News Article

Retailers Call for Summer Blockbusters

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Too many games in Q4

Last December we complained about the overcrowded Holiday release schedule, making the simple point that being bombarded with too many games in the approach to Christmas was bad for gamers and publishers alike. The final three months of the year may be wonderfully exciting if you have deep pockets and a lot of spare time, but game companies often allow summer months to drift by with little excitement for gamers, before giving us more than we can handle in the winter.

It seems like retailers are starting to question the publisher's logic too, with HMV CEO Simon Fox telling MCV that the current scheduling is tough on game retailers and their customers.

We would love to see some blockbusters earlier in the year, there is no question about that whatsoever. It would be fantastic to have some summer releases when there is a real appetite from the customer to buy games. Huge blockbuster games so close together becomes unaffordable.

Blockbuster commercial director Gerry Butler has also makes a good point about the tactics employed in the movie industry.

The movie industry would never bring the Top 20 franchises together in Q4 and have nothing else for the entire year. There’s not a lot of triple-A games coming out in June. The movie industry just doesn’t do that. I’d like to see the publishers spread the titles out more evenly. That is better for them. And I do think over the next two to three years that will actually happen.

Although 3DS has some notable titles trickling out over the summer, the trends in the industry as a whole do suggest that most must-have games will arrive in a rush later in the year. What do you think? Do you agree with these retailers, or do you want publishers to keep saving the big guns for the Holiday period?


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User Comments (40)



JustAnotherUser said:

I'm so glad a retailer has said something.
I prefer it when great games are spaced out over several months rather having all of them released in the same month.
This applies for launch line-ups as well for me.




They should save a big game or two for Holidays, but it's imperative to have AAA titles in the summer. That's when kids get off of school and when people want to buy games. Videogame-less summers suck



Geonjaha said:

It's a very good point. Where are Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion and Paper Mario? We wont need this many games in Q4 alone. I do wish Nintendo would spread them out more.



C-Olimar said:

I usually use the summer lull in software to catch up with all the games I've missed in Q4 the year before and Q1 of the current year. It also helps that my birthday is in July. My mum's not allowed to buy games any more though - she bought Carnival and Big Beach Sports...



dizzy_boy said:

I`d have thought that it would make sense to bring out some must have games during the summer months. how on earth are parents ment to stay sane during the school brake if they can`t keep there kids numb infront of the tv?



JohnDoe123 said:

I don't have much time to play games, so having them spaced out more would give me more time to play each release.



SkywardLink98 said:

PLEASE space them out more. I can't afford $39.99 every week for a month! I'm under 18 so it's not like I'm employed, and it's not like some extra money from relatives is gonna get me the 10,000,000 games that come out in that time. If you spaced it out I could afford more games, and that's why I plan on getting Heroes of Ruin and how I was able to afford Kid Icarus: Uprising.



CanisWolfred said:

Lack of games? I got 4 games I want coming out this summer, and only 2 in the fall (early fall I might add). Sure they're not Triple A games from the biggest money grubbers around, but that's the point. These so-called droughts are so the smaller companies can have a fighting chance. If you want new games, expand your horizons. The games you want are there, you just don't know it yet.



jgary1 said:

It is utterly ridiculous that 95% of a year's releases occur within a few weeks around the holidays. Weeks later, many of these games have been reduced to bargain-bin prices b/c no human being could possibly play them all. Then, executives sit around and try to figure out what is wrong with the sales of video games. It is complete madness.



rjejr said:

I'm pretty sure in hindsight Enslaved wouldn't have released the same DAY as Casltevania Oct. 2010 and Rayman Origins probably could have done a lot better as a summer release - I mean just look at it all colorful and bright and 4 player offline, perfect for summer gaming. Games really do need to be spread out more. Either Mario Kart 7 or 3D Land should have been out over the summer - I'm going 3D Land, that game didn't need a holiday to sell. It seems the only time a good game comes out non-holiday is when it MISSES it's holiday release date - SSBB and LBP2 come to mind. But neither of those games NEEDED a holiday release, they were both going to sell big whenever. Maybe publishers will figure it out someday.



madgear said:

Games are too expensive, have a short shelf life and most get released the same time of year. So yeah, they do need to space them out a bit (and make them way cheaper). No one has the time or money to buy all those games at the same part of the year - it's impossible for even the most dedicated gamer to fit in more than a couple in that time.

They seem to forget that there's the summer holidays - over six weeks of free time for kids. Surely this is the time to release some lengthy titles. Kids also have birthdays all year round and adults? Well they don't need to wait for Christmas and birthdays and make up a huge portion of games buyers.

It seems games companies just want to drive themselves out of business sometimes. Yeah, people just get games for Christmas - that's the one time of the year. Let's all just compete against each other for one sales slot in an already overcrowded market.



BulbasaurusRex said:

I agree. The only interesting upcoming games I see are Pokémon Conquest, Lego Batman 2, and Retro City Rampage.



Urbanhispanic said:

Good points brought up by everyone. Like mickeymac said, the games you want to get don't have to be the mega status ones that get all of the gaming press. When the game drought is in effect, take the time to look at other games that are worth playing but don't get the attention they deserve. I have 4 games and they will keep me busy for a long while.



