The Most Wonderful Time of the Year... Except for Video Game Publishers

Christmas will again be flooded by game software no one can reasonably afford.

By , Contributor

This was the Xbox 360 game release slate for all of August:

El Shaddai
Deus Ex Human Revolution
Madden 12

This is the release slate for the WEEK of September 6th:

Dead Island
Driver: San Francisco
Rise of Nightmares
Rugby World Cup
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

deadisland.pngSee a problem yet? We're entering into another one of “those,” a holiday season where no one has enough money, the games keep pouring out onto shelves, and come 2012, half of the development studios are shuttered because of lackluster sales. Can you imagine why that is?

The industry and its marketers have yet to break free from the mold of being considered a toy, the long overdue transition happening at retail spaces.

It used to be you would walk into the toy department to purchase Nintendo NES and Game Boy titles. Then, the slow move happened, one retailer after another pushing the software into the electronics department where it belonged. Retailers get it; why can't the publishers?

It makes sense for a toy, some $15-$20 thingmajig that does whatever it is the kids love. It makes no sense for games, the summer season infinitely dry of fresh software when the shelves need it most. It's not as easy to make a hyped $60 product purchase as it is some $15 battery operated gerbil (those are still hot, right?).

battlefield3.jpgThat $60 purchase will be Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty, and maybe some audiences will indulge in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary or Sony's Resistance 3.

We haven't even brought up the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii with their own slate of holiday pushes.

All the while, Sega will be befuddled as to why their Kinect-infused Rise of Nightmares failed to garner attention or an audience. UbiSoft will hold an investors meeting trying to explain why Driver: San Francisco flopped. Why isn't this obvious?

And all of that is from one single week. We still have three months to go. Poor Cursed Crusade (release date October 11th). You never stood a chance.

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Matt Paprocki is a 13-year veteran of the video game, movie, and home media scene. He has written thousands of reviews, has been published on a variety of websites, and contributes his thoughts daily on a diverse range of topics.

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