Industry tackles end-of-year bottleneck

Ben Parfitt
The last two weeks of releases have been the craziest of 2007 – but retail is doing a bang on job of ensuring that all festive big hitters get the exposure they deserve.

That was the proud view of an overworked channel this week, as yet another slew of triple-A titles fill up store shelves today.

This week sees the release of Christmas number one contenders such as Sega’s Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games, Eidos’ Kane And Lynch: Dead Men, Microsoft’s Mass Effect, EA’s Need For Speed: Pro Street and Activision’s Guitar Hero III. These titles will fight for the attention of consumers with a host of huge releases from last week, such as Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed and Nintendo’s Super Mario Galaxy.

But Gamestation’s head of product Anna Downing told MCV that the retailer was prepared for the onslaught.

“This time of year proves a huge challenge, however we alter our Christmas ratecard and spacing accordingly. And with footfall increasing on a weekly basis throughout November and December we can re-promote titles.”

Amazon’s video games manager Nick Arran added: “We rely on these peak weeks too much as an industry. But as an online retailer we can allow publishers to get the most out of their products.”

And publishing giants promise they are looking forward to a less crowded Q4 next year.

Microsoft’s European Xbox boss Chris Lewis said: “The biggest appetite for title consumption is now – it’s a sweet spot. But as the industry grows you’re going to see more consistent delivery of titles throughout the year.”

And Capcom’s senior director of marketing Michael Pattison added: “It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a bottleneck at the end of year. But, as we found when we released Lost Planet back in January, timing across the whole year is important.”

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Tags: games release schedules , q4 rush

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