Every Summer roughly around the same time gaming goes through a drought, publishers refuse to release games. This is a major reason why things slow down around here as there really is not much a point in writing articles on games made 2-3 years ago that I’m replaying for something to do.
In this article I’ll go through the reasons why there is a game drought every Summer.
Reason #1: IT’S SUMMER
There is a correlation between people leaving the house and the Summer. After getting through gruesome winters in which you are locked in the house there is no greater a North American/European tradition then getting out there and trying to make something of the small amount of time you have to enjoy yourself.
This of course does exclude Australia, South America, Africa and Asia. Australia as many people know have hard times getting games because of state gaming regulations and a distance gap. Game developers do not want to release games to the Australian market because it’s heavy on shipping. As well because of this they have to write up Australian releases heavily.
Africa is in some parts a paradise and in others a wartorn asshole of the world. Although there are millions of people who play games in Africa, because of the poverty, it is not a massive market.
Asia represents an oddity in a place that has a constant perpetual massive market for gaming, but one that foreign powers court less often. Asia has it’s own game developers who develop in the native tongue. It’s not that Chinese don’t want God of War 3… it’s that they probably already have something like that. Indian movie busiess is a good example of why so many big name Hollywood releases won’t even premier in India anymore. They have their own version of every possible movie.
This leaves game developers with the massive European and American markets to deal with… which do not buy games in the Summer.
It’s not that games are not bought… more along the lines that the casual gamer is not in doors. Gaming makes sense as a social activity for players when they cannot have face to face meetings in public. The Summer brings back the co-ed sports leagues, casual badminton courts, night clubs, and days on the beach. It’s really hard for a game to compete with something like that.
Reason #2: No Holidays
As far as a “Summer” work season goes The Summer is definitely the most consistent time of the year with no holidays. With the first major holiday being July 1-6 (depending on which country you’re from) and the next one being Labor Day in September you have 2-3 full months of no holidays and thus less recreation time.
Let’s pretend for example that Labor Day is not a real holiday and only grants you a day or two off. This means the next major holiday won’t take place until Thanksgiving which if you are Canadian is sooner and if you are American is later. If you’re European your next major holiday won’t be until Christmas time.
So yeah for at least the Summer you have this massive period where the people who are spending money (IE those who work) do not have as much free time. The major gaming market is still 18-35 which are statistically the group most likely to work longer hours and have less recreational time in the Summer.
The Summer season represents longer work hours for a large number of industries. Most common of these is the construction industry which builds roads, buildings, and extends the massive pipeline for a small fragment of the year. As well in the Summer there is an increase for restaurants and ice cream leading to a massive demand for workers of these industries. Let’s not forget our noble lifeguards, our fire fighting… fire fighters, and the increase in crime that police face. Summer represents a seasonal industry that promotes both good and bad behaviors.
With less unemployment means less time for recreational activities. This means that any game released during the Summer will guaranteed have less sales than it would in the Winter.
The lack of holidays can also attribute a lack of reason to give people a video game as a gift. Major gifting seasons for the year include (but are not limited to), High School/University Graduations, Christmas/Channakah/Ramadan, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, and Easter. I can’t think of a single person who gives out presents for their country’s national holiday or Labor Day.
I should also throw out birthdays. Statistically more infants are conceived during the Summer than any other season. This means that the majority of children are born in the late Winter/early Spring. That means more birthday gifts will be given out during this time instead of Summer.
Having said that my girlfriend and both of her sisters were born in July… and she’s getting games for her birthday.
Reason #3: High Competition
The final reason has to do with Hollywood. During the Summer time people are trying to get out of the house and be active. It’s kind of like that first week of returning to university. Everyone tells themselves they’re going to go down to their local free university gym and work off all that weight and that they’re going to stick with it every week and make it into a habit. After a mere week (some last two weeks) the gym becomes empty and available again.
Summer time is high competition in the entertainment industry… of which gaming is a part. So many people like to pretend that gaming is its own niche and in no way competes with anything else.
I here by decree that any entertainment industry at all competes with anything that you do with your recreational time. Yes, the local YMCA is in fact in direct competition with House the TV show, for your time.
The most powerful and potent point of the movie industry is two fold, first during Christmas when everything is shut down and there is nothing else to do and second during the Summer. It’s not a coincidence that every major blockbuster comes out during the Summer and there are no major comedies or action films coming out in the fall. Yes the movie industry has a drought in the fall….. but in the Summer they are booming.
I can testify that in the last two months I have gone to the theater 9 times. Bringing my girlfriend with me that means I have spend $360 on tickets and another $300 on concessions. Yesi n the last two months I have spent $660 on a 2 hour long experience per trip. I’m sure that is money that could be better spent elsewhere, but honestly… these are movies that I want to see (except for Magic Mike… that was entirely my girlfriends birthday desires).
This Summer I have seen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Iron Lady, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avenger’s, Rock of the Ages, Snow White and The Huntsman, and so many more. On that note I’m watching Ted tonight.
It’s really really hard to release a game that costs $60 when that is the same price as missing out on some really amazing movie. It is a risk for a developer to release a game like this.
Having said that once the Summer is over and all the good movies are done with people have the opposite logic “why go to 3 crappy movies when I can get a game.”