Has 2010 Become Too Crowded with Game Releases?
By most estimates, a solid current generation AAA game takes about 4 years and $30 million to make. As a result, we are starting to get to a bulge in the middle of the anaconda, as games conceived around the launch of the PS3 and Xbox 360 lifecycles begin to near completion. Right now the critical decision for many publishers seems to be whether to push their games out the door in the holiday 2009 season and hope to reap the benefits of voracious Christmas spending, or wait and release the games in 2010 during a supposedly calmer time of year. Many publishers have decided upon the latter, delaying some very major game releases that will now stack on top of an already impressive 2010 lineup. This has led us to wonder, will 2010 simply have too many games vying for our attention?
During yesterday's financial conference call with investors, Take Two executives expressed regret that they will have to delay release of many of their hit titles into 2010. That means we can now expect BioShock 2, Mafia 2, Red Dead Redemption and possibly Agent all to release at some point next year. Oh, and the company also gave Max Payne 3 and the new GTA DLC a definitive 2010 release window as well. (with all these games on offer we should wonder why Take Two is still making downloadable episodes for GTA IV, but that is another story).
Just a day before the Take Two conference call, French developer Quantic Dream told the press that it would delay Heavy Rain until 2010. Ostensibly, this was to protect the brand new IP from competition by other strong franchises during the traditional Christmas month. Boy, are they in for a surprise.
The 2010 release schedule was already looking strong enough on its own. Not one but two new Final Fantasy installments, Deus Ex 3, The Last Guardian, God of War III, Halo Reach, Alan Wake, Castlevania, MechWarrior and a new Fallout game are already coming our way next year.
There is an old aphorism that goes something like, "you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many video games to play." So as gamers, we probably shouldn't complain. We worry more about cutthroat competition between publishers and the possibility that great games might slip under the radar. Darling indie projects should be very wary of releasing in 2010, and might consider pushing to release in holiday 2009 when, paradoxically, competition could be thinner.
Rockstar's Red Ded Redemption is just one of the many game releases competing for attention in 2010.
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