Q4 release schedule “most sensible in 20 years”

The last quarter of 2009 sees a more reserved game release schedule, according to online retailer SimplyGames director Neil Muspratt. He talked to GamesIndustry.biz about the relatively light holiday season for the gaming industry, pinning one game to explain why the schedule looks so clear.

“This quarter’s release schedule is one of the most sensibly divided up I’ve seen in nearly 20 years of buying videogames,” Muspratt said. “I’m not sure why it’s happened but I think the short answer is that it’s Modern Warfare 2 and everyone is running scared of that – but I also hope that publishers are seeing that this quarter will be such an important one for the increase in the installed user base because of the reduction in price of the consoles.”

He likened the trend of releasing games outside of the typically crowded fourth quarter to the home video industry. “I can remember the VHS industry in 1991 when the home film industry used to run scared of the summer, in 1991 Home Alone and Ghost were released in the middle of June, traditionally was one of the quietest months of the year, and guess what happened? You bring great products out and they’ll sell through regardless.”

Muspratt must be so pleased with the quieter fourth quarter that he must have forgotten just how crowded the first quarter of 2010 will be. The typical trend hasn’t changed completely. It’s just moved over a few months.