It's a strange thing to suggest. Even I feel uncomfortable writing this post. A publisher having the gull to release a hugely anticipated game during the summer months, right in between the major gaming conferences? An unprecedented suggestion; who would be stupid enough? I know, right?!?!?!
While late August technically isn't the summer, I'm taking some liberties with this post anyway. The early release date of Deus Ex: Human Revolution boosted sales. Square Enix purposefully committed to this week because no competitors are out and the resurgence of an older franchise is a risky gamble. The collection of high-profile titles this holiday season was guaranteed a prime factor in the conversation for when to put the game out to the public. Pitting Deus Ex versus any franchise coming out before Christmas would have been the dumbest possible business move and the game would surely get slaughtered sales-wise.
Does this sound familiar? Rockstar made the same estimate when reviving Red Dead. Last year's unanimous Game of The Year, Red Dead Redemption was released in May, avoiding titles like Bad Company 2, Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2. Lotso' sequels. Through brilliant marketing and word-of-mouth, the game exploded up the charts and ended the year incredibly strong. Without the Rockstar branding, it would have been killed if the publisher had sought a date before Christmas.
Predictably being the only major title released in a month means the entire industry is focused on that one game. The isolation can only be good, right? My understanding is the buzz involving the conferences dies down quickly after it's over and that leaves reporters questioning what to write about. Conveniently having a major game to come out eerily between conferences means more exposure from the gaming media and that translates into more sales. But I'm darting around the question: Why don't publishers take advantage?
Being a blogger, the summer is an atrocious time. Most of the games in my collection I'm done, or refuse to play again because I'm no fan of experiencing the same thing twice. (Mass Effect 2 is one exception.) So for a publisher to pepper in a release means more content coming my way and more content for the audience to enjoy. The same thing goes for all gaming news outlets. It works out for everyone.
When major publishers finally realize that Christmas is not the hub of game sales anymore, release dates should spread throughout the year. October alone will empty wallets, then November creeps up and reminds us that Christmas sucks sometimes. Jeff out.