When is the best time to release my game in 2023?
20/01/2022 Written by The Game Marketer
Why is the Release Date important for a game?
Developing, marketing, and publishing a game requires video game developers to make many decisions that will impact the overall success of their game launch. With everything from marketing, community management and the development of the game to think about, it is easy to forget about the importance of choosing the right release date for your game. But what is the importance of choosing a good release date for your game, and what makes a good release date?
A release date can be pivotal to the success of a game. The video game industry can be an unpredictable place at times, and there are many factors to releasing a game that can ultimately end up out of a developer’s hands once the game is released. But one way that developers can ensure their game has the best chance of being a success is by picking a good release date. In order to pick a good date for your game to launch there are a few things to consider, including the release date of your competitors games, the amount of noise in the video game industry at the time, things outside of gaming happening around the time of a release date and other events happening within the gaming industry at that time (such as conventions, expo’s and sales).
Avoiding the Busy Periods
The first major thing to consider when choosing a release date would be avoiding clashing with the release date of major, AAA-produced video games. Although you may not consider yourself as direct competition for the CoDs and GTAs of the World, if you release your game at a similar time to such games you are putting your game in competition with them, and therefore decreasing the chance of your game release being successful. Historically, we know that a lot of major games release in time for Christmas, making November and December a very busy and crowded time in the gaming industry, and it is very easy for your game to slip under the radar if you were to release it at such a time.
But in recent years we have seen major games target other points in the year to release their game. This means that there are now even more months to avoid as a smaller developer when releasing your game.
Another major thing to consider are events such as the Steam Next Fest, which is happening from the 21st – 28th February in 2022, and also the various Steam Sales that happen throughout the year. In 2021 Steam held sales in 9 months of the year (January, February, April, May, June, July, October November, and December), meaning that in all of these months it would be harder for your game to make a serious mark, especially on Steam, as the Steam homepage will be dominated by games in their sale and your potential players will be more likely to spend their money on discounted games than on full-price, newly released games.
Conventions and Events
So, already, we can begin to single out a few months that stand out as quieter periods in the video game industry that may be optimal for game developers to release their game in. These months are March, August, and September. But what else should you consider when picking the perfect launch date for your game? For some, you might want to pinpoint an event or convention to attend and tie-in with your game release date. This could be a physical event like a Comicon or PAX festival, or online events such as after a Steam Next Fest.
This can be a good way for game developers to have a landmark for their launch date and reach an existing audience when launching their game. Pinpointing a suitable festival or convention to launch your game at can be a very good way to choose a launch date, especially if you are able to find a festival that falls at a less-busy time in the video game industry.
Avoid Clashes with Competition
One of the final important things to consider when selecting a launch date for your game is avoiding clashes with your competitors. An important activity to carry out in any case when launching a game is to highlight and keep tabs on games of similar genre and that have an overlap with your target audience. You will want to avoid your release date clashing with the release of your competitor’s games as you will have a much smaller chunk of the market to convert to potential players as they may spend their money elsewhere.
It is also easier to slip under the radar when clashing with other, similar games, particularly if the game is being released by a more well-known video game developer or publisher. You must consider things such as lists on Steam and other game stores, the less games of similar genre that are releasing around the time of your game the better, as you will be able to place higher on new release lists and have more eyes on your game when it releases.
To sum up, everything that we have discussed in this article, selecting the perfect release date can really be broken down into 3 main steps. The first step as discussed is selecting a quieter time in the video game industry to launch your game as there will be less noise to try and cut through, and hopefully more eyes on your game. We have pinpointed March, August, and September as the 3 quietest months in terms of events, sales, and other game releases. The second thing to consider is finding a festival or convention to launch your game at. And the final thing to consider is avoiding clashes with the release date of your competitors.
All of these aspects of selecting a release date are there to ensure that your game has the maximum amount of attention on it when it releases and the least amount of competition when it releases. If you are able to find a date that falls within the quieter months, ties in with a festival or convention, and avoids clashing with games from your competitors or games of a similar genre, you can be confident that you have given your game the best possible chance at success.
Do you want to hear more about how The Game Marketer can help you perfect your game launch? Feel free to drop us a message!
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