Gaming companies take different approaches to how they announce and release games. Some decide to announce a title years before it is actually released, while others announce and release a game within a handful of months. There are a number of factors that go into this, no matter if we’re talking about an independent developer or a company like Microsoft.
Microsoft typically takes their time when it comes to announcing and releasing games. Take a look at games they’re about to launch in 2017. Rare’s Sea of Thieves was first announced in 2015 and it is still in development. Undead Labs’ State of Decay 2 made its debut last year at E3 2016, and it should arrive this year. Finally, Crackdown 3 was unveiled back in 2014 and it has yet to be released.
In contrast, Microsoft also announces and releases games in well under a year. Take Forza Horizon 3, for example. This game was announced at E3 2016 and it launched only a small handful of months later in September 2016. All of this is to say that every title is different and each requires its own path to launch. Just ask Microsoft’s Phil Spencer.
“Take Sea of Thieves, Sea of Thieves is a service based game. We want to make sure when the game launches that we actually have had time to learn what is it that people do when they come together and play. That doesn’t work to say, ‘okay, we’re going to announce it and then in six months later it’s going to ship.’ For certain kinds of games that are first party AAA games, how do you incubate them? Think about Minecraft…Could Minecraft ever have been born as a first party game? It launched in 09′ as this weird beta and I don’t think so. Not that every game should be Minecraft, but I think it’s something special.
“This line between big blockbuster, ship it and then there’s not as much retain in service, I think you can do it then. For games that have to grow and we want to learn like Sea of Thieves, you do have to disclose them a little bit early. I think Rare is doing a really good job of modeling and managing the community,” Spencer told IGN.
When a publisher, and gamers for that matter, understand what a game is and will be, less time is needed leading up to a launch. A promotional campaign doesn’t need to be as exhaustive because people know what it is. In a perfect world, companies would love to announce and launch games within six months, but that’s not reality.
Microsoft will likely announce Forza Motorsport 7 this summer and it’ll likely launch this fall. The publisher will probably unveil other titles, but those may take more time before they launch. In gaming, timing and development changes. Thus, it’s too difficult to say announcing and releasing games is a black and white task. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Xbox.
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