Game Delays - Bad News or Good News?
The game due in Q4 2014 has been delayed, we apologise for any inconvenience caused
If there’s one thing that gets a gamer’s dander up it’s when a title they’re looking forward to gets delayed. A mere mention of the ‘d’ word is enough to bring about a sigh of disappointment and anecdotes of past games which were subject to a push back.It seemed that towards the end of the last generation no game was safe from a delay, it almost felt inevitable. The trend looks like it has carried over onto the new platforms too with the great Watch_Dogs debate being a troubling sign of things to come.
With the switch to different hardware, there was always going to be a transitional period where developers became acquainted with the new systems and what they were capable of; Capcom have stated that development periods for the latest generation of systems are now up to eight-to-ten times longer. This is perfectly normal and acceptable, with the best of the Xbox One and PS4 yet to come in the next few years.
Of course, it’s disappointing to see some of the titles you’re looking forward to getting shunted back (I’m looking at you Batman and The Order) but when you take a look at the bigger picture, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your bank balance can obviously release a temporary sigh of relief as a busy end-of-year schedule becomes less crammed.
As the cost of gaming increases, along with the cost of living, the pastime at the cutting edge is becoming a luxury even faster than before. This results in many gamers cherry-picking the titles they're likely to spend on, with very few picking games up on a whim anymore. So imagine the disappointment of many when they have forked out for a release that is incomplete and / or broken just like Battlefield 4 was. It’s not acceptable and publishers / developers should know better, as people become savvier with their money. It’s easier than ever for consumers to smell a rat; with a couple of taps of a mobile phone or tablet they can view numerous previews, reviews and opinions making it simpler to identify which games they should spend their cash on.
With this in mind, are these delays that we are seeing a sign of developers and publishers becoming more responsible for their titles and raising the quality of the final product? It certainly seems that way, and if there is a genuine reason for a game to be delayed to make it a better experience and make sure it is complete, reducing the frequency of release day patches, then I’m all for it.
Another promising sign is that of vague release windows, with developers not forcing their own hands into a specific date or quarter and suggesting that a game will release in 2015. This gives them some breathing space and the chance to bring a game forward if work is completed early which is always better news than having to put it back for whatever reason.
Looking towards the latter part of this year, it’s already set to be a hectic end to 2014, with the staple shooters and sports titles releasing along with Dragon Age: Inquisition, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4. That’s a lot of gaming as well as a lot of money. Time wise, who has the available dozens of hours to play all those and savour every moment there is to enjoy? Unless you’re a journalist or rich playboy with nothing else better to do, very few people will buy all or several of those games and see them to completion.
Delays allow us to savour our games, rather than forcing us to choose between one and the other. Isn’t that something we all want? Imagine having only the time and funds to buy one of two games, both of which were highly anticipated and ones you wanted. It’s not easy and as our leisure time diminishes rapidly between family, work and other commitments it’s nice not to have an ever growing pile of shame stacking up in the background.
We’re in a position now where we can enjoy a plethora of titles on multiple devices, both home and portable, whereby we are never short of a good game to play. The mobile platform has been a revolution, as has the indie scene, giving us unheralded gems on the go which we can dive into as and when we please with little commitment needed. In some instances higher profile titles being delayed is benefitting the smaller releases, such as Resogun, which could be argued to have profited from the delay of Drive Club. Similarly, Drive Club looks set to be a cracking new racer which has undoubtedly got a new layer of polish since its push backwards.
Admittedly, I was immensely disappointed when Batman: Arkham Knight was delayed, the same goes for The Order and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but in the back of my mind I grinned as I knew it meant I could savour them in my own time without the worry of having them all to play at the same time. There’s also the strong possibility that some of these games may be cheaper in the future too if they’re not picked up on release day with both digital and physical offers coming regularly.
So in future, when headlines break of delayed titles, let us keep the sharp pointy stick in the cupboard and instead breathe a long sigh of relief. Let us enjoy and appreciate what we have now, and not become greedy resulting in the loss of enjoyment in a hobby we all love and feel so passionately about. At the same time, let us put to bed those memories of trying to play Battlefield 4 on the Xbox One…
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