The holiday games release schedule is always jam-packed but this year the month of October is particularly chocked full of high profile sequels and releases from major gaming franchises. Assuming that nothing will be delayed between now and then the list of blockbuster games set to release in October is as follows:
- Forza Motorsport 7 (Oct. 3)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Oct. 10)
- The Evil Within 2 (Oct. 13)
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Oct. 17)
- WWE 2K18 (Oct. 17)
- Destiny 2 (PC release, Oct. 24)
- Assassin’s Creed Origins (Oct. 27)
- Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus (Oct. 27)
- Super Mario Odyssey (Oct. 27)
An October to Remember
The good news for gamers is that there’s a lot of variety on offer. From the fantasy stylings of Shadow of War, the silly brilliance of Super Mario Odyssey, and the Egyptian adventure that is Assassin’s Creed Origins, it seems like gamers of all interests will have something to enjoy.
Each of these games also promises to build on what made their last entries great. Destiny 2 will focus more on story, South Park will keep bringing the laughs, and The New Colossus will bring more of that chest-beating action.
When looking at these facts on paper, the stuffed October release schedule is no bad thing. But in practice, the swell of game releases will likely prove to be stupefying, and not in a good way.
The Gamer’s Biggest Problem
The problem with the way that the schedule looks right now is that gamers just won’t have enough money to go around. With the exception of the annual WWE release, all of the games listed above are appealing to core gamers. Even Super Mario Odyssey, which is headed by a character with mass, worldwide appeal, is designed with core players in mind. Even with a very early holiday bonus and a miraculous windfall, it seems unlikely that the average consumer will buy more than one or even two of these titles that month.
This is especially the case when also considering the launches on either side of October. September has the console release of Destiny 2, FIFA 18, and the SNES Classic Edition while November has Call of Duty: WW2, Crackdown 3, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and the launch of the Xbox One X. Many of these games are also open-world or promise to be games as a service and will be massive time sinks too.
Whoever has the cash to buy all of these and the time to actually play them should at least spread some of that good fortune around.
And this isn’t just some complaining about workloads and personal finances; sticking all of these huge releases together is just bad business sense that could threaten the futures of some of these franchises. Take last year as an example: anything that was released within a month of Battlefield 1 failed to meet sales expectations.
Dishonored 2‘s sales were down almost 40% compared to the first game, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare sales were 50% than the previous year, and Watch Dogs 2 sales were down by 80%. Poor sales of Titanfall 2, which released just two weeks after Battlefield 1, means that the future of the Titanfall series looks pretty dire as well.
The obvious caveat is that these games didn’t just sell badly because of the release dates, as general criticisms (Infinite Warfare) and previous series’ failings (Watch Dogs 2) were also to blame. But the stuffed schedule was a primary factor and it would be foolish to ignore that.
If these games are all able to thrive despite the heavy competition then that’s fantastic and long may the holiday stocking stuffers continue. But right now, there are huge doubts, and schedules like this do not look sustainable.