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Could The Flood Of AAA Titles Hurt The Flood of New IP This Quarter?
Published on September 27, 2007 By iTZKooPA In Gaming
So another bigger title has been added to the mix of the Holiday release schedule, which seems to now even include October and possibly even September with the recent releases of BioShock and Halo 3. At the same time there have been a few titles that have been pushed back to Q1 2008 or even more specifically, just after the Holidays including Midway's AAA offering Blacksite: Area 51, The Club and recently Assassin's Creed the later of which I can't wait to get my hands on.

Every gamer knows that in recent years publishers have been flooded Q4 with the standard rehash of the same games and direct sequels and naturally we always complained about this, I mean we are an incredibly vocal community. But this year seems to be a gamer's wet dream, or is it? Personally I am beginning to get a bit worried about the sheer amount of supposed AAA titles that are going to be coming out in the next few months. I am a gamer in the know, so I probably know about a few more titles than most but I will just rattle off a few that I can think of off the top of my head. For the PC and consoles we have the aforementioned BioShock and Halo 3 as well as Crysis, Mass Effect, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Tabula Rasa, Half-Life 2: The Orange Box, Hellgate: London, Universe At War: Earth Assault, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Rock Band, and Unreal Tournament III in no particular order. That's 18 games right the top of my head and although gamer's may not agree on them all, and surely I have missed a few that list is not exactly my point. I am not worried about the sales of the known franchises, Super Mario and Metroid will do great on the Wii, Guitar Hero will be another success, Unreal Tournament will no doubt continue its massive following. Its not these franchises that worry me.

As I mentioned before, this holiday season is full of original IP that is also being marketed as AAA titles. The above list includes 8 of the 18 titles, almost half of them. Being original IP their maybe many more that I couldn't think of off the top of my head, so if I missed anything big, its probably an original. Oh an I left off expansion packs, stand-alone or not. So what's my point, well that with so many big titles being dropped this year the industry maybe flooding itself, setting it up for a big fall.

My worst fear is that a lot of the AAA titles don't meet their mark because there are just too many titles even in this heavy shopping quarter. That's bad in and of itself, if it happens you can expect to see a lot of publisher's stock reports missing marks and then trying to cut costs and possibly squeezing out any stewing original ideas or closing development houses, depending just how bad it is. Due to this only the best known games may push their desired units, which will generally be any game that is from a franchise. Thus causing the lesser known or new IPs to miss their projected sales figures, possibly giving them a death knoll and the end of what could be another great franchise. I hope that as the holiday season really ramps up companies may reevaluate their release schedules and shifts things around targeting specific windows to release new IPs or at least recognize the danger that the juggernaut of titles may keep their numbers down a bit more than expected.

I hope to god that I am wrong, and that any game worth its salt will be seen by the gaming public and purchased or that some publishers recognize the danger to their new IP and continue to make Q1 2008 more interesting. I just don't want more classics like Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem or Psychonauts falling through the cracks.

on Sep 27, 2007

I've complained in the past that too many publishers target that Q4 period for releasing their wares and I really wish that they wouldn't.  I'm happy when there's a great game released in say February that comes out with little or no competition.  It gives me an opportunity to pick up that game and concentrate heavily on it while waiting for the next big game which might come out in say April.  Spread the releases out and give me a chance to buy them over the course of the year, rather than all at once and me luv you long time.  Cram 'em all together and drive me to bankruptcy because there are too many releases, too little cash, and too many other things going on (uh, Christmas gifts for others anyone?) and all you do is make me frustrated.

As observed in the article here, there are just too many games that get pushed into that supposed make or break period between September and Christmas and it's just crazy.

I doubt that game manufacturers will ever learn.  They rush games to market (which is a terrible decision) to get nearly finished and very buggy products into the hands of customers, or they fret over the idea of missing the fourth quarter when they need to get the sales income for their game because they put all of their eggs into that basket.

Stupid practice.  Very stupid.

on Sep 27, 2007
If they didn't ruin great games trying to rush them out, I would not be so against it. But seriously, if you cared less about when it comes out and more about product quality, it would not matter when it came out in the year. See, a great game can make sales for a year at $50, especially if it wasn't all bought up in the Christmas rush. If reviewers can't find much to say about it bad, and a lot of people are having fun with it, there's going to be a lot of kids who are waiting for Christmas or their birthday for the game. At least if they WANT to buy it earlier, they can. But don't advertise its release date until you're very sure about it.