Ah, can you smell it? The aroma of fresh, hard-earned cash being spent faster than you can pre-order a copy of Fallout 3: Amazon.com Exclusive Survival Edition. Yes, the season of game debauchery is afoot. As the rest of the world mourns the loss of trillions of dollars through 401Ks decreasing, shortsellers getting naked and CEOs partying, gamers will unite to bring this economy back one special, super-limited collector’s edition at a time.
Everyone is familiar with the seasonal onslaught of releases that comes each fall and lasts through the holidays. Equally familiar are the other three quarters of the year that slip by with nothing more than a trickle of new games. Yes, Grand Theft Auto IV hit in the spring, and the latest iterations of Metal Gear and Madden made a splash this summer. But that’s it folks. Just like the summer movie season where countless mega-budget titles fill the big screen, the video game industry holds all its cards until each fall and commences an assault for the small screen.
This year had the look of something different though. The industry has battled what can best be considered a bi-polar rollercoaster ride of both successes and failures. Multi-hundred million dollar sales of GTA 4 in its first week were matched equally with epic losses posted by mega-pub EA. Publishers and development houses alike laid off countless employees, while Blizzard Activision maintained a steady hiring pace. Even the investment research firms aren’t quite sure how this one will pan out. In the words of the great "8," "the future is cloudy."
This industry though, they spit in the face of the prophetic black ball, and like a high-stakes game of Texas Hold’em, they have gone "all in." While it seems clear to the rest of the world that the global economy is spiraling to its doom, the video game industry takes a different approach. It has decided that if someone in our demographic is willing to spend anything in these economic times, they’re probably willing to spend a great deal more. Gone are the simple bets of standard releases, and mocked are the notions of simple collector’s editions. Introduced are the Mega, Uber, Ultra Limited (insert superlative here) editions — the economy’s last hope. Because when a $700 billion stimulus package can’t save us, the discretionary spending of the 18-35 year-old crowd can.
The time has come friends. Those without hope require convincing. The weight of the world rests on your shoulders. It is up to you to spend, and spend more than you have ever spent before. Don’t look to subsistence gardens and low-octane petrol. Lift up your replica Lancers and set your Pip Boy alarm clocks. Spend now, not later. Spend like that ultra-limited edition copy of Dead Space was rationed to only 1,000 copies. And let them shout that a fool and his money were quickly parted, and that we are honored to be in the company of fools!
If you can’t get capital injected into this economy, no one can.