The Annualization of Games. How Much Time is Enough Time?

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Any dedicated gamer will know how long a game has been in development, and there is a good reason for that. It is because people know that good things take time. Most great games have a three, maybe four year development cycle; in order to not only come up with great ideas but make sure they are fully fleshed out. My biggest pet peeve is the Annualization of games. It is a disservice to both gamers and developers.

When I say the Annualization, it mean the act of annualizing or making something a yearly event. So basically for gaming it means seeing a sequel or spinoff to a game release exactly a year after the previous version. This has become a big trend within the game industry especially with games like the Assassins Creed series, Call of Duty series and even Halo on occasion. I’m pretty much tired of it.

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Annualization also means that developers only have about a year to make the next version of their game. The one year development cycle has become a big problem, especially among sequels and licensed games. With sequels publishers try to catch lightning in a bottle twice while the games is still fresh in the mind of gamers. We saw this with rise and fall of the Guitar Hero series. Every year there was at least one or two new Guitar Hero games on the market. Eventually everyone became tired of it , leading to its cancellation.

What is often an overlook problem with yearly releases is franchise fatigue. No matter how great a game is, if it comes out year after year, people will grow tired of it. What I like to say is:

Make me miss it” 

Anticipation should be a strategy among publishers. If the first one was great, take your time, people will want it even more. When Half-Life 3 comes out, do you think people are not going to buy it?

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