The Ups and Downs of Video Game Delays

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Over the past few years video game delays have hit an all time high. By this I mean that they are being delayed now more than ever. From a game like Watch Dogs to the recently delayed Dragon Age: Inquisition, games are being given set dates then getting pushed pack one or multiple times. Some games are pushed back a month or two while others, like Duke Nukem Forever, are delayed for years at a time. There are even a few video games such as Prey 2 which are delayed for a time then eventually cancelled or put in limbo indefinitely. I think that delays occur for various reasons and while most of these reasons are good there is a downside.

As is the case with everything, there are pros and cons to video game delays. I’d like to discuss some of the obvious ups and downs and I invite you to share others that you feel are related to these delays, whether they be positive or negative. I am going to lay out my pros and cons in list style in order to keep it organized, so let’s get cracking.

Pros:

  1. Delays give the developers more time to polish the game. This means that we the consumer get a more finished product rather than another Battlefield 4 snafu. Developers can iron out any bugs or glitches they come across as well as have more time to make sure it’s all kinds of awesome for us when it is eventually released.
  2. Delays help build hype for the game. A delay gives developers and publishers more time to advertise a game and build it up, possibly making us want the game more than we may have wanted it before.
  3. Delays can help space game releases out. Recently, three games that were slated to release around the same time in October this year (among various other games) have been delayed, so now us consumers don’t have to purchase 5+ games in one month. Our wallets are thankful for these delays, even our minds are not.

Cons:

  1. Delays may not help the game’s overall quality. For example, the aforementioned Duke Nukem Forever was delayed 15 years and was still a disappointment by most people’s standards. Delays don’t always equal better games.
  2. Built up hype from a delay can hurt a game that doesn’t live up to said hype. When people expect a game to be some sort of masterpiece due to multiple delays and it releases as a normal game or even a good game, just not a great game, it can really upset people. A recent example of this is Watch Dogs which was built up for so long only to be a normal game, not an exceptional one, which lead to disappointment.
  3. Delays bum gamers out! Come on, this is biggest con of them all. When we expect a game to come out at a certain time, getting ourselves ready and building up excitement in our minds only to be shafted with a big, fat “you’ll have to wait until next year”, we get bummed out.

In short, for every positive there is a negative and in the end it comes down to the finished product. It doesn’t matter if a game is delayed if it’s still not good and it makes all the difference in the world to delay a game by a month if only to polish it up.

In my opinion, the biggest issue with game delays is that they happen too often. I feel like someone is forcing these companies to give their game a release date as soon as it is announced and due to it most likely being a “we hope it’s ready” date they eventually delay the game. I mean it’s great that there is seemingly a lot less pressure to release games on a deadline, giving us more quality games, but I just wish they wouldn’t delay almost every game. I’d rather them not give us a release date at all until they are sure it will be ready by then so that we don’t expect something only to be saddened later by it’s inevitable delay. It’s not a huge deal of course, but I think the whole situation could be handled a little better.

All in all, I’m just glad that more games are being developed and released with a sense of responsibility. I’d rather a game get delayed and be well done than for it to be released and be terrible. Now, back to waiting hopelessly for more information on The Last Guardian

5 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Video Game Delays

  1. As much as I like games to be extra polished, sometimes you end up rubbing off some of the luster by taking so long. As a programer/developer for software and websites, I fully understand why delays can happen, and I’d be perfectly fine with companies giving windows instead of dates. Much like the widely used Holiday 2015 of this last E3. Having to wait always sucks, there is no getting around that, even if it is for the best, we always want to play the next game in our series.

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  2. When The Witcher 3 was delayed I was disappointed, but I would rather have a bug free game than a glitchy ass one.

    Watch Dogs is a really good example of how delaying a game can hurt it. Watch Dogs is a good game, but it was extremely disappointing since it didn’t live up to the massive hype surrounding it. Don’t get it on PC. I’m never buying Ubisoft games ever again on PC. They’re always broken.

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  3. I think a delay works against building up a hype. To get a proper hype you have to follow a strict policy and timing. Start with a teaser, dig deeper into it over a period of several month and finish with a huge boom. It works similar to a trilogy. A delay destroys this pacing, creating time frames with a huge oportunity for your customer to lose interest. The hype is going down. It is very difficult to build up a hype for a delayed game.

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  4. Pingback: My 2 Cents on Day One Bugs in Video Games | linksaveszelda.com

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