I like Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I’ve only really been introduced to them relatively recently, as I don’t really read around much. But their site is simple, they’re PC guys (Like me, at heart), and I like their wide range of voices and creative writing. I’ve met a couple of them as well, Quintin especially is a very nice guy, and always a pleasure to hang around with… would love to write for those guys sometime.
Anyway, one of their main chaps – John Walker – posted this up a couple of days ago. Their ‘No Oceans’ initiative is something they’ve talked about before, but this time they’ve gone ahead and set up a petition and everything that you can sign. Basically, the RPS lot (like a lot of gamers I imagine) are sick and tired of the staggered release dates. Traditionally, games launch on a Tuesday out in the US, whilst here in the UK we prefer the Friday as the release date of choice.
I say ‘we’, it’s actually the publishers (and possibly retail chains as well) that have decided that those days are the optimum time to release stuff in the respective territories. I imagine other countries have their own special day as well, and it’s a habit that’s stuck around. This is why you will often see the US get a game a few days before the UK does, or (although rare) visa versa. Some of the bigger titles, the really really big ones, will release worldwide simultaneously because you just know they’ll sell no matter when they’re released, but outside of those, publishers like to stick to those days.
From a brick and mortar retail perspective, I can understand that. I doubt the publishers would have just pulled these trends out of thin air, and are not doing it just to be arsewipes, so I’m happy to let them have their habits. A fellow writer pointed out that releasing just after, or on, payday can make a huge difference to opening sales, and I believe him (Which is why we traditionally have the Friday). The only area I don’t think it makes sense, and I think this is where RPS mainly want to direct attention, is when it comes to the online outlets.
Going out and buying something, that’s process in and of itself, and I imagine people think more before going shopping, or they’ll already have set habits with regards to when/where/how they ‘go out’ to shop, which is where these trends come in. But the Internet… the Internet makes everything easy, almost too easy, and when buying something is as simple as clicking a button, you think less about the important stuff(like, can I actually afford this?).
RPS makes better arguments then I do – I’m being a little bit abstract, but basically it doesn’t make sense to hold digital outlets to the same rules as brick and mortars. People may not mind waiting until Friday to go somewhere to purchase something, but if they’re at their PC, credit card in hand, and itching to buy something, why deny them because they live in a different country? I’m sure even RPS would disagree with me here, as they want universal release for all sectors, but I can’t help but see a distinction between online and retail.
Something to think about at least. I can’t help but think that if the publishers thought they had more to gain from simultaneous release dates across the board, they would have done it already. These guys don’t fuck about when it comes to making money… but who knows, some publishers already do simultaneous releases, maybe we can get universal adoption. If you support the idea, go sign their petition!
Until next time.