Holiday Game Delays – Are They Good for Gamers?


A growing number of high profile games slated for a holiday release have been pushed into 2010, but is that really bad news for gamers?

Ubisoft announced that Red Steel 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction would be delayed earlier today during its first quarter sales report for the 2009 fiscal year. Explaining the hold-up, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said the Red Steel 2 team asked for more time to polish the game and ensure a high level of quality throughout.

The two Ubisoft games join a growing collection of high-profile titles that have been pushed back into next year. Chief among them is BioShock 2, which Take-Two revealed would miss the holiday season mere days after signing up French studio Arkane to help whip things into shape. In fact, Take-Two is doing more than its share to help make this holiday season a thin one for gamers: Mafia 2 was pushed back into early 2010 and while Red Dead Redemption could theoretically still make it, nobody really believes it’s going to happen.

Heavy Rain, however, most definitely will not. Neither will Guild Wars 2. And while they aren’t delayed, potential hits Alan Wake and Max Payne 3 will both miss the 2009 holiday window, as will sure-fire mega-seller Mass Effect 2.

What’s left? At this stage we still have some solid gaming to look forward to, including Brutal Legend (assuming Activision isn’t successful with its lawsuit), Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Alpha Protocol, Left 4 Dead 2 and Borderlands. It’s a respectable selection but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s roughly half of what we had on our plates just a few months ago. Compared to previous years, the 2009 holiday season is looking like mighty slim pickings. But is that necessarily a bad thing?

It’s undeniably frustrating, but bear in mind that these games haven’t been canceled, merely pushed back. It’s a safe bet that the extra wait will result in better games than we’d have if they’d been rushed out the door to make the season at all costs. While we’re on the topic of costs, here’s another upside: A lighter holiday release schedule means a lighter touch on the wallet, something we should all be able to appreciate.

There’s even the possibility that publishers may figure out that shipping a finished, quality game is more important and more lucrative than the traditional “holidays or bust!” attitude. And personally, I’m looking forward to a winter in which I can actually play some games instead of rushing madly through them so I can move on to the next one.

What do you think? Are you disappointed that so many big titles won’t be coming out until next year, or are you feeling the relief of a lighter load across your shoulders?

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