Microsoft comes under fire for a new Dead Rising 4 email advertisement that is accused of featuring a racial slur, prompting Major Nelson to issue an apology to fans.
Anyone that is signed up for Microsoft’s newsletters should be used to receiving emails from the company promoting its upcoming games. It appears as though Microsoft is largely footing the bill for marketing the PC and Xbox One timed-exclusive Dead Rising 4 as well, as it recently set out an email to Xbox owners hyping the game and its holiday theme by showing Frank West with his arms around a couple of costumed zombies. Unfortunately, there was an oversight with the email, prompting Xbox’s Major Nelson to release an official apology on Twitter.
The body of the email is a picture of Frank West and a pair of zombies that states “All We Want for the Holidays” with a zombie Christmas carol written below it. However, the subject of the Dead Rising 4 email reads “NNNNGGGHHHAAA,” which some believe sounds like a racial slur. In his tweet, Major Nelson insists that it is supposed to be interpreted as a zombie roar, but acknowledges where people could take it as a racial slur. Phonetically, it does sound like the slur in question, and so Nelson apologized and promised to “do better next time.”
However, one has to wonder how this marketing blunder even made it to the public in the first place. Its potential to offend seems obvious, but perhaps the Xbox marketing team are overwhelmed with the holiday season and the impending Black Friday sales, resulting in this email slipping through the cracks.
Whatever reason the email was released, all Microsoft can do now is apologize (as Major Nelson has already done), and do its best to avoid similar situations in the future. After all, the company wouldn’t want a reputation of consistently making these glaring mistakes, as it could end up costing Microsoft sales if enough people are offended by its marketing materials.
Continued issues could also see Capcom question its relationship with Microsoft. With Microsoft handling the publishing and marketing duties for Dead Rising 4, Capcom is entrusting its IP to the company, and expecting it to preserve its reputation. If these mistakes continue, it’s possible that we may see future Dead Rising games showcased during PlayStation’s presentation at E3 in the future, as opposed to popping up during Microsoft’s E3 conferences.
In the future, expect Microsoft to be a bit more cautious before it sends out emails to the public. And in the short-term, it will be interesting to see if this controversy has a negative impact on Dead Rising 4‘s sales, or if its promise of letting players return to the iconic Willamette Mall will be too much to pass up.
Dead Rising 4 will be available on December 6, 2016 for PC and Xbox One.
Source: VG 24/7