Video Game Releases
The statements I will give are for you to do with as you please, ponder them, hate them, do whatever, but try to understand where I, a common consumer of video games, come from. Anyway, the discussion topic today is one I have personally put some thought into. It is game release delays. Here we go.
First I will explain what a delay is and the possibilities why it occurs. Game delays are when a developer and sometimes the distributor delay the release of a game. Pretty simple but in some cases obnoxious and understandable. Some reasons it happens is because of simply not being done with the intended game yet. This is a commonality among game devs that become too ambitious that they plan out too much for them to handle. Another reason would be game testers highly did not enjoy and it is back to the drawing board. To put it simply, many games do alpha/beta tests that are based on early development or months before release. In some cases, the game testers criticize the game so much that the game is shot back to the ground where it came from and started again. One of the more obnoxious reasons is actually strategically smart but annoying nonetheless. It is where the distributor decides to postpone the release until sales month/week. Particularly when Christmas, Black Friday, summer vacation, and other breaks. If you noticed a commonality among the events listed you are not wrong to assume that the distributors are more than obviously targetting children as a weak point in parents’ wallets. These are about the biggest reasons that games get postponed, but there may be a combination of these issues.
To go into depth I’ll speak more specifically about the developers not completing the game. There are thousands of reasons why a developer would not be finished but it is particularly the bug fixing. Building a game is like running a marathon with many and I mean many hurdles. When the devs finally painstakingly pass the finish line the bug fixing is the every flowing sweat off their foreheads. It almost never stops and just gets annoying to deal with. That being said some developers, cough cough Bethesda cough cough, choose to ignore bug fixing is some aspects. Bethesda is a good game developer, my only problem is they do not like going back and starting from scratch. More specifically, bugs from their oldest games on the Creative Engine are still bugs to this day. Bethesda has had the same problems as FPS locking and cutscene skipping etc. etc. And they as it seems will never get fixed. But that is beside the point. 2 fast examples would be Rockstar Games and CD Project Red. Both with immense fan bases and games long-awaited. When GTA 5 was moving to PC is was hyped for almost 2-3 years. Rockstar pushed the release back almost 5 times. Annoying but the turnout was amazing. PC GTA was a huge achievement as it gave freedom of Los Santos to computers who have been waiting for so long. CD Project Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, a game I cannot stop talking about, got pushed back half a year. I am so immensely angry but at the same time I know I can’t be. This is developers with their blood, sweat, and tears dripping from its source code. If they need another few months I have no right to oppose. Though it did ruin my summer plans…
The next is alpha/beta testing. Particularly beta testing as it is when the game is basically finished but just needs a few tweaks and the devs need support from the outside to find problems and crumple them. Beta testing is essential to making a game the most polished it can ever be, exploiting its weaknesses and its strengths from organic human playthroughs. An example of beta testing not being listened to or planned well is again you guessed it… Bethesda Softworks. I hate to keep pounding them but at this point, it isn’t even a joke. Last year we had one of the biggest flops and disappointments ever in the gaming community. We had Fallout 76. Bethesda instead of seeking out beta testing, they decided to make it more of a showoff/tease for the bigger game… a month before release. They would have no time at all to squash bugs in month’s time and they knew that. But they did it anyway and released absolute trash.
I will try to not beat up Bethesda anymore and so I’ll move onto the next reason. Sales weeks. Fast and simple it is where distributors, in particular, pick the best suited times for games to be released to maximize sales potential. It is an understandable strategy but when it gets annoying it when they push the game so far back to Christmas sales that by that time you forget about the game. Even in some cases making an early release of an unfinished game. That is where I draw the line. Like I said earlier if the devs say they need time, give it to them. But when a distributor says it needs it out before summer break and cuts the devs beta testing and bug fixing time down that is completely obnoxious and cuts a huge portion of the game’s potential in most cases.
And that is the discussion. A few questions I have for you… the reader. It is whether you think that delays are okay. And if devs should try to push the game out as fast as possible. I think it is better to understand where the developers are coming from and apply my answer there. In most cases though, I want a well-finished game. And if it takes a 6-month delay, I’ll gladly oblige.