"For everybody saying that publishers should just release good games outside the Christmas season, this doesn't work because people aren't in a frenzy to buy everything for everyone they know, so you loose a lot of the mainstream audience."
Lose not Loose
Anyway, it really doesn't matter for good games, Blizzard/Valve can release any game at any time and still get 90% of their 'supposed' sales, the other 10% random buys might or might not be on Christmas, start selling in October and by the time Christmas comes around, send out another marketing blitz
Even if it did, a good game would have no difference from a crappy game at Christmas time, take the risk, if you think your product is good, you can release it at any other time
I doubt brand recognition has much to do with it.
Who buys all these games during christmas? That would be the parents, buying gifts for their kids.
You'll be lucky if they know other brands beside Nintendo.
I believe teen an adult gamers are more discerning and will buy the games they want, when they want.
I think it makes sense for publishers to release all their shovelware based on movies and the like on christmas. Parents may recognize Harry Potter or something.
Isn't there a bit of irony in your post? You say brand recognition is not important, then contradict yourself by saying certain brands are more appealing/recgonizable to audiences and thus will help gain more sales. Like you said, brands like Harry Potter.
I'll clarify: they don't know about valve, call of duty, activision, ubi, etc. etc.
They may know about Harry Potter, Jurasic Park, Volkswagen and more non-software companies and brands.