Bioshock Infinite: bro, the box cover doesn’t matter

Mimicry of a blockbuster?

In an interview with Wired, Ken Levine explained the box art of Bioshock Infinite as a means of courting the untapped segments of the market. Specifically:

“We went and did a tour… around to a bunch of, like, frathouses and places like that. People who were gamers. Not people who read IGN. And [we] said, so, have you guys heard of BioShock? Not a single one of them had heard of it.”

Apparently some people are upset over the generic box art, but if you’re a fan does it really matter? In fact, I would argue that if the box art was changed, you would damage the series that you love.

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This marketing strategy is a commendable effort (thanks are due to Uncharted, I believe). Games should do whatever they can to market to a mass audience. The fanboys (me included) can read all about content and check updates periodically and then make a decision. For a person who doesn’t read Kotaku everyday, they may make a snap judgement based on cover art, and why not do whatever you can to appeal to that audience? Keep in mind we are talking about superficial appeal, we are not talking about making Dead Space 3 co-op. This will pull a wider audience without trading game quality for success. 

I, for one, want games like Bioshock to keep coming out.  I don’t think this marketing strategy will work, specifically because the box art looks exceedingly lame (what frat guy would buy a game with a dude wearing a neckerchief?), but it’s still the right idea. Games need to sell well to be viable — its plain and simple. I don’t want Bioshock Inifinite to be the last game in which Irrational takes a lot of risks. It would be a shame for this company to roll back its boldness because of the case the game came in.