Annualization of Games and Why It is Unhealthy

I like pizza. I’d say it is tasty, as you would probably say too.
This comes with a small caveat because I wouldn’t like pizza everyday. I’d probably get bad gas, probably gain a few pounds, and grow a steady dislike for a once beloved food.

Now extend that metaphor to games and their release schedules.
A new Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty have been confirmed recently to release this year. Is this a problem? Yeah because they just had successful sequels last year and the year before.

I’m all for sequels, I don’t crap on the concept of them. Sequels are a great chance to capitalize on what the first game may have set up but not fully realize, like Uncharted 2 and Assassin’s Creed II, two of my favorite sequels in recent memory. What I don’t like is the money hungry corporations that try to milk popularity until the last drop of cream from the cash cow is gone.

Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty have just games the previous year. This doesn’t build hunger for the franchises because you get a new one before you can even become hungry for a new installment. On top of this, since the development cycle isn’t as long, the team doesn’t get as much of a chance to innovate and add new features. I don’t think these new games will be bad (I’ll still buy AC on day one and play MW3) but I’m getting worried.

The developers can run out of ideas, or not have time for new ones, and they can get restless of working on the same franchise. This can show in the end product, just feeling like a rehash of the old game.

I don’t think these franchises have completely run out of steam but you don’t want to get the “Oh crap it’s too late” phase to happen. Look at Guitar Hero. Music games were waning in popularity already and all of sudden Activision (same publisher behind CoD…) has to release a half dozen or so music games within a year to drive the final nails in the coffin. They got to that point without seeing it beforehand and this is why the series was announced dead (at least temporarily) a couple months ago.

I do have possible solutions. For one, they could just wait longer for some games like Assassin’s Creed to create hunger in the fanbase. For Call of Duty and sports games (like Madden, NHL, & MLB), they should have more of a service where the next game is the “root game” and every year there is a downloadable pack to enhance it. Maybe you’ll pay $20 a year and get new roster updates, small improvements, and some new guns/maps or something.

I don’t think I’d win this argument against the corporations because they are too busy swimming the pools of money made by the AC and COD franchises. I just hope they see what I see before their money swimming pool is a money puddle.

Do you agree with my statements? What are your thoughts on the subject?

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