It all starts so innocently. Just one little tweet.
That tweet begets a website landing page. The website begets rumors and speculation. The rumors and speculation beget more rumors, which culminate in a press release containing precisely zero information. But then, just when all seems lost, a glimmer of hope: some leaked screenshots. Or perhaps "leaked" screenshots. The website updates with a counter. The counter ends in a press event at E3. Finally, an announcement! Logos! Pre-alpha runthroughs! Flashy music! High-profile guest stars! Energy! Free swag! And what we've all been waiting for ... a pre-order link!
The marketing engine begins to gear up in earnest. Banner ads appear in the wild. PR staff are sighted sneaking into Gamestop under cover of night and planting endcaps and shelf-talkers. Print ads and TV spots appear. The rumors and/or speculation reach a fever pitch. Developer interviews are scoured for subtext hidden between the print. Various fora explode with leaked reviews. "It will be great!" "No, it will be terrible, my buddy's cousin's boyfriend who works at Best Buy said so!" "I'm going to call in sick all week to play!"
Finally, Launch Day arrives. Fans line up outside the big box vendor of their choice at midnight waiting to get their hands on that which has been the object of their affection for so many months prior. And then … and then … what?