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The Yearly Release Cycle Needs to Be Changed Up

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Old 01-10-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
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The Yearly Release Cycle Needs to Be Changed Up



I love waiting for a new NHL game every year. I read every preview, blog, tweet and Facebook update. I rummage through various forums to try and find information on the upcoming game. Any piece of information will do; every detail discovered feels like another step towards the game's release.

And every year, roughly two weeks after release, I feel disappointed. Minor improvements, major bugs and paying customers being used as beta testers. And I have nothing against EA for doing this because if you have to push out a game every 12 months this is what will happen.

But imagine a band releasing an album that is not done yet. For a few weeks you would have to listen to it without vocals because they were mixed so badly that they got muted behind guitar tracks. Or imagine a badly edited movie that loses track of characters between scenes and might or might not have an ending.

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Old 01-10-2011, 01:10 PM   #2
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Good article
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:39 PM   #3
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Why not just sell like subscriptions? I'd be happy to pay a monthly subscription fee to the developers of my favorite games (i.e. MLB: The Show, NBA2k, Madden, Gran Turismo, etc..) and they just continue to develop the game/genre. I'd like them to continually be trying to improve and build on what they're doing, rather than completely overhauling the games all the time. Come out with meaningful updates as they're needed or ready to be released...no "deadlines".
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:56 PM   #4
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Th problem with biannual releases is that even if a company alternated titles year on year, there would be a reduction in income when compared to yearly releases. Therefore the developer would have no alternative but to reduce staff numbers. This would mean that despite having an additional 12 months to develop a game the reduced staff numbers would lead to little if any increase on actual man hours dedicated to any particular title.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:10 PM   #5
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I think i remember reading an article from a developer that on the next consoles games may just become updates that you download. Can't remember who said it or when it was said, but interesting
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:26 PM   #6
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Good article, but my hunch is that a biennial release schedule would cut their profits nearly in half which is why they haven't done it to this point (I'm sure they've considered it, they are a business after all). EA's monopoly on sports games does funny things to the consumer. Like you say, every year EA is basically treating its paying customers as beta testers. However, how many of us are refusing to buy the next title because of it? Maybe a few but most of us are so enthralled with the idea of sports video games and so hopeful that the myriad of problems will be fixed that we buy the games anyways even if it is mostly just a roster update. As consumers of this niche market, what other options do we have? There are no other comparable firms in the marketplace releasing a similar product so we buy it anyways.
Anyways, I guess my point is that EA doesn't care about the consumer and like any firm that wants to survive in the marketplace they put profits above all else, including quality of the product and happiness of the consumer.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazraz
Th problem with biannual releases is that even if a company alternated titles year on year, there would be a reduction in income when compared to yearly releases. Therefore the developer would have no alternative but to reduce staff numbers. This would mean that despite having an additional 12 months to develop a game the reduced staff numbers would lead to little if any increase on actual man hours dedicated to any particular title.
...which is why a monthly subscription would make sense. Price it so that the developer can stay optimally staffed and still produce profit, while coming out with updates and improvements as they become ready...
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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Well written. But I respectfully disagree.

UFC 2010 came out after a 2 year cycle. And the improvement was not that much greater that yearly releases. I look for Fight Night Champion to have plenty of things that could've been better after a 2 year wait as well.

Example: I've seen video of FN Cahmpion...and the presentation is STILL lacking. And its been two years.
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