When I sat down to decide what to write for this weeks article, I’ll admit, I was out of ideas. I couldn’t think of anything to write. I had just got back into playing games, thanks to Spider-Man, I had played games like 3 times last week. This was a big improvement, and I’ve been enjoying my games again, sort of essential when you write things for a gaming website, no? Anyway, my gaming mojo was back, the world seemed brighter, even though, ironically I was spending more time in a darkened room, and all was as it should be. However, my ideas bank had been robbed, I was out. I started to trawl the internet for ideas and stories that might spark something… I looked and looked…
It was in my most desperate hour, that I clicked on my Amazon link, and started to look at upcoming games. I wanted a lot of them. Halo 4, Assassin Creed 3, Black Ops 2, Forza Horizon, the new Gears of War, and then of course there was the Wii U stuff. My wish-list was straining under the weight of gaming goodness, and then I realised something, something that had bothered me for a few years now, well, ever since I stopped asking Santa for games and had to buy my own. The Holiday period is ridiculously busy. Wow huh? What a revelation!! I bet you all didn’t see that coming? I bet no one has ever mentioned this before? Well OK, it’s not an original thought, but it has got to the point where I thought I needed to write something about it, I beg your indulgence in this, remember, I was out of ideas!!
Now I get why the Holiday period is so busy. It’s the time of year when a lot of presents are purchased, it’s Christmas for crying out loud (or indeed, your holiday of choice). Publishers clamour to get there annual big titles out between October and December so that we can all go crazy and buy the games as gifts, or selfishly treat ourselves. I know last year I personally bought Skyrim, WWE’12, MW3, Gears of War 3, Forza, Assassins Creed, RAGE and Arkham City, all within the space of a few months. Now when I look at that list, I realise I bought more games in that period than the rest of the year put together. I spent far too much money on games. It was lucky I had split up with my girlfriend earlier in the year, as it not only allowed me to spend all that money on games, but gave me the time to play, (some of) them.
Much as Summer is the Blockbuster season at the cinema, the run up to the Holidays is the blockbuster season for the games industry. But is it getting a bit much? Is too much awesomeness all at once, well, too much? I think so. With the rush for the holiday market, some games get lost in the scrum. I know I haven’t had time for Forza, or Assassins Creed, and haven’t touched RAGE at all really. What works for films, doesn’t really work for games. A huge blockbuster can come out every week at the cinema. People will always go and see it, because A) movies a relatively cheap compared to games (I can’t believe I just typed that) and B) a movie is over in 3 hours tops, they don’t drain your time like games do. All but the most dedicated gamer can’t finish all the big holiday games the week they come out? Can they? I certainly didn’t. I’m thus left with the problem of playing catch up on games, and I don’t know about you but I very seldom go back to a game if I haven’t played it for a few months, it kind of loses it’s shine.
How to solve this problem then? Well for a start, I think it’s obvious that it is never going to be solved, at least not in the way I’m suggesting. Also, I know that not all big releases are holiday releases, but it remains clear that the biggest of the big games are holiday period releases, the fact is inescapable. So can you, dear reader, guess my suggestion for the problem of clumped together games releases? Yes that’s right, stagger the damn releases. It would take a brave publisher to break the habit of a lifetime, and lose potential sales in the big Christmas push, but perhaps, as a stand alone release, without the competition of all the other huge games, gamers would buy the game regardless, as in the desolate Summer season, games are pretty sparse. A huge game might sell very well under these conditions. Staggered releases would certainly be preferable to me.
The more I thought about this, other thoughts flooded my head. What if the big games took a year off now and again? Is it just me that doesn’t find MW/COD that exciting any more, due to the fact that every year we are bombarded with a new version? Take a year off, support your game with more DLC if need be, but a year off would build excitement for a new edition of a series. It would also perhaps give other games a chance to shine. Smaller, new I P’s, games such as Singularity, which was excellent by the way, are lost, no one cares, especially Activision. Give COD a break for a year, and push a game like Singularity, and perhaps you might have a new hit on your hands. Look at the excitement that is building for the new Bioshock. Every time I see it it looks better and better, and having to wait for it is making the game seem that much more of an event. Much like in the film world, waiting 10 years for The Hobbit has increased my want to see the films. I can’t wait till December to watch it, and the wait has added to it greatly.
None of this is going to happen. This year I will probably buy as many games as last, and the cycle will go on. I know this hasn’t been a revelatory article, but sometimes, the simple stuff needs to be said, or re-said. It would be a shame for the games industry to stagnate in a loop of annual releases, at least for the biggest games. Anyway that’s my two cents (or pence) on the matter. Catch you soon.