If May Didn’t Sentence Your Wallets To Death With Video Game Releases, Q1 2017 Surely Will
May 2016 has been, for the most part, a very good month for those who love video games thanks to the release of many highly anticipated titles. The month however was an anomaly compared to previous years, as it was literally packed with releases, both big and small. While good on paper, such a situation forces most players to make choices, choices that damage developers and publishers alike.
A few months back, we have noted all that has been mentioned above, hoping that publishers would avoid creating a similar situation in the future. Thanks to our superior powers of indirect persuasion, some titles such as Mirror's Edge Catalyst and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter indeed got delayed to June, a considerably lighter month, but it seems publishers didn't get the message completely. If your wallets survived May 2016, get ready to bring them to the gallows early next year.
During E3 2016, publishers have confirmed release dates for several high profile titles, some of which were supposed to release this year, like PS4 exclusives Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nier: Automata, Tekken 7 and others. Right before the E3, other publishers confirmed an early 2017 release date for other titles like Playtronic's Yooka-Laylee, Atlus' Persona 5, while others confirmed delays, like inXile for Torment: Tides of Numenera. The end result is the same as May: a few weeks packed with video game releases.
Opening the time of madness is Resident Evil 7, launching in the end of January on PC and consoles, just three days before Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. Ubisoft's For Honor, Persona 5, Sniper Elite 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Halo Wars 2 and Tom's Clancy Ghost Recon: Wildlands are all set to launch in February or early March in Ghost Recon's case. Some of these titles are going to be massive, so where's one supposed to find the time, let alone money, to enjoy these games? Let's not forget that there's plenty of high profile games launching in the final months of 2016, games that also require some time to be completed like Watch Dogs 2, South Park: The Fractured But Whole and others., and games with solid multiplayer portions like Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered that players will enjoy for months.
And all this is not counting games scheduled for a Q1 2017 release without solid dates such as Tales of Berseria, Mass Effect: Andromeda and the previously mentioned Nier: Automata, Tekken 7, Yooka-Laylee and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
But there's more. It seems like several of the high profile games crowdfunded via Kickstarter are due to release in this timeframe, with Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night scheduled for release in March 2017. Harebrained Schemes' BattleTech game is also expected to launch in early 2017, though it could easily slip into Q2. Finally, we know of at least two more intriguing titles that could very well come out in the first quarter of next year: Sea of Thieves and ELEX. As for the former, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg mentioned during E3 that Sea of Thieves should come out in the same window of Halo Wars 2, due in February. Piranha Bytes' ELEX is pinned for an early 2017 release as well, according to the Steam page.
Unlike May, there are financial reasons for releasing highly anticipated games in this time frame, with the end of the fiscal year coming on March 31st. Still, for the exact same reason, wouldn't it be more reasonable to shift releases? My limited free time will force me to make a choice this February, so I will, most likely, choose to invest time in Persona 5, to the detriment of all the other interesting titles releasing close to it, like For Honor and Horizon: Zero Dawn. And this only if either Nier: Automata or Tales of Berseria don't release close to Persona 5: in this case, my long lasting love for Platinum Games and the Bandai Namco series will prevail. No matter what, and not believing in backlogs, the end result will be the same: if I am willing to get any other of the games I have passed on at release in the following months, there's no way I am going to purchase them at full price. And here's just a small example of the losses in which publishers can incur for cramping releases like this.
As mentioned above, things did change a bit following our piece on May. A fortuitous coincidence or higher powers at work? We believe the latter. And since we value the life of your wallets, we will be putting our powers to the service of the gaming community once again; let's hope that publishers will come to their sense and space their releases in a better way so that all, from gamers to the publishers themselves, can reap the benefits of such exciting times for the video games industry.