• How Rockstar Games drove the Internet crazy, in two Red tweets!!!

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    For most game makers, hyping up a big-name franchise sequel that's been in the works for years is a big hairy deal. If you're Bethesda, you'll come back to E3 just to devote a huge chunk of your press conference to walking through the beginning of the new Fallout. If you're Nintendo, you'll devote your entire E3 booth to your big Zelda sequel, ignoring literally everything else your company makes. If you're Valve you... well, you just go silent about Half-Life for over a decade and leave it at that, I guess.
    If you're Rockstar, though, all you have to do is put out a couple of tweets strongly hinting at a new Red Dead Redemption game for everyone to go completely. Utterly. Nuts.
    It all started Sunday morning, with this unassuming tweet covering the Rockstar logo in red paint. In case that was too subtle, Rockstar followed it up almost precisely 24 hours later with another tweet, this time showing seven familiar looking Old West-y silhouettes marching toward the foreground with an orange sun low over the horizon.
    The first tweet got over 100,000 retweets and 177,000 likes in just over a day. The second tweet is already over 40,000 retweets and 56,000 likes in just over an hour. At this point, Rockstar could probably drip out the entire opening trailer for the game, frame by frame, via daily tweets, and the excitement likely wouldn't die down until it was done.
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    Red Dead is one of the few franchises that can generate this kind of interest based on so little concrete information. Part of that is sheer size: as of 2015, Red Dead Redemption had shipped 14 million copies since its 2010 release. That might not match up with the 65 million units that a game like Grand Theft Auto V has shipped, but it's not bad considering that the 2004 predecessor,Red Dead Revolver, didn't sell even a million copies.
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    One big thing that Red Dead has going for it, currently, is that it has yet to be overexposed. Top-selling franchises like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed justifiably generate a lot of interest from the press and fans. But those series see new games come out practically every year, like clockwork, which makes it hard to really be surprised or overwhelmed by word of a new game.
    Even top-level franchises that spread their releases out—Grand Theft Auto, The Legend of Zelda, The Elder Scrolls, and Fallout—have by now generated enough sequels, spin-offs, and DLC episodes over the years to partially saturate the market. Red Dead is the rare franchise that's undeniably huge and also still relatively fresh.
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