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Bethesda: November schedule "healthy" for the industry

Fri 05 Aug 2011 7:37am GMT / 3:37am EDT / 12:37am PDT
PublishingDevelopment

Pete Hines claims crowded release schedule is good publicity for the industry, though some will fail

Bethesda Softworks

The Bethesda Softworks division, founded in 1986, has a long history of success as a developer and publisher...

bethsoft.com

Bethesda's vice president Pete Hines believes that the crush of high profile releases at the end of the year could have a positive effect on the industry.

November will be one of the most crowded months for blockbuster releases on record, with Uncharted 3, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Saints Row: The Third and Need For Speed: The Run all scheduled for release in the space of a few weeks.

Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is also due for release in November, with id Software's Rage falling in October, but Hines takes a positive view of the intense competition.

"It's probably healthy for the industry because the industry gets a lot of attention when there's all these things happening," he said in an interview with Eurogamer. "Just like the movie industry gets a lot of buzz when there's a bunch of really big things at the movies and everyone's talking about them all."

However, while the attention drawn by so many big releases could raise public awareness of the industry, Hines conceded that the situation is just likely to result in failure for some of the games involved.

"It's probably not healthy for everyone who has one of those titles, because as you rightly pointed out usually someone gets the short end of the stick. Someone ends up falling short and not doing quite what they expected to do."

The question is which will be found wanting, but Hines is confident that Bethesda's products will meet expectations.

"We're feeling very good about both Rage and Skyrim and very good about our line-up for this holiday season," he added.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz in April, Hines accused studios that become reliant on a single product for their continued survival of "poor management."

"It would be wholly irresponsible for us to build towards a company that released three or four big games a year and then have our well being fall apart if any one of those doesn't do well," he said at the time. "That would be poor management on our part... We've been built smarter and better than that."

"I certainly hate to see those kinds of things, but I think when you see it, it relates to them and their business."

16 Comments

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
I'm not sure I'd agree that it's a good idea to release all those games at the same time, but given that I don't have a PS3, ruling out Uncharted unfortunately, the two Bethesda games are the only two in that list I am likely to buy. But despite id's heritage, as a shooter it could get damaged by the CoD/ BF3 war more than Skyrim.

Posted:3 years ago

#1
As the average joe, commensically I would only splash out on one game. max two. So having a crammed schedule is uncommonsensical, it just confuses and bewilders. With the multiple adverts out, I'd just choose what looks interesting and give the other titles a glance later on in the year.

So it isnt good for the industry to have a packed schedule.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde

110 0 0.0
"Just like the movie industry gets a lot of buzz when there's a bunch of really big things at the movies and everyone's talking about them all."

The problem there is that typically the 'big' things at the movies tend to be summer blockbusters, which are often derivative, dumbed down and far from good examples of the genre - see Transformers 3, Green Lantern etc. While there will be some solid releases - see Harry Potter, Thor etc. - it's a period of overrated drivel. Is this really a model you wish to follow for games?

Once we reach October, I focus on reduced titles released earlier in the year and will purchase one of the big releases prior to Xmas. I think it will be Assassins Creed this year. After that, I'd simply wait until January when the prices start dropping, or may just lose interest. That's not really healthy for publisher revenues is it?

Is it not better to allow for strong AAA releases to come out throughout the year? Are you more likely to sell these titles for longer at a higher price point as there may be no competition for a few weeks? Also given the lack of competition, will good word of mouth also generate more sales as people have less titles to consider? You see the likes of Portal 2, Mass Effect 2 & 3, Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3 which were/will be released outside of the holiday crunch. Surely they benefit more in the long run.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna

77 19 0.2
Never thought I'd say this but games offer way too much value when you consider titles like CoD, BF, Dark Souls and Skyrim all offer 100+ hours of gameplay for only 50-60 EUROS. There's not enough time to play all AAA-games and this x-mas is the most overcrowded ever.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Dean Kortenhoven Gaming and Tech News Writer

8 1 0.1
I think that Mr. Hines is correct in that it is healthy for the industry, but not for the reason he states.
It's healthy because all of the games will be compared to each other, and anything that is a huge tower of suck is going to go down in flames. The studios' whose games fail will either learn from their mistakes or go quietly into the sunset. This means better games in the long run, with more thought put into how to make games appealing and top sellers, which IS healthy for the industry.

