Date Breaker

For years it has been the case, it has been mostly rigorously stuck to with the few odd exceptions, but now I really want to know exactly why it happens.  I am of course referring to the whole mystery of launch dates for games, for us good old U.K. citizens it is mostly a Friday of whatever chosen week, for our American bretheren it is a Tuesday.  The games ready for release to the general public are often stocked in the shops for up to a week before release but usually around three days.  They are in a finished state and ready to play so why oh why can I not go into a shop as soon as the game is stocked and purchase it?  Of course with the advent of online ordering many gamers receive the games one day before general release, many forums would tell us this as we are gloriously told of how good the game is to play way ahead of us getting our mitts on them, it’s just not fair.

Queue for some lawn simulator.
Queue for some lawn simulator.

The truth behind the matter is that it is not illegal for shops to sell games early, as consumers we are perfectly within our rights to venture into the shops and purchase the games.  We are also free to take the games home and play them as much as we want but the fear factor exists telling us that if we do play them we will be banned from using online services or worse!  Shops stick to the rule because they also fear reprisals for breaking a street date but once again they would be doing nothing wrong.  Of course many forms of media are also subject to the same kind of rules and regulations regarding street dates but that doesn’t trouble me one bit, I am a gamer and I want to play the games.  Many years ago when I had reserved a copy of Resident Evil for the Gamecube I had a phone call from GAME on a Tuesday telling me that they had been given the go ahead to sell the game early; it was a breath of fresh air.  They wouldn’t have done this though if they thought that Nintendo wouldn’t send them any stock of new games if they broke a street date, some questions have to be asked.

Will we be banned?
Will we be banned?

If a game is out in the retailers why can it not be sold on the day of delivery?  The publishers will still get the money from the sales, the sales figures will still be the same and there would be a more gradual increase in online play instead of network throttling mass gaming.  Why should publishers be able to impose restrictions on shops as thinly veiled threats?  Both facets of the gaming industry feed off of each other so why should either live in fear of the other?  The publishers worry that the latest games will be in the public domain before they want them to be due to early selling.  The shops fear the publishers will give them less stock if they are caught selling early so they live together in an uneasy equilibrium.  We, as consumers, sit like obedient lapdogs waiting to be finally allowed to buy the games we want, we are even funnelled into midnight launches to sate our need to play. If we can queue up in a freezing street during the night why can’t we just walk in the previous day, during daylight, and purchase what is obviously there?

Sometimes midnight launches sound like a good idea.
Sometimes midnight launches sound like a good idea.

Modern Warfare 2 is upon us as the most anticipated game release ever, thousands queued up during the night to be able to play the game as soon as they possibly could.  Many places started to sell the game in the days running up to the official  launch and I wonder how many of them are going to be found out and punished by the publishers, I also wonder how many people will be banned for playing the game early?  In a turnaround it would seem that the only one doing anything wrong in this situation is the publisher.  The shops are merely supplying the demand they have and if they sell games early… big deal!  The publishers are too heavy handed with their approach to breaking dates, they should be happy that people want to play their games, they should also be grateful of the huge effect that seeing someone on your friends list playing a game early has on impulse buying.  As soon as a game is ready we should be able to play it, nuff said.

When was this coming out?
When was this coming out?

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One response to “Date Breaker”

  1. Duncan avatar
    Duncan

    I don’t agree with breaking the date, because it will never happen for everyone so it can be easily ruined for others.

    Plus, I really enjoyed camping out at midnight in excitement to know the time was nearly here. 😀

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