A reader is frustrated by the annual Christmas games rush and publishers’ insistence on releasing so many games at the same time.
There are always plenty of people highlighting the insanity of the Christmas games rush, but this year is just obscene and serves no one well.
On the Switch alone, The Witcher 3 is out in October, two weeks before Luigi’s Mansion 3. Who in their right mind is going to have the time and money to play both in that timeframe? Before that in September, Contra: Rogue Corps, Ori And The Blind Forest, and Zelda: Link’s Awakening are out within one week of each other, and that’s not even scratching the Switch’s surface.
The PlayStation 4 has Death Stranding on 8 November and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order seven days later. The Force of many gamers’ bank balances will be very weak by that stage.
Gamers don’t have to buy the games all at once of course. But if they leave something for a few months there will be another glut of titles released in the meantime. And do publishers really want to release a game for £40 in November, only for players to pick it up for £20 in February?
A few months back there was an interesting interview with one of GoldenEye 007’s developers saying it’s very difficult now for games to make a long-lasting impact, similar to that of the N64 classic, simply because there are too many.
I can see where he’s coming from because it’s becoming impossible to not only have the time to play games, but truly appreciate them.
Even games journalists don’t have the time to cover everything due to poorly managed release schedules. A while back GameCentral couldn’t review Timespinner and My Friend Pedro, games I’m sure they would have looked at in ordinary circumstances, because of the crazy scheduling around E3.
If reviewers don’t have time to play them, what hope is there for the rest of us?
It’s going to be a very damaging period for some companies over the next few months because with so many titles, sales will inevitably be split or games will get lost completely in the rush. They’ll blame poor performance on lack of demand or interest in the host format – which may be true in some cases. But in many instances the reality is that gamers, although genuinely interested in their product, have no choice to give it a miss.
Then there’s a narrative for companies to give up on that platform, the genre or even themselves and its employees who will end up suffering.
It feels like things are on the verge of imploding – I can think of about 20 to 30 games currently out now that I haven’t got round to and probably never will.
No doubt the big hitters will still do well regardless. Some releases are not only critic-proof, but Christmas-rush proof too. It just seems an unnecessary and unwinnable dog-eat-dog battle for everyone else.
The only positive I can see from game companies and their policy for self-inflicted damage is that pricey games will have to be permanently discounted to stand a chance. Great, a solution that ironically leads to exacerbating the problem.
As I write this, I’m realising why Konami has virtually given up on the games industry. Although if they were more active they would probably release a major title on 8 November.
By reader David Hamill
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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