The process of getting a game from the development studio to your platform of choice can potentially be a long and complex one. The various processes involved can result in occasions where players anticipate a game for several weeks, months, or even years, only for there to be a delay in its release date. Of course, not every game suffers from this issue, but can delaying a game for whatever reason ever be a good thing?
The third instalment in the Bioshock series, Bioshock Infinite, was moved from its scheduled 2012 release into the first quarter of 2013, February to be more specific, while military shooter ArmA 3 was pushed to the final quarter of 2012 from its summer (northern hemisphere) release time. These are two examples of established franchises where more time was given to the complex development processes and thus leading to what fans will hope is a more enjoyable, mainly bug-free gaming experience, with an extra slice of anticipation. Credit where it’s due though to the respective studios in admitting that extra time was needed to get a better final product.
There will be a sense of frustration felt by some fans though when hearing of a delay, that’s understandable, as they’ll have wanted to get their hands on the game earlier as they previously thought they would do. This can be intensified too if a release date has been stated in promotional material, as the September 2012 date for Far Cry 3 turned into one for two months later. Gears of War 3 as well, going from an original April 2011 date to later that same year in September. Of course, a date change isn’t done on purpose. Time, money, competition and other factors come into play. Fancy going up against Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Halo 4 in November 2012? If it results in a better gaming experience then that is surely the angle to with from a publisher and developer point-of-view.
A consequence in delaying though can be the concern of fans who have pre-ordered a game. The thought of a refund may cross some minds as delay after delay can potentially lead to a game being scrapped completely, or its rights being sold to another publisher and then disposed of, or re-developed away from what was originally marketed. Duke Nukem Forever in 2001 changed its release date to “When It’s Done”. Ten years later it saw the light of day and was released after various financial and studio-based issues, with fans grateful to get a finished product at least.
The release of a game can be affected by various factors, with delays being part of its lifecycle. This produces both positive and negative results for the publisher, developer and even the retailer. Oh, and let’s not forget, the actual game player. Would you say you’ve had mainly good or bad experiences in getting the games you wanted when you expected to?