Traditional Friday game launches are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Publishers are ditching end-of-week releases as pressure mounts to make each and every game a global super-hit.
Big Call of Duty-sized blockbusters have often arrived on Tuesdays to coincide with their US launches. But that’s now expanding to a wider range of titles, including Kinect Star Wars, Prototype 2, The Witcher 2 and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.
According to GfK Chart-Track data, the current trend began in 2007 with two games – Halo 3 and World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade – hitting shelves mid-week. That’s grown every year, and already in 2012 there are ten confirmed games arriving before Friday.
“Having a single launch date across as many territories as possible makes the launch easier to communicate, easier to implement and from a marketing perspective makes it feel like a much bigger event,” explained PlayStation UK PR chief David Wilson.
“Tradition and working practices in the UK often drive the Friday model, but global launches and imperatives to get UK consumers a triple-A title at the same time as their continental European counterparts may well deliver more exceptions to the rule in the future.”
Microsoft’s Halo 4 is among the big titles getting a Tuesday release this Xmas. “It’s the most appropriate day for global releases – and for the global launch of one of the biggest entertainment franchises of the year,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.