Debugging the Summer Gaming Drought

Drought in summer is a real issue for the world – It means scarcity, uncertainty and disaster. On a slightly less apocalyptic note, “The Summer Gaming Drought” is a yearly occurrence where most game developers seem to get some sort of post-E3 blues and not release as many games, if any at all.

Some may say the alleged drought is just that; an allegation that less games are available during the sultry summer months. In the modern world, with the abundance of Indie studios and prevailing theme of re-releasing and remastering of games, there would certainly appear to be a healthy ecosystem for games to indulge in during the summer. Additionally, if a “new” game or ACTUALLY new game isn’t enough for you then there is usually plenty of scrumptious DLC that is made available around about…now!

Perhaps the drought is a leftover remnant of bygone years for the industry, when the medium was dominated by cartridges and eventually CD, and thus games were very expensive to make. Keeping the summer months free might have aided cost-cutting measures, resulting in a barren release window thanks to publishers wanting to save money for the inevitable eggnog-fuelled Christmas rush.

But bringing us squarely back to the 4k, always-online digital only 21st century the is one (well there’s many but this is the most globally known) thing that makes, at least for the PC, those long summer days just drift away – the Steam Summer Sale. This is the yearly moment the PC heralds sing about all year-long, where his holiness of GabeN blesses all with bountiful discounts from up high in Bellevue, so that we may own thousands more games then we will ever be able to play, for a price that is just too low for our self-control to stop us. I mean really… 90% off for a AAA game is nothing to be sniffed at, even if it means I can’t afford food for a week. But hey, it means I have more badges for my Steam profile.

Well that was a ride – to bring things to some sense of normality – and once again I must ask the question: is there really a drought? In short yes and no. No, this isn’t something Schrodinger concocted when he ran out of cats (or did he?), but the only logical conclusion is to say that: Yes, there is a drought if you limit yourself to purely mainstream media, buying a new game from the high street retailers at full price, but of course there’s more to it than that. If you expand your horizons and look online and at indie developers, sale sites or just even replay some of your old games you’ll find a myriad of enthralling ways to pass the summer nights away, as you ready yourself for the ensuing torrent of Autumn releases.

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