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OPINION: Keep faith while the release schedule hibernates

Michael French
OPINION: Keep faith while the release schedule hibernates

That long wait for GTA V is going to seem quite painful.

While it’s worth paying some lip service to the few tent-poles the games industry will offer up this summer – The Last of Us, Splinter Cell, and Nintendo’s 3DS range – there’s no denying that the months ahead are going to be notably quiet for many sectors of games retail.

This was all foretold, of course, by the broad migration to ‘fewer but better’ announced by publishers as plans were made to cope for the new console transition. 

Smart forecasting mean most will be ready for this.

Yet the year-on-year comparisons aren’t going to look nice, that’s the problem. 

Such a slim release slate feels wrong. It feels like the industry is about to close for the summer.

Did someone drop the ball? A few well timed investments or releases in the twilight years of this generation might just have been a goldmine. BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider show that an appetite for freshness still exists. When it comes to the vanishing kids game market, it seems we gave it up to mobile and online too fast. Minecraft came to play and we let it take our lunch money, too. 

"This was all foretold, of course, by the broad
migration to ‘fewer but better’ announced by
publishers as plans were made to cope for the
new console transition. Smart forecasting mean
most will be ready for this. Yet the year-on-year
comparisons aren’t going to look nice,
that’s the problem."


And with digital generally still not covering the gap, it’s hard not to conclude that the glory days may never come back. Until, maybe, the PS4 and Next Xbox.  

Can retail do anything in the interim? 

Yes, I suppose. Merchandise and digital cards are one answer. Plus there are sales to organise.

But really, it’s time to play the waiting game.

If you’ve been in games long enough, you’ll know that half the drama is when the market swings from feast to famine and back again. 

Will those customers that drift off come back after the wait? It’s hard to tell. We’ve just got to hope that when the industry does properly reopen for business in mid-Q3 it’s got something to show people that we’re worth the investment. 

Water Crisis image via Shutterstock

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Tags: Retail , video games , summer , release schedule , drought , quiet , hibernation

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