The retail industry basically lives or dies during the holiday season, and some would probably say that the same is true for our economy. But December is one of lamest months of the gaming year, and I'd give anything to skip it.
The problem is that the industry is on cruise control by the time December rolls around. Most of the blockbuster games are already on the shelves, strategically released with enough time to gather excitement before the holiday, but not enough to allow people to forget about them. And publishers avoid making any major announcements for fear that they'll be ignored in the fray of Christmas shopping and family dinners.
It's as if December doesn't exist. No news. No new games. Nothing interesting happens. It’s boring.
I mean, it obviously does exist. In fact, most publishers will probably tell you that it's the most important month of the year when it comes to sales. But the fact that everyone, aside from retailers, essentially takes a thirty-day vacation around the holidays can cause problems.
For instance, publishers who decide to take a risk and release their title in early December are basically ignored during the award season. Far Cry 3 was one of the best games of the 2012 (if you don't believe me, just check out my review), and it got severely shafted. In fact, I haven't been able to find a single example of a title winning Game of the Year after being released in December. That honor is usually reserved for games that are released in October or November.
Now, I'm not saying that it's not possible, but when the industry basically shuts down for an entire month, it puts a fair amount of pressure on publishers to get their games out a few weeks early. And is that how we want the industry to run?
Now, just to be clear, I hope no one is looking at me to provide a solution. I don't have any ideas. The only reason I wrote this article is because nothing else is going on, and it's starting to make me crabby.
Also, I didn't get what I wanted for Christmas and I'm still a little irritable.
Date: December 27, 2012