Just my 2 cents. ;)

Posted:3 years ago

#5
I think EA have the right strategy. To have a all year round business of hits, rather than focus on any one particular sector in the year. So, I stand by my opinion that a crowded Q4 is really not beneficial for the games industry because good titles will go amiss. (and get too saturated). simples!

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Alex Wright-Manning Talent Acquisition Manager, The Creative Assembly

172 2 0.0
Not very healthy for my wallet!!

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 182 0.2
Schedule cramming isn't nice for the consumer...

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Kevin Patterson musician

187 103 0.6
November is always a painful month for the wallet. I can tell you I'll be getting one game during that month and that is Skyrim. Too many games, too little time. A bethesda game is always worth it, you know it will be supported a long time with great DLC, and sitting down to play an Elder scroll's game for the first time is the closest thing an adult has to being a kid on Christmas.

Posted:3 years ago

#9
Uncharted 3

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd

196 164 0.8
New ip is sure to lose out mr Hines. Watch out.

Posted:3 years ago

#11
ones to watch:

Sep: MM Heroes 6 | F1 2011 | FIFA 12 | Dead Island | GOW 3 | Stronghold 3 | Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

OCT: Rage |Arkham City | Dark Souls | Battlefield 3 | Uncharted 3 | Silent Hill Downpour

this is all before we even hit November.

NOV: COD3 | ES Skyrim | Aliens: CM ? | PES 12 | Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary | Assasins 3

As you can see, the schedule is so jam packed before Christmas - the selection is difficult (but at least it caters to a bit of everyone - be they the FPS fan, adventure fan, fitness or horror fans + misc). Whats probably scary is that Zumba fitness 2 wii or PES 12 would take a healthy chunk out of the weekly sales charts (in UK at least)

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ

199 72 0.4
I think we'll look back on these times, in years to come, and marvel at the amount of resources being poured into these massive and amazing games in such a confined amount of release-time.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Dominic Jakube Student

92 13 0.1
Didn't it used to a more top heavy triple A Christmas release schedule before every one got scared of call of duty a few years ago?I've learned my lesson anyway and pre ordered by uk import to australia saving over 50% of rip off Aussie RRP the few games I plan in getting this year.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
I don't think it's necessarily a good thing for the industry - it's far too crowded, and some games (specifically new IPs) will lose out. I think it's important to note that perhaps time is a more precious commodity for many if not most 'core' gamers than money; especially considering many big releases these days have a massive multiplayer contingent, so said games really need a big investment from the consumer to justify their purchase.

In the Sept-Nov release window I anticipate buying a few games on release myself (Dark Souls, Team Ico Collection and Uncharted 3), with a small selection of maybes (Resistance 3, Battlefield 3, Batman: AC) and I'll most likely buy a couple other HD Collection series like GoW and Silent Hill.

I do think new IPs are gonna feel the heat this year just like Vanquish, Majin and Enslaved did last year. No doubt Bethesda will put a lot of marketing behind RAGE, but I think a lot of consumers will overlook it in favour of COD, BF3 et al.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 8th August 2011 11:23am

Posted:3 years ago

#15
The other thing the big wigs forget is....it takes time to play this big Autumnal hits.

I dont profess to be a hard core gamer, so from my side of things I only see purchasing 3 titles to last till next march.

It might take me weeks on end, being a content tourist to enjoy Uncharted 3 to prior to jumping in with Battlefield 3 to last all the way till new year. Perhaps by then, Demon Souls would consume the playlist till March.

So, by next year, maybe the titles that looks juicy but were only going to gather a pile of dust (till there was some actual time to look/review them) would be a viable purchase, just because there was time to play it thence.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

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