So around this time last year, we as consumers had a plethora of games to choose from. From January we received Saints Row IV, Dying Light, the remaster for Resident Evil, Grim Fanango, and Life is Strange. Then February came around with Evolve, Majora’s Mask remaster, Monster Hunter 4, The Sims 4, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, The Order: 1886, Dragonball: Xenoverse, and Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires.
In addition to these, people were still playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, Halo: The Masterchief Collection, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5, Super Smash Bros Wii U, and the Dark Below Expansion for Destiny.
Now the quality of these games aside (yes, I am aware of how poor many of these turned out to be), that doesn’t change the fact that there were more than enough options for gamers to dabble in while we wait until the next E3 to peak interests.
This year strangely, we seem to have an absence of games to play. While we wait for the Division and Far Cry: Primal, we’re left with the collection that has come out so far:
Lego Marvel: Avengers, The Witness, Firewatch, Unravel, Layers of Fear, Street Fighter V, and…. oh yes, that’s all of them (worth mentioning). I’ll give you that there were some games that people may still be playing from late last year: Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Star Wars: Battlefront, Just Cause 3, Rainbow Six: Siege, Halo 5: Guardians, and Xenoblade Chronicles X. But even still, these games hardly compare to the list above. It might be enough if you’re a consumer with a Ps4, Xbox One, Wii U, and a gaming PC, but I would argue that at most only have maybe one or two, leaving you with pretty slim pickings.
So why the halt in production all of the sudden? I would think that you would want to find a window of minimal other releases to maximize on sales from gamers like me looking for something to occupy time until the next big release. In fact, if you look at last year, that’s exactly what made games like Dying Light and Evolve so financially successful at their launches. Nothing against the games themselves, but they both released in windows of opportunity, and gamers went and ate it up. I consider this to be the “Watch Dogs” effect, where a game with enough marketing and attention, no matter how good or bad, will sell like crazy as long as it is released in a time of drought.
In addition to the lack of games out currently, the games from last year’s end didn’t exactly blow any minds. With a combination of them either being system exclusives, multiplayer only, or a few open world games that can be conquered in a matter of weeks, there weren’t any “Grand Theft Auto” awards being dished out.
Now I’m not naive or silly enough to believe that every game needs to be a “GTA” or a “Skyrim”. And I understand that those kinds of games are few and far between, and take a considerable amount of time to make. And yes, I know that release dates are hard to stick to and complications can come up that force games to get pushed back. But if I were a game developer, I feel like hitting that window would be like winning the lottery for your respective game, more so than trying to fit it into a late Fall release with a collection of other major companies’ products.
Maybe I’m just complaining from boredom, and I can admit to gaining a small sense of joy from the collection of indie releases that get a chance to make a name for themselves. I just feel like there is a missed opportunity here for companies that are more concerned about getting their product out by Christmas rather than waiting a few months for the market tides to settle. Here’s to waiting for The Division and Far Cry: Primal!