The Daily Grind: Are you partial to specific launch windows for MMOs?

    
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Earlier in August, Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney dropped some cold truth during the company’s quarterly investor call, arguing that the “charade of launch timing serves little purpose except this dance with equity analysts.” Essentially, his point was that it doesn’t matter when games come out because they will make money as long as they’re good, but a game that is rushed to make an arbitrary seasonal deadline will suck and destroy the people making it for nothing.

It made me wonder whether our own readers buy games based on seasonal deadlines. Sure, we might roll our eyes and grumble at delays and missed windows, but generally speaking, as long as there’s plenty of communication, people seem pretty ambivalent about delays – look at Guild Wars 2’s and New World’s recent delays, for example. And personally, it doesn’t matter all that much to me whether a game makes the late-fall/early-winter holiday window. Heck, I usually prefer when they launch into dead time period so they can suck up all the air in the room for a month or so. Don’t launch when everything else is launching, and don’t launch the month I’m at my busiest.

Are you partial to specific launch windows for MMOs? Is there a specific time of year when you’d prefer to be buying games? Or do you really just not care when as long as it’s good?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Ken from Chicago

Fall / holiday season is the busiest time of the year at work when I have the least energy for a new game.

Summer time is when things slow down a bit and I can enjoy a new game.

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treehuggerhannah

I prefer any time except summer. During the summer I’m spending so much time either doing stuff outside or traveling that I feel like I’m either missing the launch or skipping real life things to play. (Generally missing the launch rather than skipping anything.)

That said, this is really just personal preference and not something I think companies should act on, because it’s ready when it’s ready, but also seasons are different in different parts of the world and what’s summer for me isn’t summer for everyone, so they can’t please everybody with this.

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Anstalt

I don’t care what time of year a game comes out, whilst I have more free time for gaming over the winter I can always find time for a good game.

That said, I do care about the general organisation and management of the launch of a new game.

I typically only buy games once they’ve fully released, so I dislike early access / paid-for-betas etc. When it comes to MMORPGs, I will only play at launch, and only at the genuine launch. If the game has had a long period of early access or open beta, it typically kills all enjoyment of that game for me.

Launch day is an exciting day to be playing, but if that launch day has effectively been spread over the previous few months or years due to early access then launch day effectively doesnt exist and the most exciting day of the game will never happen. Thats before we even touch on the damage done to the community.

Fisty
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Fisty

I enjoy me some fall gaming. So, I like when they release from spooky season to the end of the holiday season. Sure, it’s crowded, but people seem to get most hype around the seasons too.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

For MMOs especially, I don’t want to join in during the launch because even the most successful studios servers struggle at launch and that’s even when they launch “Ready(TM)”.

I do hope more devs start avoiding crunch and releasing in a more ready state.

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Neurotic

The older I get, the more things I have to do that aren’t gaming, right, so at this point (and since long ago), I’ve not thought about release times other than “Is it out now, and if not, when? Oh good, okay.” So on a broad level, I don’t care. On a more granular level, I’m more interested in “When can I play this fabulous game that I have just purchased?” than “When will I be able to purchase this (hopefully) fabulous game?” 😁

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Kayweg

I have taken it one step further even.
I’m now at “Oh, that game has actually been released, since when ? May go and have a look then”

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Neurotic

Ah yes, I know how that is! :D

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nomadmorlock9

He knows what he’s talking about. Launch when it’s ready and not before. Try to be the only launch in that 30-60 day window. Manage the hype. Hype when it’s time and it’s ready.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

I think Owen is pretty spot on. The overpaid marketing analysts will always say the holiday season is best to get those gift sales, but I think that’s no longer true in the age of digital distribution. There’s nothing to put under the tree any more, so it’s just better to launch “when it’s ready.”

The real problem is premature hyping. I wish marketing would keep things under wraps for a lot longer than we have been getting over the last few years. Hyping up a release literally 5 or 6 years before it will ever see the light of day causes more problems than are necessary.

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Dug From The Earth

and with there being “black friday” like sales online all throughout the year, it even further disseminates that “holiday buying” period

Fisty
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Fisty

I rarely get physical boxes under the tree, but I do get those digital download cards. I am still such a kid.

I do pretty much agree with him and you, but I personally prefer that holiday season.

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Schmidt.Capela

Nope, I don’t have a preferred launch window. As long as the game launches (or, at least, drops the “early access” label) when it feels like a complete and mostly bug-free game I’m happy.

Caveat: I don’t often play games on launch, not even MMOs. Too big a backlog. Besides, as long as there is nothing exclusive that is only obtainable by those that play the game at launch or soon after I actually find it better to give the game at least a few months, for the often needed bugfix patches, before I start playing. And if there are exclusive things for the players present at launch then I avoid the game on principle, since I hate having a deadline to get something.

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Katriana

Eh. Who cares when it launches so long as it’s finished, or reasonably so, and good. Tired of seeing games with potential fail because the get rushed to market by the beancounters and then panned by all those who are just waiting to tear something down because it’s only half baked and/or full of bugs.