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System launches are a double-edged sword

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November saw the launch of not just one, but two major gaming systems. The excitement for the holiday system and the prospect of being the first to own the systems has propelled sales into the proverbial stratosphere. The items are hotly sought after by individuals and particularly parents eager to get their child the one gift that they have asked for as most important on their list, the gift that trumps all others. Then wide eyed and eager the gift is opened, and the realization that they only have a handful of games at best to play until they are to go months without a new title sets in.

Console developers have the aim to increase profit to as high of a margin as possible for a fiscal year. It is a part of the business and a sound move. The issue becomes at what part of the fiscal year they release. They aim for the holiday dates as they almost guarantee that early adopters will have the extra income and the desire to purchase the new consoles. But in this newest wave, manufacturers have stunted their own software sales, and in doing so have put off potential sales for longer periods.

The first issue came in with rely on cross platform titles to carry their immediate release window. These games included top performing shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, as well sports titles like Madden and FIFA. The trouble here is that all of these titles had been released 2 weeks or more for the previous generation consoles. This meant that the impatient, or those who were unsure if they would be getting the newer consoles most likely already owned the games and would have no desire to re-purchase them, new system or not. Many retailers offered an upgrade program, but a good deal of people will not take advantage of it as they often play with friends and would not be willing to abandon them if they are not able to upgrade as well. Publishers believe that they are hedging their bets by counting on double purchases to negate those who are not upgrading right away.

The next issue is that the amount of original titles is lacking for the first three months, a window far too large for the amount of time that it takes to complete the average video game. This carries with it the risk of purchasers to regret their purchase, getting rid of their new consoles, turning to others, or even going back to older consoles just for something new or different to play. The goal here again is quite apparent of being intent on closing the fiscal year high. As the next wave of anticipated titles coincide almost perfectly with the start of the new fiscal year. Consoles are used to carry this one out high, with software designed to carry the next year.

But if consoles were released with the most anticipated software in favor of having one very strong fiscal year instead of two above average one, the business and consumers would both win. There would be no dry spells, consumers would be more inclined to repurchase titles as they have had time to anticipate and communicate with others on which purchase to go in on as well as it would give manufacturers the much needed time to insure that there would be no risk of not having enough product to meet demand. This is an issue that is going on with at least one manufacturer at the time of this writing. Missing the end of the fiscal year may mean not ending on a supremely high note, but cross platform software sales would be increased for that time as many would not be holding off or unsure of what to purchase and that would help negate any negativity associated with the large price tags by helping the consumer believe they have more time to properly save up and not worry about the availability.

The release of consoles in short supply and during the holiday does increase the closing profits of the fiscal year. There is no evidence to argue against the demand it creates, but the potential make-up for an average fiscal year in a supremely strong fiscal year is worth the wait for everyone involved.


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