Yearly-Release Games: How Much Do We Still Care?

Gaming companies like Ubisoft and EA have essentially built their reputations upon their franchises that promise annual releases. Ubisoft took an unexpected break between Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (2015) and Assassin’s Creed: Origins (2017) to reexamine the franchise, to "evolve the game mechanics," and to ensure that they were delivering the promised "gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground."

In other rumored news, EA may forego the annual releases of their sports games, like FIFA and Madden NFL, in exchange for an online "subscription" service that requires an annual fee to update rosters and stats ((link)

The writer should examine if Ubisoft delivered on its promise with AC: Origins by investigating Ubisoft’s reported sales in comparison to its other AC games, critic reviews, and notable bugs or technical issues. Did Ubisoft indeed improve the newest game by taking a short break, or has anything really changed?

The writer should also assess how, or if, EA’s rumored subscription service will benefit players. Contingent upon price, how would a subscription service be better (or possibly worse) than re-purchasing a slightly updated version of the same game year after year?

Lastly, the writer should examine the bigger issue at hand: Do we still care about annual release games? What do they offer that non-annual release games do not, and vice-versa? Can the methods employed above by EA and Ubisoft work in their favor and possibly revive their franchises, or are the franchises past the point of revival?

  • Annual release games should definitely be broken down into the genres of games they are referring to. For sporting games, like FIFA and Madden, the premise of an annual release is simply to update the rosters for each respective team. The game of football has not fundamentally changed in that one-year time span, and besides any minor control updates, the game-play mechanics are relatively absolute for each edition. More story-driven franchises are a different case however, as many of those releases not only have improved or altered game mechanics and controls, but another installment into the story for the franchise. The standard of quality for those kinds of games should be higher than that of sporting games, which may influence any arguments regarding the relevance of annual releases. – Gliese436B 6 years ago
  • It might be useful for the writer to consider what triple A companies employ annual releases outside of sports titles, and what those annual releases are. A number of such developers, such as FromSoftware and Sucker Punch, release their flagship series at a much slower rate -- writer should compare these nonannual franchises to annual ones, and compare their respective costs and benefits. – PersistentCrane 6 years ago
  • Really interesting and relevant topic to gamers today! – Sean Gadus 5 years ago
  • Annual releases are increasingly a touchy landscape to navigate as developers feel an obligation to produce an experience that is refreshing, but not drastically separate from a previous entry, say, in an established franchise; therefore, developers instigate crunch into the workplace and such is the case that it does not always promote a healthy working environment. – jaredstewart 5 years ago

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