Grand Theft Auto 5 is the upcoming gaming title developed by Rockstar Games, set in the . Grand Theft Auto has been a perennial classic and the definitive gaming series for Rockstar Games, creating the modern urban sandbox game and similar gaming titles such as Saint’s Row. The release date for GTA 5 was originally planned at the beginning of the year in spring 2013, but was pushed back to September 17. Does moving release dates have any noticeable effect on the sales of video games?
GTA 5: Do Moving Release Dates Boost Sales?
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One of the most important effects of moving release dates is to afford the studio and developers of the game more time to put finishing touches on the game. Two examples of games being rushed by developers, possibly in order to meet release dates by studios, are Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3. In this case, moving the release date may appease anxious fans for a short amount of time, but the quality of the game may not hold up to expectations. This is particularly obvious in Mass Effect 3, where the lackluster ending stood out as an enormous drawback to the game and may even lower sales of future games planned in the Mass Effect universe. There was a huge divergence in the quality of the ending compared to the quality of the rest of the game that prompted many gamers to deduce that the ending to the game was rushed. This is particularly damaging to a game which has built up to the ending in the trilogy only to disappoint the gamers who have played through Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 to see the ending. The fiasco created by the ending even caused the studio to release another ending, although the damage may be permanent.
Otherwise, even late in the development cycle in a game, there are important stages for the game to go through such as bug testing, so that any potential bugs or glitches may be fixed before release. This is important particularly in AAA titles such as GTA 5, where fans have a great deal of expectations about the realism and immersion of the game itself, which can be broken by an abundance of bugs. In this case, it may be better for the studio to delay the release date instead of releasing a mediocre, or even worse, an unfinished product. It is particularly worthwhile for Rockstar Games to take their time considering that GTA 5 is one of their most important titles; it is of paramount importance for them to preserve the quality of the game rather than rush any part of the game’s release.
Finally, there is indication that moving the release date of games later can actually boost sales. If the delaying of the release date can result in a better product, the game can sell both on release and from pre-orders as well down the road, if it becomes critically acclaimed as a quality AAA game. One of the breakout success stories in gaming this year was Bioshock Infinite, released by Irrational Games which had its release date moved to February 26, 2013 from October 16, 2012. However, the ending of the game was almost universally regarded as one of the best in AAA titles, and it is conceivable that more games will be sold because of the higher quality.