BenAV said:

I usually tend to find games I want throughout the year, but it is true that the most exciting ones usually come towards the end of the year.
That's all fine by me.
The only problem for me is trying to find the money to pay for them all, but if I know what's coming beforehand it gives me a chance to try to save up.
Time isn't so much of an issue, as my whole break from Uni comes at the end of the year.
I believe I have from about November until March off to play as much as I can.



Token_Girl said:

Not only are many kids and young adults on summer break - but high school/college aged people also often have jobs or work more hours in the summer - so more disposable income as well to buy games. the 15-25 year old demographic is a big one for game companies. Why not take advantage of it?



MAB said:

The whole comparing to the movie industry is a bit off mark. I haven't even bought a movie for 6 years and nothing of interest has caught my eye since. As for the gaming side of the spectrum there are games from 1-2 years ago that passed me by and I couldn't be bothered tracking em down tbh. It is a good idea to space out releases but developers have deadlines and push-backs that factor into the equation. Look at all the overblown underwhelming crap that movie studios have released in the last 20 years and the games industry is starting to head down this path already.



Spoony_Tech said:

I actually think Nintendo does a good job of this. Yes its true last year that they released Zelda and the two Mario's late but I don't think they had much of a choice on the two Mario's. I don't believe they were ready. They have already released kid Icarus. The new super Mario bros 2 will be out before Christmas. I also believe we will get a date for Luigi mansion 2 sometime in September! Animal crossing will probably slip to October. Then there will be some surprise titles for sure. Maybe a new metroid of donkey Kong country game! Or how about a new IP!




ouroborous said:

Yea, do this, release a few big-name or decent games at least once a quarter. That way it's staggered throughout the year a bit better. It's fine if you hold a few till Xmas but I get the feeling that alot of games are done and just held until then, and that's stupid (Luigi's Mansion 2, I'm looking at you~!). Just because it comes out before Xmas doesn't mean that you won't sell a bunch of copies for Xmas, that will always be a great time for sales, regardless of release date.



Sean_Aaron said:

The games industry really should work more like Hollywood and have more targeted release dates to maximise sales. More than one major title in a month seems like a mistake unless the target markets don't overlap.

The one exception is a new console launch, but otherwise, absolutely major releases should be better spaced out.



BudDudSlash said:

The 3DS seems to have this under control, with relatively-major releases coming every month, (Mario Tennis, Theathrhythm, Kingdom Hearts, Epic Mickey) and even a Super Mario title (NSMB2) coming in the summer.



IAmNotWill said:

Yeah this is true. Too many games to buy in November, especially if you multiple consoles.



mamp said:

Summer is when schools go out on break, people need something to do while notbeing busy with school.



H_Hunter said:

Define holiday period?
It's different from country to country.. so it doesn't really matter what time it hits..



odd69 said:

If games are 60$ a pop, then yea they should be spread out. Im sure many are tired of missing out on games, tired of playing tug of war over games. At this point i feel guilty if i dont support indie titles and downloadable games, so i have to pay for them along with the blockbusters. I end up spending all my extra cash and having a backlog the size of texas.



Luffymcduck said:

It´s nice to have great summer releases too. SSBB and Super Mario Galaxy 2 come first into mind.



Kitsune_Rei said:

I agree that they need to space big releases more. Granted there are big releases I skip, and plenty of not big games I look forward to, but its rough when they get bunched up and I have to choose. Though I'm currently fretting about Pokemon Conquest, Heroes of Ruin, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, and Rhythm Thief, and something else being in a close time period. And KH isn't all that far away either. I hope Animal Crossing doesn't show up at a time I something else I'd like is. Part of it is $$, but part of it is being able to devote the time to each game it deserves. I have trouble finishing games as it is.



Henmii said:

I can understand that retailers want more summer blockbusters, because that boosts their sales. But there is a reason why there aren't that many summer blockbusters: Most people don't buy many games during summer! Only die-hards (like myself) do that!!



japzone said:

Definitly Spread out. I can't afford all the good games coming out at the same time. Last Winter MK7, SM3DL, ect... all came out within a short distance of each other giving me a headache trying to decide which one to get. Another example of this annoyance is this Fall. Three Triple A titles are coming out for the Xbox360 within 2 weeks of each other: Assassin's Creed 3 on Oct.30, Halo 4 on Nov.6, and COD:Black Ops 2 on Nov.13. It's giving my friend a heart attack trying to choose between the three.



madgear said:

@MadAussieBloke Lol just because you haven't seen an interesting movie in six years, it doesn't mean it applies to the vast majority of the world. It's a bit like an old lady saying no one uses the Internet because she doesn't.



MAB said:

@madgear where in my post does it say that everybody should share my opinion. I was trying to say if you want games spread out through the year and everyone would like the games industry to be the same as hollywood be prepared for rushed unimaginative projects.



sketchturner said:

I so agree w/ spacing game releases. 2010 was the best year on Wii. Mario Galaxy 2, NBA Jam, Sin & Punishment 2, Metroid: Other M, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Sonic Colors. These games were nicely spread out and I bought them all on day one. It was the only year I've ever bought so many new games, and the fact they were spread out certainly helped.

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