The video game industry is typically a well-choreographed dance. Even during the holidays, it’s rare for more than two major games to release on the same day.
Feb. 22, 2019, though, could be the perfect storm. At present, there are three big titles set to release that day – with at least the possibility that one or two more could join the party.
Electronic Arts’ Anthem, the eagerly-awaited new game from Bioware (maker of the Mass Effect series) drops that day. So does Sony’s Days Gone, a zombie-infested motorcycle gang action title. And Metro: Exodus, a first person shooter set in post-apocalyptic Russia, will as well.
Also due in February are Crackdown 3, an action game for the Xbox One featuring actor Terry Crews, and Ubisoft’s Trials Rising, a motorcycle stunt game.
Production dates shift frequently in the industry, so it’s possible one or more of these games could release on a different day. But if not, that’s at least four publishers releasing major games directly against each other.
That’s a gamble, given that production budgets for AAA games routinely top $100 million. And it’s a big gamble, considering the slew of games releasing in the 2018 holiday season like Read Dead Redemption 2 and Fallout 76 that will have robust online content and post-release add-ons.
Retailers, though, could find an unexpected holiday-style rush, as players flood the stores.
“You know that works for us,” says Rob Lloyd, CFO and newly appointed chief operating officer at GameStop. “We have reservation programs and trade-in programs that will help us maximize those games.”