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November's Insane Release Schedule and the Industry

Posted on Friday, November 4 @ 11:45:01 PST by

It's clear that we're in the heart of the Fall gaming season. Week after week, another megaton release hits store shelves, only to be quickly swept aside by the next major release. Next week, the week of November 6th, both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be available to gamers.

Both titles are in extreme demand, seemingly by everyone, everywhere, all the time. I don't think two such high-profile releases have ever occupied the same space like these two games. Ultimately, it has to be asked: Are all these major releases good or bad for the industry?

Examining MW3 and Skyrim in one week offers up a unique opportunity to say that both of these releases will ultimately mean amazing sales for the industry at large. MW3 and Skyrim attract very different gamers, and in one week seemingly every gamer everywhere will be making a purchase at their local retailer.

That's a win if I've ever heard one. In a billion-dollar industry, it's difficult to get every consumer to the register, let alone all at once, but video games are poised to do just that. Of course, looking at the larger picture offers a different take on the whole situation.

Games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution (released in August) have certainly gotten swept under the rug. Nintendo's key to success has always been long-tail sales where games continue to perform well for months on end. Square Enix's Deus Ex rebirth certainly won't do that with the Fall schedule we've had.

The same can be said of THQ's Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Sony's Resistance 3. Both games might have seen higher profile releases with bigger sales figures if they hadn't been released on the same day, sandwiched between other major releases and competing with Deep Silver's mixed-reviewed, yet commercially appealing zombie-slasher, Dead Island.

Ultimately, all of these new video games will benefit the industry at large, but individual publishers and developers will be hurting for lifetime sales numbers if they don't heavily discount their games quickly in the New Year.

Even timing the appropriate markdowns will be difficult with some of the hotly anticipated releases crowding late winter. Tell us what you think: Are all these tightly packed new releases a mistake? Will developers and publishers be swimming in money a la Scrooge McDuck? Are gamers the real winners with so much to play and so much to enjoy?

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