E3 is almost here and with it comes an unusually sparse summer for gaming. The gaming industry continues its trend of surrendering the summer months to the movie theater and book store, believing that when June rolls around, no one really wants to play games for the next couple of months. It’s almost as if the industry believes that the promise of new games from E3 is all that gamers need to keep their interest up as school ends and summer vacation begins. They’re wrong of course, with all that free time, of course there’s going to be vacations, and there will likely be movies watched and even books read, but people are going to sit down and play games as well. It’s one of the few times in the year when almost anyone can find an excuse for a good “gaming marathon,” but few companies really take advantage of this.
This year is particularly bad. June has a few decent titles such as Murdered: Soul Suspect and the latest Wolfenstein shooter to tide things over, but a recent outbreak of delays have pushed potential sleeper hits like The Evil Within out of the summer release window. July is pretty bleak right now, as is August, which is in stark contrast to past years. 2012 for example, surprised everyone with a PS3 and Xbox 360 the excellent Sleeping Dogs open world game set in Hong Kong, and even Rockstar wasn’t afraid to release the biggest game of the year in a non-November month with Grand Theft Auto V in September, giving anyone just getting back to school an excuse to ditch homework.
[pullquote align=”right” class=”blue”]“July is pretty bleak right now, as is August, which is in stark contrast to past years.”[/pullquote]
Even though it’s a barren stretch for those gamers that voraciously tear through new titles, there are alternatives to simply waiting. One of the best things a gamer can do in the summer is to finally attack what is likely a sizable back log of games, whether that’s finally finishing a title that had been on the backburner, or merely going back and getting around to those platinum trophies or 1000g to round out the trophy/achievement level. There’s a good chance that many gamers out there have some unfinished business of their own to tackle in these summer months, so now a little bit of quiet on the release landscape is a good time to start catching up. RPGs, for example, take huge amounts of time to complete so if that commitment was a bit intimidating, the lazy days of summer can make it far more palatable, especially with events like Sony’s current flash sale on RPGs. Dragon Age: Origins is only $5.00, which is an insane amount of value for such a huge game. The Mass Effect trilogy is similar, at $15 for all three games. There is absolutely no reason to NOT buy and play those games at those prices if you have even the slightest curiosity about RPGs, and they’re critically hailed as some of the best games of the last generation in the genre.
The other alternative—which should be approached with much caution—is to get involved in with a Massively Multiplayer Online game of some kind. Final Fantasy XIV, Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online are all relatively new titles that take full advantage for what a console or PC can offer, although there are games like DC Universe Online, The Secret World and even Star Wars: The Old Republic that are free-to-play if you want to lose hours of times, but not have to pay a monthly subscription. Of course the danger here is addiction; it`s incredibly easy to lose hours, even days of your life getting lost in the world of an MMO, meeting new people and leveling your character, so some restraint needs to be exercised if you want to maintain a reasonable schedule of real life and MMO life.
You know things are desperate when the biggest release of August is Diablo III on the PS4 and Xbox One, but that’s the situation we’ve got right now. Rather than get bent out of shape about it, we’re all better off just finding ways to vent our gamer energy in more constructive ways. I myself might just get around to a platinum trophy in Beyond: Two Souls, although I still haven’t played Wolfenstein yet.