17 Worst Video Game Marketing Campaigns Ever

17 Worst Video Game Marketing Campaigns Ever        

The video game world is competitive and this often calls for a careful consideration of the approach that will capture the target market. This often leads to developers targeting the video game marketing campaigns that will give them the edge but some have been characterized as being the worst in history and they include:

Mercenaries 2

With the premise being set on fuel tycoons, promotion of the game was launched with an offer for free gas to individuals in major cities like London which led to unending agony in the form of traffic. The gridlocked cities were let free when the gas stations were shut down.

Sega Saturn

When launching the Sega Saturn, Sega took a wrong turn with the advertising campaign with a surprise release in North America that was not set to materialize until 4 months later. With retailers and expectant consumers confused on the scheduled release and surprise launch, the popularity of the console took a hit.

Turok Evolution

Acclaim, the company responsible for producing leading games, was the one behind the Turok series. In a bid to capture the gaming population, Acclaim offered $10,000 to any individual that would name their new born “Turok” and it must be said it ranks as one of the worst marketing campaigns for a video game.

Splinter Cell: Conviction

In promoting the game in Australia, Ubisoft sent an individual looking like a mercenary into a bar while brandishing a gun and it was so real that even the police were called to the scene with frightened onlookers. 

Resident Evil: Outbreak

The resident evil series is a major hit among gamers and in an attempt to make Resident Evil: Outbreak an even greater hit, ran a campaign that required individuals to provide a phone number after which a message was sent to the select number informing them that they had the T Virus which is what gives rise to the zombie world.   

Watch Dogs

Ubisoft tried to promote Watch Dogs by sending a beeping metal box to an office that scared individuals and led to the bomb squad being called to disarm the alleged “bomb” only to find that Ubisoft had sent them a Watch Dogs swag package in the metal box. 

Resident Evil 6

The special shop in London referred to as Wesker & Son Resident Evil Human Butchery was tasked with the promotion of Resident Evil 6 by selling meat in the shape of human body parts.

Sony PSP

Riding on the success that PS1 and PS2 had registered, Sony chose to provide some articulated updates and customization to a new console and introduced the white PSP. The problem manifested when they put up a billboard showing a white woman in a position of dominance over a black man implying that the white PSP was overpowering the black version and this appeared as racist.


Bethesda who was the developer for Skyrim sought to create as much hype as possible and despite scheduling the release date to be 11/11/11, also sought to drive more attention to the video game by offering a lifetime supply of all games to parents who would name their child born on 11/11/11 “Dovahkiin” which means “born of the dragon”. 

Shadow Man 2

When trying to create hype around the game, Acclaim saw it as a good idea to pay individuals to place Ads on the gravestones of deceased friends and family. The campaign was even given a name “deadvertising” but the unfortunate aspect is that the controversy turned out to be the outdoing of the game.


The developers decided to structure promotion for the game as a gimmick that would see red balloons released over San Francisco. The result was that hundreds of balloons were released but the unfortunate occurrence is that they deflated soon after and ended up at the bay which required massive effort by cleaners to avoid the balloons choking the dolphins.


In keeping with the theme of the game, the creators of Hitman chose to develop an App that would allow individuals to put a hit on other people with unqualifying reasons as justification. This undoubtedly led to bullying on the online platform added to the unavoidable humiliation.

Nokia N-Gage

Nokia used a sexist approach in advertising its new device that was meant to shakeup the handheld category. Using scantily dressed women with price tags written on their torsos was a bad idea and it meant the device was poorly received with its part phone, part gaming option criticized. 


Advertising has taken varied routes and the creators of Evony in particular sought to use the fantasy people have about sexuality to sell. They structured text about the Adobe Flash Game to appear on the forefront of a background that had skimpily dressed women which was criticized since the women had no bearing to the game.

EA Inferno

The marketing campaign designed as a two-phase project where individuals had to “sin to win” in the first phase and then take part in a Christian protest in the second phase. It was regarded as a mock to the Christians as well as being distasteful with people being asked to commit acts of lust.

Burnout 2

Acclaim has had widespread creativity with its gaming platforms and Burnout 2 stands as one of the games that courted controversy. Acclaim offered to pay out the fines for individuals in the UK charged with speeding on the day the game was launched. It was seen as an encouragement to break the law.

God of War 3

This game was promoted with a real goat sacrifice which was staged at an event in Greece. Sony was met with multiple protests from animal rights activists who did not only consider it a violation but also protested against the graphic display that was adopted for the event.

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