The Issue of Niche Game Release Dates
Posted 06-30-2010 at 03:10 PM by TnAdct1
Since I got some feedback when I posted a complaint in the past, I thought I might as well do it again.
Recently, I am very upset at a couple of video game companies recently. The reason for this is simple really: they've been missing the scheduled release dates for numerous video games, and by that, I don't mean the big guns, but rather the niche games that target a smaller demographic. This problem has happened twice in the past month for me.
The first problem happened a few weeks ago with the release of the Mega Man Zero Collection. The game was supposed to come out on the 8th. However, when I went to my local Gamestop stores looking for it, they didn't have it available. My first thought was that maybe the game was pushed back until the next day (due to the amount of "big" games coming out that day) and thought that the game would be there the next morning. However, when I checked the two Gamestops at my local mall, I found out that neither of them (or the nearby Best Buy) has gotten the game yet, with one of the people working at the store stating that game was shipped from Japan. Luckily, the one Gamestop that was closest to me did get the game later in the afternoon, and I picked up the game soon afterwards. However, precious gas was wasted just to travel to a Gamestop earlier in the morning, only to discover that they didn't get the Mega Man Zero Collection in.
The second problem involved Trinity Universe, a game that was supposed to come out yesterday. Anyways, I went to the mall yesterday in hopes of picking it up, only to discover that the game hasn't arrived yet. No problems at the moment. It's likely that the game was shipped from Japan and that it be at the store by tomorrow afternoon. Besides, Gamestop did have another game I was looking for (Deathsmiles), so it wasn't like I left Gamestop empty-handed. However, the real issue came when I went to the nearest Gamestop near my home today in hopes of picking the game up. Even after waiting until the afternoon to pick up the game, I arrived at the store only to find that they haven't received Trinity Universe yet. Even worse, when I went online in hopes of ordering it, neither Amazon.com (the regular store, not an online dealer) or the NIS America store had the game in stock. That's where I've finally have had it.
Because of these two incidents, I've felt that some video game companies (specifically those based in Japan) have dropped the ball when it comes to shipping "niche" titles to America. It feels as if the companies think that they can ship the game just a day or two before the game's US release date and assume that most vide game stores in the United States will have the game that Tuesday. Sadly, reality needs to set in: the United States is a big country. Hence, unless the games are shipped via special delivery, it will take longer for a game to arrive to the East Coast (where I live) than the West Coast, thus resulting in the game missing the release date in the East Coast. Heck, with the upcoming BlazBlue sequel coming out at the end of July, I'm a little nervous that the game will not be available in the East Coast by the time Otakon starts (I think Aksys will have the game at video game shows the the Tuesday before the convention, given how Record of Agarest War and Deathsmiles met their release date, but given what happened with the Mega Man Zero Collection and Trinity Universe, I starting have some doubts here).
In my opinion, there's two things that video game companies that have some of their games shipped from Japan need to do in order to avoid this mess again (especially when it comes to niche games):
1. Ship the game earlier. If companies are having problems getting the games in the stores by the scheduled release date, then ship the game earler. Sure, it may arrive at stores earlier than its release date (i.e. Katamari Forever, which I picked up the Saturday before its scheduled release date), but at the store will have copies ready to sell. Also, if you don't want the game to be sold before the scheduled release date, make sure that the stores enforce something to block out the early purchase of the game. That's what happened with a number of stores near my home when they received Bayonetta a week or two before its scheduled release date (although that didn't stop the "not so bright" stockpeople from putting the games on the store floor, even though the computer prevents a purchase until its release date).
2. Delay the game a week if it looks like neither stores in the East Coast, Amazon.com, nor your own online store will have the game in stock by the Wednesday afternoon the week the game is supposed to come out. Yes, that may mean another week of waiting (unless some stores decide to sell it or ship it early), but I'd take that over going to the store on Tuesday only to see that the game hasn't arrived yet, then going back to the store the next day only to get the same result.