What is a vanity game?

Insomniac Marvel Wolverine Trailer Snapshot Shared Screen

A vanity game is, as the name suggests, a game that allows a company to brag.

But why would a company want to boast about a game?

There are several possible reasons for this:

Increase the company’s stock market share

In a world where the largest video game companies are listed on the stock exchange, shareholders must be made to want to invest in the company. By promising them a great game, at the cutting edge of technology, and at the height of the studio’s reputation, the companies hope to see the stock rise and raise funds.

Shareholders are hoping that others will follow suit and that the shares will climb enough to make a profit, if possible in the short term.

Convincing investors

The same principle applies when the game does not yet have funding to guarantee its complete production, potential investors must be convinced. The developers of the vanity game then try to impress with outstanding graphics, a unique concept or a technological difference.

Recruit motivated and competent employees

In 2021, Insomniac Games, a studio now owned by Playstation Studios, released a trailer for a new game: Marvel’s Wolverine.

With this game in the vein of the hit Marvel’s Spiderman games, Insomniac took advantage of this revelation to announce that they were recruiting more team members to work on this game at the time.

Normally, studios don’t reveal the games they’re working on so far in advance that they can change or cancel them in the event of a major problem.

However, it is necessarily clearer and more motivating for job candidates if they know what projects they are going to work on and can talk about it to those around them, within the limits of the confidentiality agreements signed of course.

To date, we have not had any new images or official trailers of the game.

Highlight the company’s catalog

Metroid Prime 4 Beyond is announced?

How about playing or replaying Metroid: Zero Mission in the meantime?

That’s good, it’s now present in the Nintendo Switch’s augmented online subscription offer.

Or maybe you missed Metroid Prime Remastered ? Or Metroid Dread on Nintendo Switch. It’s time to catch up while waiting for the next big game.

Sell merchandise

A game franchise lives by its great vanity games. When the most recent episode is of quality, all the merchandising and transmedia products sell better.

For example, King of Fighters XIV was very poorly received by critics, especially because of its poor graphic quality. It is then very difficult to sell figurines, toys, posters with the effigy of the famous characters of the fighting game series, if the most recent original 3D models are not appreciated.

It was not until King of Fighters XV that the commercial machine related to the franchise was restarted and capitalized on the old games that fans had been acclaimed during this time.

KOF XV collector edition Shared Screen
KOF XV collector edition Shared Screen

It also depends on the franchise’s flagship product. In the case of King of Fighters, it is of course the fighting video games that are the main factor of success and revolves around it.

In the case of Pokémon, the biggest franchise in the world, there are so many flagship and strong products, that you can have bad video games in the main series, and have other media that continue to sell well like Pokémon TCG card games, cartoon, manga, food, etc. toys, clothes, objects bearing the effigy of pocket creatures.

Do you see any other vanity games? Other games used to increase the value of the company or its franchise? Write them in the comments here or on social networks!

About Marc Shakour

Former video game programmer, columnist, teacher, competitor ... Marc has always been very familiar with the world and industry of video games. He decided to help neophytes about it, to discover new universes, worlds and fantastic creatures.

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