April Fools Day may be the annual holiday for pranks, tomfoolery, and hijinks, but doing them at work can cause more trouble than it’s worth. If a prank goes wrong and upsets a colleague or leaks to the public, it could be a disaster. One company that is well aware of this is Xbox platform-holder Microsoft.
In an internal memo sent out by Microsoft marketing chief Chris Capossela, the company has told employees not to pull off any April Fools Day pranks in the office. While the Microsoft executive recognizes that “people may have devoted time and resources to these activities,” Capossela wrote that “data tells us these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.” Also noting the “headwinds the tech industry is facing today,” Capossela asks Microsoft teams not to do any “public-facing” April Fools Day pranks.
While some may be disappointed that Microsoft isn’t getting in on the fun, others will argue that Capossela is right. A poorly thought out April Fools Day prank could lead to severe public backlash and this could quickly lose a company money. Activision Blizzard’s stock price fell following the backlash to Diablo Immortal, which many thought was initially a joke. Making a prank announcement of a product, feature, or device before later confirming it was a joke is an easy way to annoy fans and lose money.
However, while Microsoft is sitting this one out, that doesn’t mean that other tech and gaming companies will follow suit. April Fools Day has traditionally been the tech industry’s time to shine. There have been some great cases of pranks gone right. Some of the best gaming April Fools’ Day jokes in 2018 were a Final Fantasy 14 version of Pokemon GO, Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt RED hiring a dog as an environment designer, and Tekken 7 getting an unexpected new character.
In other years, we’ve also seen Nintendo announce a fake Fire Emblem game and one rogue Valve employee announce a Half-Life 3 release party. Some aren’t afraid of the backlash if it means they’ll get a laugh.
In 2019, these companies could also go bigger. id Software could jokingly announce Doom Eternal for the Apple Watch, Bethesda Game Studios could announce that it is porting Skyrim to smart fish tanks, and Sony could announce the PlayStation Vita 2. Only one of those has the potential to upset people. So while Microsoft isn’t up for doing April Fools Day pranks, there are plenty of others who will happily take the company’s place.
Image source: Wikimedia – Coolcaesar with a Creative Commons license
Source: The Verge