Traditionally, the biggest games of the year all released in the final three months, the Holiday shopping season, so to speak- and we still see that, with major franchises like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, and Pokemon, all launching towards October or November every year.
But equally, over the last few years, we have started to see that games that release early in the year can be major successes, too- in the last few years, games like Bloodborne, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman: Arkham Knight, Splatoon, Overwatch, The Division, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and, this year, Resident Evil 7, Nioh, For Honor, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Nier Automata, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are all examples of games releasing early in the year, and garnering great commercial and critical success.
That is because, according to PlayStation’s America boss Shawn Layden, the landscape of the industry has changed, and games can now release and be successful through the year.
“Games are a bit of a business, and timing is very important,” Layden said to German site Golem.de.”By the end of the year, people simply have more money. But it changed a little. Horizon Zero Dawn, for example, was released in February and very successful. Batman Arkham Knight came out a few years ago right after the E3, and the demand for it almost exploded.
“We can now publish the really high-quality games almost at any time. It is difficult if almost at the same time a similar top game appears, as was the case in the last year’s business.”
I agree with that, and it looks like Sony and Nintendo have both caught on to this- hopefully, Microsoft stops hoarding its games for the year end too, and starts spreading them out through the entire 12 months.