Latest posts by Stephen Welsh (see all)
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Games press and gamers went into a bit of a frenzy this week when rumors spread of the highly anticipated exploration game No Man’s Sky being delayed. Developer Sean Murray of Hello Games took to the PlayStation Blog today to confirm that the game will not be meeting its previously announced release in late June. The new release dates are now:
August 9th – North America
August 10th – Europe
August 12th – United Kingdom
The extra seven weeks are to “polish” the game as the excuse is often worded. And you can’t be too careful when it comes to a release these days, since a glitchy, unoptimised product will be immensely disappointing for those purchasing the game on launch. However, the new release window might also be advantageous to sales.
Games don’t really come out much in the Summer. The September to November window of any year is where all the big hitters release. The March to May period is as busy as it gets otherwise. In stark contrast to the schedule of Hollywood blockbusters, game releases experience what we refer to as a “drought,” with next to nothing of note coming out. Maybe it’s due to a misconception about weather, or about spending, but publishers seem to be under the impression that gamers suddenly stop being interested in new games during July and August in particular. It leads to a surreal trend where niche titles are launched in the same weeks as triple-A money-printers the closer you get to November. Clicking through currently confirmed release dates, I’m seeing that the only thing remotely notable releasing in August prior to Deus Ex on the 23rd is divisive 3DS spin-off Metroid Prime: Federation Force on the 19th.
So the new release window for No Man’s Sky means gamers hungry for something new will have this massive procedurally-generated space exploration simulator to play during that dull window in the year where nothing comes out. I imagine this will do wonders for sales in addition to the years-old hype train the Hello Games’ project has had. And if it underperforms, then we might finally have some clear justification for why the summer drought exists. It might be disappointing to hear the game will be taking longer than you expected, but I think this delay will only make its launch better, both for its creators, and for its players.