Memorable marketing campaigns are the things businesses’ dreams are made of, but there is definitely such a thing as being remembered for the wrong reasons. Marketing in the video game industry is no different, but the unique creative diversity of gaming (and the amount of money it generates) has lead to some pretty fascinating disasters, which comes across in the following 13 instances. From PR nightmares to tone-deaf billboards, these are definitely some of the biggest fails in video game marketing history.
13. The Sega Saturn Launch
Poor Sega. After giving the then-dominant Nintendo a run for their money with the Sega Genesis in the early 90s, the company was poised to do battle again with their follow-up home gaming console, the Saturn. The Saturn was similar to Sony’s PlayStation, as both systems utilized 32 bit architecture and CD-ROM drives. Sega enjoyed some early success with their Japanese launch in November 1994. Unfortunately, Sega made a giant blunder with the console’s North American launch, as they inexplicably decided to do a surprise release in May 1995 — a full four months before the scheduled release date! This confused consumers and retailers, hurting the Saturn’s brand, and Sega soon found themselves playing a distant 3rd to the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64, which was released the following year.