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Published on April 18th, 2016 | by gareth

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Are Developers Overloading Consumers With Multiple AAA Release In May?

Recently I did my weekly radio segment on the upcoming games of May 2016 where I highlighted what seemed to be a very large number of AAA titles releasing within a short time of one another.  Including several smaller titles and DLC that would be released in May it did appear that a series of hard decisions were in store for gamers. The situation  reminded me of the time-honored practice in the movie industry of not releasing blockbusters on top of one another for fear that they would cut into one another’s business.  While this can be inevitable around the summer, it is not uncommon for studios to give expected competition a1-3 week span to ensure maximum profitability.  This is largely why Hollywood announces their projected release dates well in advance so that rival studios can schedule accordingly.  It is also why you see what is known as counterprogramming such as films like “Love Letters being released against “Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace”, and “What’s Love Got To Do With it” being released against “Jurassic Park”.  The idea is that audiences knowing that the majority of moviegoers may be going to the major release so a smaller profile film may do better than expected from people looking for something different or not wanting to endure packed theaters and lines.  More often than not this plan backfires but there have been occasional successes most recently with the new Barbershop film doing respectable business against “The Jungle Book”.

In some ways this does apply to gaming but we are seeing less and less in recent years.  Last year I noted how it was unusual for so many high-profile games to be releasing prior to E3 as some studios often look at that event as a golden opportunity to showcase titles just before they ship to the public as well as promoting their upcoming titles.

So this year we get Battleborn kicking things off with DOOM. Both are highly anticipated titles from established and well-respected publishers, and both have been prominently available in Open Beta formats which has driven interest in the titles up as well as increased pre-orders.  While both games are in essence first-person shooters, they are radically different in that DOOM is a much darker and more hard-core game that mixes modern tech with retro gameplay and is a reboot/continuation of a well-established series.  While the game does have multiplayer it is at its core a solo game as well.  Batleborn looks to be just what Borderlands fans have been looking for as it is a new franchise that contains familiar elements but yet a whole new cast of characters and gameplay styles along with whimsical humor and plenty of action.  The game can be played with up to five players or online in multiple gameplay modes.

At first glance they would simply be two very interesting games that many gamers will find interest in releasing close to one another.

Now factor in Overwatch which will release at the end of the month and does have a similar theme and style to Battleborn at first look.  They are both team-based shooters that use an animation style coming from well-known and respected publishers who are open to launch new franchises with them.  Both games have made Open Beta a key part of the run-up to launch, with Overwatch using a pre-order for beta access predominantly versus Battleborn being open to all.

It does help the one comes at the first of the month and the other at the end of the month, but your it he looking at three titles at roughly $59.99 each plus tax and this does not even begin to look at Uncharted 4: A Thieves End, Homefront: The Revolution, and Mirrors Edge: Catalyst amongst others all slated to debut.

My biggest concern is that one or more quality titles may get overlooked in the rush and fail to reach sales expectations which would in turn hamper future installments in the series.  Fan loyalty is a very big thing but when consumers are faced with so many decisions they often have to make very hard choices and invariably some titles may get lost in the mix.  Regardless of which titles to choose, here’s hoping that we have a very successful and stable launch for the games that fans have waited a while for and that we have many happy hours of gaming as a result.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.



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