Dead or Alive Xtreme 3’s US and EU “Cancellation” is Being Used as a Marketing Ploy

Play Asia are jumping on the bandwagon, and it's imaginable that Koei Tecmo will, too.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

There are a vast amount of misconceptions being banded about online in regards to the apparent “cancellation” of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3‘s launch in the US and EU. We wrote about this yesterday, but for those not currently up to speed on Video Game Controversy #693, publisher Koei Tecmo has seemingly decided to refrain from launching the boobs ‘n’ beach sports game in those regions because, and this is a quote taken directly from Dead or Alive‘s official Facebook page, of “issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry.” In layman’s terms, this would suggest that the game is not being released on these shores because of the ongoing debate surrounding the representation of women in games, and because the Dead or Alive Xtreme series has always been one focused upon the overt sexualization of its scantily-clad female characters.

Those who like to jump to outrage regarding the progressive “agenda” being inserted into their video games have been quick to lay the onus of blame at the feet of pesky “SJWs,” despite this decision quite clearly resting solely on Koei Tecmo’s shoulders. I wrote more about this yesterday, so feel free to have a read. The overarching theory among these individuals seems to be that so-called SJWs have somehow banned the game from appearing in the US and EU, or that it has somehow been “censored” (despite the game having never been penned in for a Western release since its announcement, and it having only ever been scheduled to release in Japan, and that also not being the correct usage of the word censored). 

Rather than those who were looking forward to DOAX3 in the West (even though, again, it was never slated for a Western release) coming to the reasonable conclusion that, actually, no one outside of Koei Tecmo has prohibited the game from launching here, and that there has been minimal – if any – outrage in regards to the game (even the news that the game would feature PS4-exclusive “tan lines and bikini malfunctions” came and went with nary a complaint), instead many have already jumped to the conclusion that someone other than Koei must have somehow barred the game from gaining entry to these shores. As such, there’s now a growing campaign to get the game released in the US/EU and game import sites such as Play Asia are busy herding up and then pandering to the enraged in exchange for a meal ticket. And, whaddayaknow, it’s working!

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While DOAX3 would have enjoyed a small audience in the West (Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball enjoyed a reasonable amount of success, while DOAX2 saw the series’ fortunes drops considerably), the game is now a hot topic by virtue of this contrived controversy. We can’t say for sure whether or not this was a pre-planned marketing ploy on behalf of Koei Tecmo, but if it was, then it has worked wonderfully. By making a comment basically saying how they weren’t going to release DOAX3 in the US or EU because they couldn’t be bothered to face any criticisms the game might receive in regards to its portrayal of women, Koei Tecmo have now seen a swelling support for its release, with its Facebook page littered with comments from people urging them to fight against the “SJWs” and bring their game to the West. 

As I predicted on Twitter like a modern day gaming Nostradamus, a Change.org petition has been set up to convince Koei Tecmo to release the game in the US and EU, complete with the hilariously hyperbolic paragraph: “People care about this game. They have been looking forward to it and yearned for the fun they will have when they get to play it. Now they won’t, and the reason for it is because somebody else doesn’t want them to. I cannot accept this. I won’t live in a world where the comfort and happiness of a human being can be so effortlessly taken away from them by outside influences. For our lives and our hometowns, we must resist. Please, help us bring joy back to our industry and to our hobby.”

Play Asia have also been busy working up a social media storm, claiming that the game won’t be releasing in the US and EU due to “SJW nonsense” before providing a link to their imported version of the game. The tweet has garnered nearly 1,500 retweets at the time of this writing, and Play Asia’s number of followers has swelled from people supporting them, helped along by prominent figures within gaming journalism stating that they will boycott the site due to their comments.

It’s obscenely transparent, manufactured outrage, which we’ve seen countless times over the past year or so in the gaming industry, though people buy into it with alarming gusto. It’s easy to predict that Koei Tecmo will pull a 180 on us and announce, beneath a celebratory shower of confetti, that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will be releasing in the US and EU due to popular demand, and the game will then go on to achieve greater sales than it ever would have done previously, with people who would not have been interested in the game prior to this controversy picking it up to show their support for the publisher in the face of adversity. 

But there was no adversity. Few were talking about DOAX3 prior to this debate. No one had stated that the game shouldn’t be released in the West, nor was there any push for its content to be censored. People are now essentially willing Koei Tecmo to overcome a hurdle that they have placed in front of themselves, and are prepared to reward them for having done so by purchasing a game that the publisher never planned to release outside of Japan in the first place.

As an outsider looking in and witnessing this debacle go down exactly as I had expected it to, the situation would be laughable if it were not so depressing that people are so quick to fall for thinly-veiled marketing ploys. Until then, I can only admire that these same marketing tactics continue to be employed, and the same group of people continue to buy games that they do not want as a result.