Oct 16, 2013
It’s safe to say, that when a new console is on the horizon, great launch titles are key to success.
On Tuesday, Ubisoft shocked the industry and fans when they delayed the title until a tentatively dated Spring 2014.
Pre-order bundles that came with Watch Dogs have now been changed to offer only the console. This may disappoint many fans (who may consider not bothering with next-gen), and may also put off potential customers by upgrading. A lot of the other launch titles on offer are available on current-gen. Watch Dogs was one of the most talked about next-gen titles, that was not available on current platforms, and with the news of it’s delay, perhaps people will think twice about upgrading.
Great launch titles are a must. For instance, Nintendo have always been a huge competitor in the gaming world. But when they released the GameCube, which was comparable to competitors, instead of a Mario title, it was Luigi’s Mansion that was heralded as their huge title on launch. Now, although this was a relatively good game, a lot of people were disappointed by the lack of seeing their favourite plumber in red on the next platform. Although the GameCube sold very well, compared to the PS2, it was barely even competition. This goes to show, that releasing great quality titles on the first day is necessary to boosting popularity in the long term. Their CEO Yves Guillemot stated:
“The tough decisions we are taking today to fully realize the major potential of our new creations have an impact on our short-term performance. We are convinced that, longer term, they will prove to be the right decisions both in terms of satisfaction for our fans and in terms of value creation for our shareholders.”
Although this completely makes sense, it essentially hurts both parties. Ubisoft could have had a killer IP on their hands come launch day, and really cemented their product among a smaller library of games. Also, Spring may not be as lucrative a time to release the title, as before the holiday season is always could for business. In saying this, it could also prove better, as there won’t be an array of games launching the same day, where a new IP could get lost among the already-established franchises. Despite this, gamers have been keen to get into a new IP, with many of the current big franchises having been around for quite some time. Watch Dogs managed to receive a lot of hype, and maintain it up until now, and so could have been a great title to start the next generation with.
However, Ubisoft could be merely ensuring the success of Assassin’s Creed IV. Due to underwhelming reviews of the last entry, the excitement for the next pirate adventure could be lukewarm. And the many people that were excited for Watch Dogs may steal some sales, as some would choose between the sandbox games, rather than get both. So perhaps this gives a chance for the public to buy both titles at different times. Also, after the colossal success of GTA V, Ubisoft may well be distancing themselves, as some people may compare the two games, or purely not fancy another open-world romp for a few more months.
Ubisoft are putting the delay down to needing to ‘polish’ the game. And although having been showing it off for ages this may come as bitter news for many, the fact of the matter is it shows that Ubisoft are dedicated to creating quality games in the long term. That is something I will not argue with.