Recently been wondering about game releases


#1

Do some developers wait until a certain time (like a predictable period where software sales seem more numerous than others, like summer/fall/winter) to release their games, or do they release them after the testing and production is done? Back in the psx and ps2 days we’d see games that were coming out in a few months, and they looked incomplete, and in some cases like total crap compared to the final version…now we see games being played, they look complete, people are playing them at places like comicon and e3, and the games still won’t be released for 5 months down the road, but they seem to be complete. Are programmers just that good these days that they can make a game look awesome and complete without it being the final version when they work on it, or do they just hold onto their titles for predictable, high-software sales periods (seemingly the second half of every year)?


#2

A lot of times a game will be pushed out during a certain quarter. I’ve seen Capcom and Sega do this a lot, and it usually ends up biting them in the ass.

Usually games are released ‘strategically’ rather than ‘when they are done’. There’s so much more that goes into games aside from testing and production - like advertising. Which is usually more important than testing, actually. Who cares about releasing a buggy, untested product when you can just do a patch down the road?


#3

Hmm…and console releases: is it coincidence that they seem to happen after august? And would more people have bought the Vita if it launched sayyyyy…in November, despite the price? It looks like launching toward the end of the year makes people put aside their “ahhh, that’s too expensive” reflex…but early in the next year makes people critical of price.


#4

Some developers have deadlines to meet. :bluu:


#5

The biggest day for video games is Black Friday, the numbers are stagering. As for the E3 stuff, that’s because what is shown is one huge lie after another. Usually E3 demos are held together by duct tape and prayers, the rest of the game is a complete mess in the meantime :wink:


#6

Patches to 360 games are incredibly expensive in general lots of developers have complained about MS’s submission process. I remember reading an interview with Seth Killian saying simple cosmetic bug fixes could cost $150,000+.


#7

I always understood November releases as being part of the holidays. Those who want to pick it up right away can and then stores get restocked in December, just in time for Christmas. Call of Duty always seems to be released in November.


#8

A simple cosmetic bug that couldnt be found during development testing? Really, that just sounds like a lazy fuckin’ developer who has grown reliant on patching.

Rhio, you been livin’ under a rock dude? Of course developers wait. Why do you think christmas/holidays are such a big time for games? If you read a little you find out that a lot of these dope looking games that are being shown at E3 and such are not running on the hardware they are suppose to release on, they are running on super high end PC’s. Wait you say, you saw that the games were being played with an xbox controller and the game even had the xbox button overlay in it. All my PC games do that. Fuck, wii games I play on my PC do that with a little change to the code.


#9

Many developers wait until the fall in order to get their games out for the holiday season. Those that get delayed (quite a bit of them) then usually come out from January to March. Summer is generally a downtime for new releases


#10

They wait. The stuff that they release at E3 and different conventions are sometimes specific so that they can showcase something. The stuff that gets shown does not necessarily make it. Sometimes they just put it there to reel you in and then completely remove/forget it. Some examples off the top of my head are:

-Death animations for Diablo 3 (see the initial video showcase where they fight the siegebreaker boss and it bits the barb’s head off). Never made it to the final cut.

-Climbing ladders in Diablo 3

-Waterfall stage looking cool in Sonic Generations or whichever the one with all the bugs.

-Crysis 2 stating that it will have crazy particle effects (walls will have realistic building blocks that get dismantled with accurate physics) but gets removed in order to make the port more manageable for consoles.

Companies also highly underestimate the gamers. I like to beat the Diablo 3 horse because it’s such a great example. “Inferno will be unbeatable for at least a month”…inferno gets beaten in about a week. A lot of “unintended” builds that made classes steamroll through everything were created yet they were not bugs or anything. The QC people probably just didn’t think of it…somehow.


#11

most AAA titles get released towards the end of the year. october, november or december to be able to participate in the whole christmas madness.
there is a “summer hole” for a reason - tho, since it’s somewhat established, it would be a genius move to release a title in that period since you won’t have much of competition.


#12

In 9 years in the biz, I’ve never had a game be done and then just wait for the right time to send it out. If anything I haven’t had a summer since I started making video games because we always want to ship in fall.


#13

True - I guess I should have said “Why playtest the game when people are going to buy and praise it anyway?” Looking squarely at Bethesda, and tons of other games that have followed in their footsteps. When thousands of critics give games like Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim PERFECT scores even when they are filled with bugs - the most objective way to say that a game is NOT perfect - it just goes to show that critics, and by extension gamers, don’t care about playtesting anymore.


#14

So you dont wait, you just drag out development so that your game will be finished and released within the holiday season?


#15

No we plan horribly and crunch like mad men to make any sort of deadline.