that had similar releases on the Wii played better on the Move.    

Why do we buy a game?

A simple question, why do we buy a game? 

As a gamer, the question seems simple.  Every year, people around the world spend billions of dollars a year on games, the systems to play them, and the extras that go with it.  In a span of less then half a century, gaming went from the newest fad, to one of the largest entertainment medium’s in the world, going from its first $1 billion year of revenue in the early 1980’s, to over $20 billion in 2008.#  To keep this continued growth, companies have to come up with ways to attract customers to their product, as well as keeping their current customers happy enough with their brand that they will purchase future products in the future.  How a company does this, is through the concept of marketing.

Marketing is defined as the activities of a company associated with buying and selling a product or service. It includes advertising, selling and delivering products to people. People who work in marketing departments of companies try to get the attention of target audiences by using slogans, packaging design, celebrity endorsements and general media exposure. The four 'Ps' of marketing are product, place, price and promotion.

In short, it is the way for a company to figure out who their customer is, how to sell to that customer, and how to keep that customer loyal to their brand.

Was the reason you purchased the newest game system because it is from a company you trust, maybe because the types of titles that will appear on the system suits your taste, or they just had you from the first time you saw what it can do?

That game that you have blind bought, was it the way the box art stuck out, or perhaps it was priced at a lower cost or on sale?

Every buying decision you make, be it a well researched purchase of a high profile release, to the impulse buy of a title you have never heard of, is influenced in some way by how that product is marketed.   
Think about the last three games you purchased, be it disc or downloadable, console or PC, and think about why you purchased it.  Go ahead and post them if you would like.


Mafia II has the most realistic driving in snow I have played

I fishtailed into one too many people on the sidewalks to finally understand that you have to put some attention into driving when the ground is covered with snow.  

The main story is a straight line of quests, broken into 15 chapters. And you spend the vast majority of that time driving around the city, from one mission checkpoint to the next. There is very little incentive to do anything but find a fast car, and upgrade it to its max potential. There are not that many clothing options, and nothing much to do outside of the main story.     
That said, with only couple chapters left, it has been a fun ride so far.   The missions are varied enough, the story is engaging enough, the gameplay is solid, and the voice actiing is quite top notch. 
You are looking at a 15-ish hour experience is you just do the story.