Last week Wednesday Microsoft invited a select few community members to their offices to pre-play the latest in the Halo series, Halo 3. To protect the millions of dollars invested in the various international and even local launch efforts we were required to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) which prevented any of use speaking about the game-play until closer to the launch.
One sad thing was that we weren’t allowed to get our promotional copies right there and then due to the international embargo which we all accepted. However the following day, reports started rolling in of people picking up copies from stores around the country. Yes retail chain stores like CNA seem to have no regard for an international release date.
So you may argue that its only a game and its not such a big deal. But unfortunately its not just a game, its Halo 3, and its the biggest game of the year. Every game of this magnitude suffers some international slip-ups in the retail sector and it is to be expected, but I don’t believe the South African retail sector needs to try set a world record for this.
Just a few weeks ago the local Xbox 360 community was moaning about the delays in the local release of BioShock which was an unfortunate but necessary delay due to an international required change in the local distributor. Imagine what it will be like in future when other local release dates are then pushed out to protect the international release dates. I bet getting your copy of Halo 3 a week earlier won’t exactly make up for lets say a 2 week delay on Call of Duty 4, Assassin’s Creed and Project Gotham Racing 4.
Its unfortunate that the real fans generally pre-order months in advance and in this case will get their copies after everyone else who can just walk into their local CNA and pickup a copy. So niche stores like BT Games and online retailers like Take2 and Kalahari will also suffer as pre-orders are canceled.
And then we consider the midnight launch competitions and events. Oh great, now everyone that has already picked up a copy has an unfair advantage in the competition. Not to mention the expenses in planning and executing the launch events; who cares about launching a game when its already on the street.
So we can thank our lame retailers, yes they know who they are, for this and for the future repercussions that will most likely result.
I encourage anyone who has seen a copy of Halo 3 on a store shelf before Wednesday the 26th of September 2007 to comment on this post. I will then post the list of offending retailers for all to see and shame.
[tags]Halo 3,South Africa,rant,BioShock,CNA[/tags]