What is Shadow drop and why the Hi-Fi Rush release has worked but may not be the norm for all video games – Hi-Fi Rush

It is evident that the launch of Hi Fi Rush It has been quite an event. Xbox Y Tango Gameworks They surprised us a few days ago with the release of a video game that It is making those who dare to try it fall in love. Me too it I’m enjoying an awful lot and I’m really happy with what it offers. Beyond its quality, an interesting debate has been created around the game. Many voices say that Hi-Fi Rush has proven that no need the campaigns of Marketing and Communication for new video games, and I can not disagree more.

Hi-Fi Rush has come into our lives with what is known as “shadow drop” (shadow pitch we could say in Spanish), a type of pitch that is performed without previously disclosing the release date. It is not something that Xbox suddenly invented, although it is true that this case is very particular, because nobody knew of the existence of the title. Normally, this type of output is accompanied by a previous strong communication work and, sometimes, the press does have access to the title days before to publish the analyzes when the game is released.

Making yourself known in video games is vital for success

After this launch, I have seen the discourse take hold that Hi-Fi Rush is proof that it is not necessary to spend time and resources on video game marketing campaigns to have a strong impact and succeed. In my opinion, this idea is wildly wrong And it’s hard for me to understand why it’s gaining so much strength. Extrapolating the case of a video game like this to the entire industry is a mistake that I hope will not affect any work that is currently being developed.

Doing a ‘shadow drop’ on Xbox Game Pass is not the same as doing it in a traditional way either

It must be taken into account that Tango’s work has a brutal exposure that most games they will not have. Be a first party of Xbox and appearing in a relevant event of the brand gives visibility that not realistic for the entire industry. What’s more, make a shadow drop in it xbox game pass It’s not the same as doing it traditional way. Dating on Microsoft’s fantastic service guarantees you many players because, for them, it does not suppose any type of risk to test the game. That is not comparable to releasing the video game only in stores, physical or digital, at the usual price.

These types of actions can be carried out by big brands, such as Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo, but even so, it seems very delusional to me to think that this can be done. turn into a regular tonic, because the previous dissemination work is also part of the success of a game. What’s more, to think that this can be done by a studio or independent publisher is not knowing how the industry works The indies fight fiercely to achieve prior visibility when they leave, because otherwise it is unlikely that they will have commercial success, even if they find a free space for powerful launches.


In fact, for many indie games the communication phase Is absolutely fundamental. For example, this work can help to find financing, to find a publisher or, simply, to make the title reach many more people and gain visibility, with the aim of reaching a number of sales that makes the title profitable. For an independent study all the details count. The simple fact of putting the game on our Steam wishlist is something key for an indie, because the platform promotes the title if it is on many wishlists. Without prior marketing and communication work, and community creation, it is impossible.

For many indie games, the communication phase is absolutely essential.

We have a recent case of a shadow drop in the independent scene that has been previously publicized and, even so, has passed very unnoticed: Sports Story. This video game, exclusive to nintendoswitch and with some fame released before christmas. Despite the fact that it had been released at various events at Nintendo’s Indie World, that its release had been half announced and that it was possible to “anticipate” the specific day, the title saw the light of day and only those who were very interested in it really noticed. he. And that is an indie that had exposure from Nintendo!

Sports Story

Sports Story went almost unnoticed in its Christmas premiere on Switch.

I’m not the only one who wanted to qualify this trend that emerged after the release of Hi-Fi Rush. For example, Guillermo AndradesGame Director of Crema Games (creators of Temtem), recommended on Twitter that don’t pay attention to this idea. The curious thing in this case is that Andrades quoted, to give his opinion, a PCGamer Article who defends that more videogames should come to the market as the work of Tango has done. I insist, for specific cases of big brands it can work, but think of this as something standardized not realistic for the vast majority of the industry, both indie, double A and triple A.

The case for the launch of Hi-Fi Rush is unique and very interestingit deserves that we analyze and study it, and it would be great if Xbox gave us sales and player data to do it with as much information as possible, but should not be used as an example for what should be done routinely in the industry. In fact, I have come to see some players confused because they did not know anything about the video game, as if assuming that it was their fault for not having known about it before. Hi-Fi Rush is wonderful for the great game that it is, not because of how it was launchedY has not shown That can do without marketing in video games.

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