on Feb 16 by Blue Odeyssey
The video games industry is a curiously abstract entity. Encapsulating diverse experiences and thousands of games it has evolved into a magnificent interactive platform, unfortunately this evolution has been flawed and the impacts are clear to see.
Despite thriving in the 21st century like no other entertainment medium, the three key players; platform holders, publishers, and developers all regularly struggle to meet expectations. Be they critical, commercial or otherwise, failure is a common sight. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case. A large proportion of these failures can be attributed to foolish decision making. Very few interested parties take advantage of the glaring opportunities available to them or take the necessary action to avoid pitfalls which present themselves on an almost annual basis.
2014 already offers us solid evidence of the stereotypical stupidity within the industry. We are now in February and yet we are still waiting on the year’s first big blockbuster release, WHY? Other than Dragonball Z: Warriors of Z we have seen next to nothing on the release schedule. The industry seems to have some ill-conceived idea that consumers don’t have the money to spend on video games after an expensive Christmas period; this is not only ridiculous but inaccurate too! We only have to go back to 2013 to find a game which blows this theory to pieces; Ni No Kuni. With next to no competition the game managed to take top spot in the UK chart, now when was the last time a JRPG did that? (Final Fantasy aside) The opportunity is there, but year after year it remains ignored. Publishers need to understand the video game industry is not seasonal; consumers buy games throughout the year whatever the weather. In fact, I can’t imagine a better time to release a game than January, when the days are short, the weather is poor and people are regularly stuck inside.
Of course typically this draught doesn’t last long, once we hit mid-February/March the releases begin to fly thick and fast but this brings us to our next grievance. This year we have releasing in the space of a month not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 console JRPGs, again I must ask, WHY? The last console JRPG release was over 6 months ago, so why do publishers feel the need to release their games within the same time frame. Releasing two Final Fantasies in the space of 5 weeks is questionable enough considering the size of the games, but to have Tales of Symphonia and Atelier Escha and Logy squeezed in between the two, is just too much. To make matters worse, the next console JRPG release after this mini wave won’t be until May, over 2 months away! There is just no good explanation, I’m no advocate for product delays but surely common sense must suggest this release schedule leaves few winners. Some genres can probably get away with such mismanagement but when you consider the average JRPG takes 40+ hours to complete, you can easily see players being too busy with their current purchase to bother picking up the next. This is not an anomaly either, only last year we had Konami initially attempt to release 3 Silent Hill games in a single month, that is nothing short of insane!
Console JRPGS UK Release Dates
|Tales Of Xillia||6th August 2013|
|Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII||14th February 2014|
|Tales Of Symphonia HD Collection||28th February 2014|
|Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky||7th March 2014|
|Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Colleciton||21st March|
|Drakengard 3||21st May|
The game industry clearly has a problem, its inability to self-evaluate and learn from past experiences is a major hindrance and leaves it vulnerable to other activities vying for that all important free time of the consumer. Success often leaves a blueprint for success so the industries decision to ignore results and uphold unfounded beliefs is an extreme detriment. The lack of insight available is questionable at best, perhaps there is a genuine reason for such decisions based on internal factors but as an outsider looking in, they just appear out of touch.