Year after year, we hear the phrase “Summer Blockbuster” when describing the most anticipated movie of the summer, and in most instances movie of the year. The time of year when school and university students have months off to indulge in the finest entertainment to tide them over until the next semester. This year’s hit summer films include The Amazing Spiderman and Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. With such highly anticipated titles with huge fan bases it is no wonder that these types of films are released in the summer. With many students having months of free time, why doesn’t the games industry take advantage of this season?
Most of the games industry is motivated by one thing… money. Just as E3 begins in June, we can normally tell when a game is going to be released. Major franchises such as Call of Duty, Halo and FIFA all arrive on the shop shelves sometime between September and November, better known as fall if you’re American. It’s the time of year when the next event which everyone is excited about is Christmas. Call of Duty, for example, is consistently released at the beginning of November so that there is a huge “buzz” for the game that everyone wants. Parents will be consistently asked by their youngsters for the game for Christmas etc. It makes sense to release the game at this time of year because of the high sales figures it can attract but there is nothing stopping it from being released when the weather is warmer (in the UK normally).
Normally, you would usually associate Hardcore gamers with students who, in-between studying part time, devote long hours of the day locked up in a dark room with the only form of human interaction is via a microphone to someone on the other side of the world. On the flip side of things, games such as Mass Effect 3, Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire and even GTA IV have all been released during spring. Even though these games are critically acclaimed and sell well, I believe they would do even better if released during July or August so that students can get the most out of these long and epic games.
I’m not suggesting that parents buy these titles for school children (apart from Mass Effect 3 because it’s rated 15) as this would become a violent game debate but certainly these type of genre defining titles could be released during summer so that every collectible can be found and the game can be completed 100% if the player chooses to. If the game is released when the player has other things happening in their life that may prevent them from playing games, the titles may be traded in quicker or not played to their full potential.
The overcrowding of games which are released in fall are also a problem, in my opinion. Great titles such as Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Assassin’s Creed 3, FIFA 13, NBA 2K13, Resident Evil 6 and Borderlands 2 will all be released in Fall this year but the question is, which one do you give more time to? I intend to buy most of these games (besides Call of Duty) but the time between the games are released and I work from 9-5, there is not enough time to play a game as much as you would like before another game you have been craving hits shop shelves.
For the few weeks which we have off here in the UK over Christmas is often spent with family, friends and indulging in the festivities and I believe that Summer (June, July or August) is the perfect time to release a game ahead of the overcrowded brilliant mass which we find ourselves at the tail end of each year. It’s all well and good developers and companies looking to make the most money during the most popular time of the year but what is wrong with spreading out releases and letting gamers enjoy themselves instead of creating a massive backlogs of games to play?
Obviously no huge games will be released this summer so please Gaming Industry, make next summer a season to remember and release a “Summer Blockbuster”.