Portal 2 and how its ARG Impacted its Success

It’s hard to deny that social media impacts video games in a big way. For reference, take a look at the recently released Destiny. The game generated so much hype through every social media outlet imaginable, and its advertising campaign was probably more expensive than the budget for actually making the game.

Like it mattered. Heck, the game made back all of the money used to make it on the first day of sales. Sure, many of us were overjoyed to finally start playing the game, but a lot of us were also underwhelmed by the actual experience. The game was just “over-hyped” as some of us would say. There have been other video games that have generated hype in a more unique way.

Let’s look at Portal 2, made by Valve, and its ARG. What is an ARG? ARG stands for “Alternate Reality Game” and in short, it’s an intricately made interactive networked narrative in real time. What this means is that the Portal Community was given subtle hints through different Valve games such as Team Fortress 2 and various Valve-owned websites. Much hype was generated from this as you can imagine, as it had the community going crazy and finding patterns and other connections from one hint to the next. You don’t see a lot of games getting people excited like this every day. It’s definitely an interesting contrast to how Destiny bloated its advertising to appeal to the masses.

Link to a large summary of the ARG: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1824635

A glimpse of what some of the ARG showcased.

A glimpse of what some of the ARG showcased.

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