A video game is coming out, or wait..? Is it? There are delays after delays after delays and we as customers are beyond frustrated when a video game is delayed for a year and a half. This has been a frustrating couple of years for video games fans, but why are developers so late?
Has it become a trend to wait for ages prior to releasing new titles? Well, no, but there are reasons that developers are delaying launches, and they have to do with business and the process of creating games.
Building Games is Hard
Building a AAA game that works fine ouf of the box is a cycle that takes years, often five to seven, depending on the game and whether the devs have an engine working. If they do, then it might take about five years if you want a polished experience. Rushing a release can lead to problems with the fans and the game itself. Look at Cyberpunk 2077 which had a plethora of bugs and to this day lacks content. On another hand, Dying Light 2 could have used a couple more months in development to be a polished game. They will be fine in a year, but by that time, the sour taste will be left in many fans’ mouths.
Releasing a buggy game is a great way to lose money and perceived brand image quality.
Publishers Don’t Want a Scandal
When you release a bad game, you get a scandal. People want their money back and then the sales tank and the reviews put the video game in the ground. This is a real problem for the investors who want more and more sales and more and more money. But the world doesn’t work this way so developers and publishers are delaying launches to give fans a smooth experience and sell as many copies as possible, and to actually have good reviews upon release.
The Global Pandemic
This made work impossible for most companies. Remote work is really hard for games which require constant code compiling. What about art, 2D and 3D? Who is going to send those files through the internet, then compile everything once more?
Take for example the launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Prior to the release, all the devs had to do multiple weeks of crunching (working overtime). They were paid well, but even with so much work, the game wasn’t ready for release.
Games have been delayed for more than a single reason and these are some of the valid ones. There probably are more, but it depends on the company and the product.