The delay of Watch Dogs isn’t exactly the end of the world for the game. The holiday 2013 release window is going to be incredibly crowded. Ubisoft themselves are busy hyping up Assassin’s Creed IV, a very similar game. Sony and Microsoft are both releasing new consoles. Nintendo is making a big push with the Wii U. Shoppers just may not have enough money to go around. Removing a highly anticipated game lets people sit back and wait to pick up a new console, see which one looks “better” in the long run (spoiler: they’re both going to be great), and save up some extra money instead of spending Christmas broke.
This isn’t a new tactic by publishers either. BioShock Infinite was delayed out of a holiday season in order to add more polish to the game. The result was an unforgettable experience and fantastic game. Grand Theft Auto V was delayed from Spring of this year to September for quality reasons. Again, the result was an unforgettable experience and fantastic game (misogyny aside). By this logic, Watch Dogs will, too, be an unforgettable experience and fantastic game. Best of all, it won’t have to share the spotlight with the launches of two next-gen consoles, the major push from Nintendo, and a slew of other anticipated holiday game releases.
Yep, Watch Dogs is going to have the spotlight all to itself. Great move, Ubisoft.
I almost forgot. Something else is coming in the spring of 2014. Something big…
Something that won every convention award imaginable…
In the Spring season of 2013, every “major” game release was staggered. In addition, any game with long-term replay ability (SimCity) was crippled with issues. It didn’t matter that BioShock Infinite, Lego City Undercover (hush, that game is fantastic) and Tomb Raider were releasing so close to one another. We’d spend our time with them and move on. However, Watch Dogs and Titanfall are different. One is a giant open world game begging to be explored, and the other is a multiplayer extravaganza from the minds that brought us Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Both games are highly anticipated, both games offer insane replay value, and both games are shining examples of what’s possible in next-generation hardware.
Both games are also coming out in the same release window. Hopefully, they’ll be a bit spread out. Otherwise, gamers will have a serious decision to make.
For a PS4 owner, it’s a no brainer: Titanfall isn’t coming to Sony’s new console. If you’re looking for a third party next-gen experience in spring of 2014 for your PS4, chances are it’s going to be Watch Dogs. For Xbox One and PC owners, however, things may get a little tricky. Both games have looked very good since their announcements. Both games have gotten high praise. Both games are going to require both a financial and attentive commitment.
Both games are releasing around the same time. That’s an absolutely horrible thought for a budget conscious gamer.
I don't believe Ubisoft is doing the wrong thing here; delaying a game to ensure it reaches the highest possible quality is always the right thing. However, Watch Dogs avoiding the holiday rush isn’t exactly a positive. Yes, it steers clear of the mess, but it steps into the ring with another behemoth.