The delay of Watch Dogs has certainly angered many gamers who have eagerly been waiting for the release of the highly-anticipated open-world action game, but some analysts think this was a smart move.
In an interview with the New York Times, Benchmark Company analyst Mike Hickey said that Grand Theft Auto V‘s commercial success has put pressure on Ubisoft‘s own open-world game.
“They want it to be their next big franchise,” he said, adding that the delay was understandable because delivering an experience that did not meet gamers’ expectations could have been detrimental to the brand.
“The company made the right decision,” Hickey added. “They could have put out a lower-quality game, but it’s best to wait to get it right.”
This is still a little strange, because it’s not like we didn’t know what Watch Dogs was going to look like, or how it was going to play. Numerous gameplay trailers, articles, and demos have been put in place that sucked us in long ago. There have even been TV spots circling the airwaves, hooking everyone else in who haven’t been following the game already. I can’t imagine how much more Ubisoft can add to the game, especially when they were pushing and promoting this game so close to it’s initial release date, clearly ready for the game to hit shelves and make its way into our open arms.
Sure GTA V was amazing and broke records, but that doesn’t mean people wouldn’t have been interested in buying Watch Dogs as well. It would have been an excellent opportunity to showcase what open-world games look and play like on next-generation technology right out of the gate. The PlayStation 4 Launch Day bundles that would have included a copy Watch Dogs – now reduced to just a console after the delay – would have been a supremely satisfying introduction to the world of next-gen gaming.
The emphasis on communication technology and hacking is unique, and not something you can find in a GTA game. To me, evading police cars by hacking street lights and causing them to crash or slam on the breaks, sounds way more badass then just turning around and shooting them. Sure that’s something I enjoy doing here and there, but I think this new take on open-world games would have satisfied a lot of people, even if the game launched so close to the release of GTA V.
It’s about money of course, and pushing the game to a spring release date could potentially build up more hype and avoid some pressure from GTA V. This build up could easily lead to disappointment as well when we realize nothing new was really added to the game during that time, and that we’ve just been waiting because Ubisoft wanted a few million more sales.
Ubisoft’s already been negatively affected by the delay, as the company’s share value fell more than 30 percent, the most in company history. Ubisoft expects to book a loss of up to $95 million for the year, compared to previous estimations for a profit of $170 million for the same period. Is it going to be worth it? I don’t really think so.