Ubisoft's Michael de Plater thinks that games have passed movies as the new big dog in town, but it's a double-edged sword: A rush of blockbuster titles makes it nigh-impossible to launch a new IP in the holiday market.
So, in case you haven't heard, this whole "gaming" thing is pretty big. Bigger than the gigantic film industry, even. In fact, games have taken the movies' place as the choice of blockbuster entertainment during the holiday season, says EndWar's creative director Michael de Plater - and most of us would agree with him.
But gaming's success comes at a price - the increasing quality (and advertising budget) of the biggest holiday titles means that it can be hard to launch a new IP around the lucrative Christmas season, lest it be overshadowed by big names in established franchises. We saw this problem last year, as games like Dead Space and Mirror's Edge were overshadowed by Call of Duty: World at War and the latest Madden.
"It's a bit tough to launch a new IP exactly at Christmas when you're head-to-head with blockbuster sequels," Ubisoft's Michael de Plater told GI.biz. "It's interesting to see a number of big titles, like Heavy Rain, being targeted at 2010 to avoid the Christmas rush ... [e]ven God of War 3's in 2010, that's how brutal it is."
Of course, de Plater isn't the only one who's noticed this - last Thursday, Capcom announced that Dark Void would be pushed back to early 2010, and that was just the latest in a long line of delays. Obviously publishers don't want to go head to head with games like Modern Warfare 2 and StarCraft II (well, that one's kind of iffy, to be fair).
Still, is moving everything to 2010 that much better? You'll still be running into the same problem, it'll just be in Q1 2010 instead of Q4 2009. That might even be more of a problem, considering that you won't have the benefit of the holiday sales rush, either.
It's good to see that the industry is growing to realize that you don't have to launch to capture that Christmas market, but really, you guys should look into trying to actually, y'know, space it out a bit. Summer's pretty empty as is - why not take advantage of that?