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This Falls Gaming Lineup – Why Delaying Uncharted 4 is Good for Everyone

Recently Uncharted 4 was delayed to Spring 2016 after being pinned for a release of Fall 2015. As quoted in a blog post (reported on IGN here), “this game is much more ambitious than we originally envisioned.” The delay was to “meet the team’s high standards” but also to meet the “high standards that gamers have come to expect from a Naughty Dog title.” Notably, the last few games Naughty Dog has put out have been some of the highest rated games of last generation, including The Last of Us, and Uncharted 1-3. So delaying the game to meet these high standards make sense, as fans have come to expect the games they produce to be top-notch. But say the game would be ready this fall and would have a great reception, I would argue that delaying Uncharted 4 is a good business decision due to this Fall’s absolutely packed line-up for both the Xbox One and PS4. Lets just take a look at what is known to be released this year (pending delays, such as Uncharted 4).

Starting in September for Fall 2015 release calendar:

September:
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – September 1st – (Xbox One, PS4)
Mad Max – September 15th  (Xbox One, PS4)
… and that is all we know for hard-dates so far. But here is what is expected to be released this year (only naming bigger titles that have a bigger following or massive hype)

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC)

Call of Duty: New (Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Dead Island 2 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
The Division (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Dungeon Defenders II (PS4, PC)
Fable Legends (Xbox One)
Final Fantasy VII (PS4)
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS4)
Firewatch (PC)

Forza Motorstport 6 (Xbox One)
Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One)
Homefront: The Revolution (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Just Cause 3 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Killing Floor 2 (PS4, PC)
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
Mario Maker (Wii U)
Mighty No. 9 (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, Vita, 3DS, PC)
No Man’s Sky (PS4)
Persona 5 (PS4, PS3)
Planetside 2 (PS4)
Rainbow Six: Siege (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One, Xbox 360)
Rock Band 4 (Xbox One, PS4)
Scalebound (Xbox One)
Smite (Xbox One)
Splatoon (Wii U)
Star Fox (Wii U)
Star Wars Battlefront (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Street Fighter IV Ultra (PS4)
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Yakuza 5 (PS3)
Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)

 

Total Titles releasing for each platform on this list:

36

 

Each Platform:

PS4: 20

Xbox One: 18

Wii U: 7

PC: 12

… oh man.
 
And these are only the games that have been announced, and that are not pinned on releasing at any other point except for September on-wards this year. We have not even reached E3 this year where we may have other huge announcements (please make a Halo Wars 2 and a Fallout 4!). 
 
Now, taking some of these titles and pinning them on potential months (speculation).
September:
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Halo 5: Guardians
Star Fox
Rock Band 4
Rainbox Six: Seige
 
October:
Star Wars: Battlefront
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Forza Motorsport 6
The Legend of Zela Wii U
Homefront: The Revolution
Persona 5
 
November:
Call of Duty: New
The Division
Assassins Creed Chronicles
Just Cause 3
Scalebound
No Mans Sky
Look  in your wallet. How much money do you think you will have? If you are like me, you only have enough to purchase, if you’re lucky, a few games in the fall (before gifts). There is only a certain amount of money in the market for gamers to buy these games, and the delay of Uncharted 4 suggests that Sony has a game that will be announced at E3 that will need the holiday push more than Uncharted will… see below for my reasoning. Maybe God of War 4, the new Ratchet and Clank game, a completely new IP, The Last Guardian (maybe? finally?), Gran Turismo 7?
Take into account Uncharted 4… this is a massive game. but what would this take away from other big games coming out? It would sell well, there is no doubt, but having less competition means more spotlight on arguably Sony’s biggest game. Lets look at another Naughty Dog game that released in the Spring with little-to-no competition, The Last of Us.
95/100 on Metacritic.com
5.46 million units sold globally to date, 8.27 million including the PS4 release (see VG Chartz) since its 2014 release
Not bad at all! Lets compare that to the Uncharted Series that has released in the fall.
Uncharted 4.83 million sold globally since 2007
Uncharted 2 6.57 million sold globally since 2009
Uncharted 3 6.64 million sold globally since 2011
Still very impressive sales #s, but these games were all released in the fall, surrounded by the Call of Duty’s, Assassins Creeds, and Halo’s. The Last of Us has sold almost as much on the PS3 and more including the PS4 since its release last year in June…when it had no other big release in sight. That is not to say that releasing a game in Spring/Summer guarantees sales; quite contrary usually games do not release then due to the market being dry. But a game as big as Uncharted 4 and the Last of Us, or coming out this year the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, will sell regardless of what month you release it in. It has a big enough following and enough hype to sell whenever they are released. So why jam your big release in the fall when you can sell just as much, if not more, with more spotlight on your big game in the Spring/Summer before all the big AAA multi-platform games hit?
The opposing argument is that big games such as Uncharted 4 will move more consoles in the holiday season as the spending craze happens. I argue that consoles will be moved regardless of when those games release. They are big enough to sell consoles – during the Holiday season the important factor is the price of the console and the lineup of games for that console – it doesn’t matter when those games release. Mario Kart for the Wii U released last spring, and probably sold hundreds of thousands of Wii U consoles during the holiday season, and also sold more Wii Us when it released.

In summary: Uncharted 4 will sell well regardless of when it releases, and if it needs extra polish to live up to Naughty Dog’s high standards then so be it. Sony may need the space in the Fall to push another game, and Uncharted 4 will not need much pushing. Why release it early, risk it not being completely ready, and being smothered by other titles? It makes perfect sense.

Nothing makes sense, actually. The gaming industry is a weird place. My bank account will tremble this fall.

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