When it comes to video games, the months leading up to Christmas are full of releases. It’s been the industry standard for decades and gamers have come to expect that most big name games have target release dates around the holiday season. Although in recent years, the number of games crammed into September through November has exploded. It’s time for this outdated practice to stop.
Many great games don’t get the coverage they deserve
At any other time of the year, video games like Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7, and Super Mario 3D Land would get lots of hype. Even the Halo Combat Evolved 10th Anniversary release has been buried under the sheer weight of too many new games. Instead, they seem like afterthoughts in the midst upcoming games like of Battlefield 3 or Uncharted 3.
It’s almost impossible to buy and play every game you want this time of year
Unless you’re independently wealthy and don’t have a job, house, spouse, or kids, there’s no way gamers can afford the time and money to enjoy every release that interests them around Christmas. This may seem like a minor dilemma, but it does get frustrating for a number of reasons. Video games are expensive, with new ones costing around $60.00 and that doesn’t include the super, fancy editions. Additionally, with RPGs and titles with multiplayer modes, it’s not unusual to spend over 100+ hours on one game. Don’t forget that if other people in your house are also gamers, they want their 100+ hours too.
M rated games aren’t Christmas gifts for kids
The practice of holiday release dates began when video games where marketed solely towards children and families. There weren’t any ratings and the most powerful console on the market only had 8-bits of graphics. That was over 25 years ago. From graphics to content, video games have drastically changed during those years. No longer is gaming seen as just a child’s hobby. Thanks to the ESRB, kids can’t even buy many of the Christmas time releases, like Call of Duty and Skyrim. The average gamer is in their mid 30s. It’s not like we’re waiting to make sure we’re on Santa’s “nice” list before we can play a new game.
Games don’t need a Christmas release date to make money
Grand Theft Auto IV, Batman Arkham Asylum, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and BioShock are just a few titles that gained financial and critical success without a holiday release. Although, the summer months are typically short on highly anticipated releases. In recent reports, the sale of games fell 37% in August from last year. One reason mentioned for the slump was the delay of Madden 2012. Gamers will buy new titles regardless of when they come out, but it’s hard to do so when next to nothing is releasing.
Releasing and delaying games so they can be holiday hits is getting old. The average gamer isn’t a kid anymore and franchises like GTA and BioShock have proven that a Christmas release date doesn’t make or break a game. When most of the year’s “must have games” are available within weeks of each other, other great titles will certainly be overlooked. Here’s to hoping that 2012 is a more balanced year in gaming.