The Game Delay Epidemic: For Better or Worse?

Game delay trends in the past 10 years reveal that 2014 has the most delayed launches of all time, but is that a bad thing?

Many flustered gamers are aware of a recent outbreak, an ailment I'd like to refer to as the game-delay-disease, that has plagued a few of the most respected and revered video game companies. 

While sifting through countless websites, I noticed that delaying game releases is a sin that many publishers such as Sony, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., and more are proudly committing. 

However, while most of us like to picture these companies sitting around a Starbucks table, laughing at our intentional misfortune, it's easy to forget that these delays might actually working for good instead of evil. 

Comparing Annual Trends

Almost tripling its predecessor, 2014 has in fact been the highest spike in game delays to date. 

In case there was any doubt in your mind, 2014 has in fact been the highest spike in game delays to date. Almost tripling its predecessor, significant titles that were delayed so far in 2014 include Batman: Arkham Knight, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Order: 1886and many others.

These crimes are primarily being committed by Sony, Warner Bros., Ubisoft, among other big names, and are receiving quite a barrage of animosity from angry players. It should also be noted that the many delayed games from 2014 were primarily postponed for the infamous purpose-- "to make the game the best it can be."

2012 was another significant year for game delays, which was the year that set the trend for developers to delay games for quality purposes alone.

Delaying Might Not Be Bad, But Don't Wait Too Long

Despite how irate gamers may become over the most awaited titles, I would invite everyone to take a step back and consider it not being as unacceptable as you might think. 

Full price games can leave quite a dent in the wallets of the masses, and what better way to know your money is being well spent then allowing developers to spend necessary time perfecting them. Those lame statements about "giving us the experience we deserve" might have some truth to them afterall, considering this is the project that has inhabited years of these employee's lives. 

...Except if you take too long

On the other hand, there is a definable limit. We can all have a laugh when we remember what is widely considered the worst game ever created-- Duke Nukem Forever. 

DNF, which was being developed for over 10 years, is the prime example for spending too much time on a game. By the time this game hit shelves, there was an old-gen game disguised as a new-gen game. Everything about it screamed too much production, from the abhorrent dialogue to the repulsive gameplay. 

In my opinion, a great game contains the correct balance between spending not enough time in the developmental phase and much, much too long.

This game was killed by the game-delay-disease, if you will. 

A Pledge for Responsibility 

To spend years of your life on one video game is surely no easy task. Just like taking the perfect mirror "selfie," releasing content into the world is not something to be taken lightly. 

Once the game is released, which is true for most consoles, there isn't much the developers can do to fix mistakes or game quality. By taking more time to perfect each detail and element necessary to ensure excellent reviews on their hard work. 

It's not only a selfish task, however. The better the game, the more satisfied the customer, which is why most game developers are in the business in the first place. Many employees, if not all, are gamers themselves, and their mission is to deliver the best gaming experience they possibly can. 

Ask Yourself-- Is It All Bad?

This new trend could be a diamond in the rough, despite its loathsome appearance, considering the publishers are risking their own necks to make sure the game they’ve promised lives up to its potential.

Despite public backlash, and at the risk of disappointing shareholders, these publishers are standing up to their adversaries for what seems like the unwillingness to give their fans a rushed, lackluster experience.

Seems rather respectable to me.


Featured Columnist

All I'm saying is, no one's ever seen me and Batman in the same room.

Published Jun. 24th 2014
  • Chai Chien Liang
    Games that were absolutely wrecked by delays that come to mind immediately to me are Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens:Colonial Marines

    Stalker was also delayed for quite a few years but was quite a good game

    I still wonder how the end product of Watch Dogs after a delay to polish the game turned out to have worse graphics compared to the E3 demo, maybe it's because of the console restrictions?
  • Mike Acciarino
    Featured Contributor
    When I think of meaningful delays, Bioshock Infinite comes to mind. That title endured many changes, and was altered from the ground up story-wise during its development. It's still one of my favorite video game tales (and games in general) to date. Nice article.
  • Nathan_9531
    Great article, Danielle! The only thing you need to change is the spelling of "epidemic" in the title.
  • Danielle Marie
    Featured Columnist
    Well, that's embarrassing. Thanks, Nathan! It's been changed!

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