January is the new November­­ for gaming

By Zach Walton

Have you ever wondered why game releases tend to slow down around November and become nonexistent in December?

There’s a very simple reason for this, one I like to call the “Call of Duty Effect.”

Every November, there used to be a slew of new game releases. Every game was vying for the consumer dollar and there was great joy because the consumer could afford all the games they wanted.

Then 2007 came and with it, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.” This one game changed everything. Big releases were not selling as well as they used to, and other games were just lost in the rush. The only other game to achieve any kind of success in 2007, besides “Modern Warfare” was the excellent “Assassin’s Creed.”

In 2008 came the release of “World at War,” the next entry in the “Call of Duty” franchise. This is where things got interesting. Many games were slated for release in October and November around the time that “World of War” would be released. Many publishers saw this and pushed their releases back in January or February to miss the behemoth that “Call of Duty” had become.

It only got worse in subsequent years as it seemed that “Call of Duty” is the only high profile game to release in November. What ever happened to every game on the market releasing in November?

Many gamers, especially after the recession, could only afford one game around the holiday shopping season. They had to make their purchase count so they bought the game with the best multiplayer. “Call of Duty” was, and still is the arguable king of multi-player.

“Call of Duty” has effectively pushed all of the other games into the next year. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does create a few problems for those of us who buy every new release.

It basically turns January and February into the new November. All the biggest games come out all at once while everybody is still hurting from spending so much over the holidays. A game delay can kill a product, but releasing it right after Christmas can be even worse.

There are a few success stories such as “Mass Effect 2” and “Killzone 2” that still post impressive sales, but these are few and far between.

Looking at the release list for January and February of 2010 is daunting. In the space of January: “Dead Space 2,” “Mass Effect 2” for PS3 and “Little Big Planet 2” are all releasing.

February isn’t looking any easier on the old wallet with “Hunted,” “Test Drive Unlimited 2,” “Marvel vs. Capcom 3,” “Bulletstorm,” “Killzone 3” and “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” all launching within the month.

I, as many other gamers, will have spent all the money we had stockpiled for the holidays on other things with no games to buy.

It’s great that these games will get extra time to be made even better but at the expense at having no money left to afford them is disheartening.

So please, “Call of Duty,” let some of the other games into November or move Christmas to February. My wallet depends on it.