November 29, 2007 7:00 AM | Simon Carless
[Luckily enough, following Russell Carroll's recent opinion piece about the naming of The Orange Box, we got another response, from Creative Traction's Duane Brown, in which the PR pro and Gamasutra writer thinks the game is named just fine. Our questions and his answers below.]
Did Valve impede sales of The Orange Box by calling it... The Orange Box?
Overall, I don’t think they impeded sales by calling it The Orange Box. The biggest part was making sure they got across what was coming in The Orange Box because you aren’t just getting one game, but 5 games including Portal, which I’ve been looking forward to from day one. The game rises high on a Google search and Valve’s games tend to lean more towards the “hardcore” gamer then say Nintendogs, which is something more for the mainstream.
Is this too confusing a name?
No, not at all. The name is perfect on a couple levels because 1) It’s not something similar to a past or present game coming out. 2) We won’t have a preconceived notion of what the game is about by the name.
When you look at GameRevolution's article on the worst video game names, you see that The Orange Box is pretty good overall, particularly because of the two points above. Plus, some of those names on the list make you want to think of something else.
Do you think the naming of the release helps endear it to a) the hardcore gamer or b) the more mainstream gamer, or both?
I think Valve was going after the hardcore audience, no matter how you look at it. So appealing to them was a given from the start. The only game in The Orange Box that could have appealed to a more mainstream audience was Portal, because of the puzzle/strategy aspect of the game. Sure, Valve would love to get more then their core audience buying the game, but whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
What would you have called this compilation, if you'd have had complete free rein?
Since you are getting 5 games that span 3 franchises, you can’t or at least you shouldn’t call The Orange Box by one of the franchise names. What they are actually getting might confuse people who don’t read full articles or press releases. With a lot of the game names in The Orange Box having to do with a sequel, I might call it “The Second Level”. A Google search proves this could be marketable/brandable from a gaming perspective. Some might say it’s close to Second Life, but only the market can determine that.