PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents - Daniel Wilks Sleep­less One @dr­wilken­stein

Have you ever heard some­thing be­ing de­scribed as be­ing like the “Black Hole of Cal­cutta”? It’s a phrase, that while old, is still used to de­scribe things dis­ap­pear­ing with­out a trace. The ori­gins of the term are not racist as you may sus­pect, but in­stead ref­er­ence a war atroc­ity. In 1756, Si­raj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Ben­gal, an­gry at the way that the East In­dia Trad­ing Com­pany (these guys are al­most as peren­ni­ally vil­lain­ous as bloody Nazis) was in­ter­fer­ing with in­ter­nal af­fairs and threat­ened Ben­gali in­de­pen­dence, or­dered the cap­ture of Fort Wil­liam, a Bri­tish fort used to pro­tect East In­dia Com­pany trade. Af­ter the bat­tle, the cap­tured sol­diers, both Bri­tish and An­glo-In­dian were im­pris­oned in the only cell at Fort Wil­liam. 146 men were crammed into an area de­signed to ac­com­mo­date only a hand­ful. By the next day 123 of the sol­diers had died from suf­fo­ca­tion or heat ex­haus­tion.

“Nice, if some­what grim his­tory les­son”, I hear you say, but as far as I can see the games in­dus­try is head­ing closer and closer to the Black Hole of Cal­cutta. Ev­ery year more and more games are re­leased and es­pe­cially to­wards the Christ­mas pe­riod, many games are rushed to fit into that all im­por­tant hol­i­day win­dow in an at­tempt to re­coup costs. Try­ing to cram so many ti­tles into a mar­ket seg­ment that can’t han­dle them all is go­ing to leave some dead, po­ten­tial rev­enue streams for de­vel­op­ers be­ing suf­fo­cated by the sheer mass of com­pet­ing IPs, and oth­ers will die be­cause the re­lease has been rushed to fit the win­dow, leav­ing de­vel­op­ers to rush to patch out game killing bugs and fend off an­gry gamers.

What’s most frus­trat­ing about this is that the whole hol­i­day sea­sonal re­lease sched­ule is noth­ing more than a self-ful­fill­ing prophecy. Things sell around Christ­mas be­cause things are re­leased around Christ­mas. Re­lease a great game at any time and it will sell - the ubiq­uity of gam­ing all but guar­an­tees that now, but due to a mix­ture of habit and a fix­a­tion on the idea of sea­sonal buy­ing habits we’re stuck with the end of year rush. There are some com­pa­nies that are de­lay­ing their re­leases to Jan­uary, but un­til the spread is even across the year, the glut seems to cause more harm than good to de­vel­op­ers. As a brief, tan­gen­tially re­lated aside, we were plan­ning on run­ning a PUBG cover this month, but nail­ing down Bren­dan Greene, es­pe­cially now he’s with BlueHole (see - ten­u­ous tan­gen­tial re­la­tion), is prov­ing to be some­thing of a chal­lenge. Hope­fully next is­sue.

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