Delays: We Don’t Seem To Mind So Much
So Gran Turismo 5 has been delayed yet again, but thankfully it isn’t a huge extension. Sony is promising that Polyphony Digital’s latest racing masterpiece will still arrive before the New Year and everyone seems to be saying, ‘fair enough’. It’s an odd sort of feeling actually. I seem to remember a time when we would all get very annoyed or upset about a game being delayed.
Perhaps it speaks to the strength in depth of the games industry right now on PS3 (and the other formats) that the most common response to a game delay ‘well, that will give me time to complete Game X’. Gran Turismo being pushed back opens up room for October’s releases to breath, allowing a little more time to be spent playing Medal Of Honor or Vanquish. We might even find the time to squeeze in a little Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.
While tent-pole releases still appear to dominate the industry (i.e. Call Of Duty) the PS3 doesn’t feel like a console that needs its flagship titles to be punctual in order to be appreciated or successful. Sony has shown tremendous confidence in its first party games by not releasing them during the holiday season. Heavy Rain and God Of War III for example were released in the supposedly less popular first quarter of the year.
That may also speak to changes in the collective game buying behaviour of consumers. Releasing in time for Christmas no longer feels like an essential move. Releasing a game in April makes as much commercial sense as releasing it in October, especially since the likes of Call Of Duty and sports titles like FIFA in Europe or Madden in the US dominate charts.
Another important factor is that the profile of the average gamer has changed significantly in the last 20 years. The average age of a gamer is now somewhere in the late twenties, on a moderate income, plenty of disposable cash and an appetite for a regular supply of new games. Where once we were children, pinning our hopes on a single release we are now adults with broader interests, tracking multiple games at any one time.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this except to say that we don’t seem to care all that much that GT 5 has been delayed and that I find that kind of curious. We seem fairly content to wait a little longer. I guess that means someone has been doing their job really well.