Summer Releases: A Look to the Future
Written Tuesday, April 22, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
If you said to me 10 years ago that the gaming industry would eventually be releasing games in the summer, I would have probably laughed in your face and walked away muttering obscenities about your mental state under my breath. But now, the gaming industry has come so far that publishers are breaking the mould and summer releases are becoming more and more prevalent.
When was the last time a huge title such as GTA IV was released in April? Gears of War’s Emergence Day was 12th November. Halo 3 hit retailers on September 25th. Mass Effect was pushed out on 20th November. My point is, this sort of shenanigans was unheard of back in the early days of the gaming industry and is a true indication of how far it has truly come.
Dan Houser in a recent interview with Variety commented on the trend that has been set by the industry;
“It would be great for the videogame industry to move out… Christmas has always been big and it’s always going to be, but it’s gotten SO focused in videogames. I think for the next stage of its maturity as a business it needs to move out from anyway. It’s interesting to see what’s hopefully going to be the biggest release this year not going at Christmas.”
It’s not just the usually bullet-proof GTA franchise either, but Konami are following suit with Metal Gear Solid 4 on the PS3. They are also shooting out their killer app smack bang in the middle of the usual so-called “calm before the storm” period, otherwise known as June. When you think about it logically though, it makes perfect sense. It’s far enough away from Christmas so people have cash in their pockets and there is usually absolutely no competition [not as if that would make a difference with such a huge franchise such as this]. People don’t stop playing games in the summer, where that ideal came from is beyond me.
At the recent Take Two annual shareholder meeting, CEO Ben Feder even suggested that;
“…that the launch of GTA could be defining for our company and for the entertainment industry”
Woah, hold up a minute there Benny boy, isn’t that a little presumptive? The entertainment industry? That’s quite bold! Well in actual fact it’s not [presumptive that is, not bold]. Analyst Mike Hickey believes that the imminent release of GTA IV could “dampen the potential” of the upcoming Iron Man movie. Is it a real possibility that finally a game release can compete with the ultimate medium? Surely looks that way and it’s a sign of how the gaming industry is shaping up. I truly believe that the gaming industry won’t stop here. As we move closer and closer to more realistic and appealing stories and visuals, the gap between movies and games will move in the favour of games being the more popular medium. All we need then is Fox News to remove that stick from their ass and stop releasing unjustified and falsified news stories and the world of gaming will reign supreme.
I’ve always found “most” games to be better value for money when compared to movies anyway and a hell of a lot more engaging, especially the likes of GTA and Mass Effect. Comparing a £5/$10 movie ticket for a couple of hours of enjoyment to a game that costs £40/$60 [that’s not the exchange rate by the way, it just shows how much us Europeans have to pay] for what can be a 100 hours of gameplay, is like comparing Pepsi to Coke [yes, I so went there!!].
Typically, Q2 especially and the early part of Q3 has been a desolate period for us gamers. Not this year however, let me reel of a list of some pretty stellar titles that will be gracing us with their presence over the coming months…
May 23rd - Rock Band (Europe)
June 3rd - Ninja Gaiden II
June 12th - Metal Gear Solid (PS3)
June 20/24th - Alone in the Dark
June 23rd – Battlefield Bad Company
June 27th – The Bourne Conspiracy
Summer Release - Unreal Tournament III
July 31st – Soulcalibur IV
August 26th – Saints Row II
August 31st – Mercenaries 2
September 17th/19th – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Promising titles such as Splinter Cell: Conviction, Tom Clancy’s EndWar, GRID and Fallout 3 could also fall in and around this period. Now excuse me if I’m wrong but the summer actually looks more mouth-watering than the close of year. So it’s great to see the industry advancing at such a rate and now we have something to keep us occupied in the summer, because come on, let’s be honest, since this global warming lark kicked in, the summer [for us in the UK anyway] has been one big waste of time. Never have I seen so much rain. Either way, the lack of summer releases thankfully seems to be a thing of the past.