Originally slated for an early 2014 release date, the open world racing game, The Crew, has been pushed to an undetermined date falling sometime within the 2014/15 fiscal year.
The bigger impact is for Watch Dogs, the open-world, stealth, action hacking game that gamers were looking forward to digging into alongside their holiday Turkey. The news of the game's launch moving to Spring of 2014 came in just over a month before its originally intended release date of November 19th.
As the Watch Dog development team explained in a post on the Ubisoft blog, “We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune each detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.”
Fan reactions are mixed. Many are glad that Ubisoft Montreal is taking steps to make sure the game is the best it can be, while others are frustrated with what feels like a last-minute announcement, and there are just some using the news as an opportunity to complain, fling insults, and troll the message boards.
Regardless, Ubisoft Communications Manager Gary Steinman, has been diligently responding to fan questions resulting from news, explaining in one reply, “We know it feels like a last-minute decision, but we promise it was not a decision made lightly.” which is very true, as a game delay has some serious impacts that go far beyond making their players wait.
Because of the Watch Dog delay Ubisoft is left with a gaping hole in their release slate for the 2013 holidays, a critical time for console game sales, especially when it's a launch title for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This, combined with the delay of The Crew has caused the corporate side of Ubisoft to cut their financial forecast for the year. According to Bloomberg.com, the loss could be as high as $54 million.
This also has a major impact on retailers who are now without copies of Watch Dogs to sell, which was one of the more highly anticipated games of the holiday season. This hurts brick-and-mortar stores the most as they have limited shelf space and make the decision on what games they will carry far in advance. The space reserved for Watch Dogs could have gone to another game, and the late date does not give them the time to fill in the gap with another game, especially one so highly anticipated.
For those who pre-ordered Watch Dogs, Ubisoft recommends that you “please contact the retailer directly” to see how the delay will impact your order. For instance, Amazon has announced that those buyers who per-ordered a PlayStation 4 bundle with Watch Dogs will still receive their console on launch day, just not with a copy of Watch Dog.