Reviews for Duke Nukem Forever have been the talk of the gaming world for a few days now. Especially given the public relations fiasco between The Redner Group, game critics and 2K Games that spawned on Twitter. It was there that Redner publicly threatened gaming sites with denial of future review materials based on negative and venomous reviews of Duke Nukem Forever.
Now, Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox Software, has dropped an anectode about the current commercial success of Duke Nukem Forever. While the game’s official sales data has not been released, Pitchford’s Tweet indicates that the title is doing well. And that comes despite the overwhelmingly bad critical reception. His Tweet? Right, this is the part about “greasy hamburgers.”
“With sales data, It seems like *customers* love Duke. I guess sometimes we want greasy hamburgers instead of caviar…”
Interesting … but, really? I get that critics and customers make up two separate categories on consumer opinion. More often than not, their thoughts and scores typically line up. But there are always games where consumers think one think while critics think another.
But I’m not sure if Picthford’s analogy works well here. Duke Nukem Forever isn’t being slammed for its distasteful nature, like a cheeseburger, it’s being slammed for its old design mechanics. And that’s not necessarily the fault of Gearbox, either. This game is, face it, 15-years-old. To assume that it would employ the same design principles as a modern day shooter is lunacy.
Consumers are buying Duke Nukem Forever because it’s Duke Nukem Forever. It doesn’t have to do with taste or critical opinion. This game has defined vaporware for more than a decade. It’s been the butt of jokes. And now that it’s out, people are getting it to complete the dream.
Do you have Duke Nukem Forever? Is it a greasy hamburger?