Christmas Isn't Everything, EA Realizes

By  |  Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 11:47 am

mirrorsedgeGood news for people who don’t like juggling a half dozen top-shelf video games at the tail end of the year: an Electronic Arts manager says the company might be backing off the holiday release strategy.

The big takeaway from last year’s success of Mario Kart and Grand Theft Auto is that AAA games don’t have to be introduced in the holiday season to perform well. NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said as much after her company put out its annual sales figures. “Get some high profile releases out in the first and second quarters,” she suggested.

Mulling over a fairly unsuccessful year, Electronic Arts is coming around to that school of thought. Glen Schofield, General Manager for the EA branch that developed Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge, told that there were “far too many” games to choose from before the holidays.

“I think that we traditionally thought that people only buy games at Christmas or around holiday time, and now we’re looking back and going, ‘You know what, GTA launched in May; Resident Evil comes out in March’.”

I picked this story up from Destructoid, where one commenter posed a clever theory: Publishers previously had the mindset that video games are just kids’ toys, and children are most likely to get them on Christmas. Personally, I can relate to that. I used to always get a video game on the eighth night of Hannukah, but now I just buy them when they deserve my $60, period. I would have loved to play Left 4 Dead in the summer of 2008, when nothing was going on. It’s still on my backlog now.

Let’s hope other publishers follow suit. With Halo Wars and Resident Evil 5 coming next month, and Street Fighter IV in stores now, it seems that this strategy might already be in play.

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