September, October, and November are high volume release months for the gaming industry, and while a large volume of games do get released in this window, some are delayed in order to limit competition during the “Pre-Christmas” time frame where people are buying games for gifts during sales and holiday shopping. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer seems to have reservations about the large number of games set to release in the fall of 2015, and seems to be hinting that there may be delays in the future for some of Xbox One’s larger franchises. With the large volume of games releasing for the Xbox One next fall Microsoft may have no choice but to delay some of their higher profile titles so as to not damage sales in the short run.
During an Interview with Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, Spencer stated that the lineup is so jam-packed for the Fall of 2015 that some release dates may have to be shuffled out of the usual September-November schedule in order to accommodate sales for all releases. Spencer stated –
“I mean, this fall from a first-party/third-party standpoint is great,” said Spencer, as noted by videogamer.com
“Next fall, I don’t… Honestly it’s not hype at all, I honestly don’t know that we can actually ship all the stuff that thinks it’s trying to ship next fall. It just might be too crowded and we might purposely try to move some things out to spread it.”
With the livelihoods of developers and gaming retailers hinging on the autumn sale window this can be quite the task to manage, however with games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Halo 5: Guardians on the agenda for release in a tentative “2015” time-frame, some fancy footwork is needed so that some of these titles don’t get lost in the shuffle of large AAA titles. Spencer also commented that there are other great times during the year to release games, and may be hinting that Microsoft may be releasing some Xbox One titles a little earlier than the usual times for popular games to be released on the market.
“I think as publishers and first parties have success at multiple points of the year it’s just a good thing for us, because having three/four great games ship all in the same week at the end of October, while maybe on some forecast somewhere it feels like that’s the right thing to do, just as an industry I think it’s much more healthy if we have more beats throughout the year where people can ship great games.”
What does this mean for Xbox One users? Well If I had to hazard a guess i’d say that we aren’t likely to see some of these highly sought after AAA titles earlier than scheduled, however we may very well see some titles delayed into 2016 so that there isn’t as much competition. Some may groan at the sound of a delay of one of their favorite games, but for games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, or even the new Crackdown title that is forthcoming a delay may not be so bad. While delays mean that gamers have to wait longer, they can also mean a more polished final product.
In any case if one of Microsoft’s own people is concerned about the sheer crowding of games coming in Fall 2015 I highly doubt that they’re the only ones, and we may very well see Xbox One game delays and releases off the beaten schedule before it is all over with. In a world of Day one DLC and patching to fix bug; I wouldn’t say that’s entirely a bad thing at this point.