Game Release Dates: Inconsistent

Recently, I've been bothered by the question of why video game release dates in the U.S. are so confusing. Usually, companies will officially announce a date that a new game will be released, but this is often the shipping date, not the date the game will actually be in stores available for purchase. Why? Other than the developers and publishers themselves, and retailers, the people potentially purchasing the game don't really care about the shipping date. They only want to know the first possible day they can purchase the game. I don't understand why game companies don't agree to always advertise the release date when the game will be in stores. DVDs and CDs are pretty much exclusively released on Tuesdays. People know that every Tuesday, there will be some new products to think about purchasing. And ads reflect this reality. What's so different about games that release information can be so confusing sometimes? You never know if the published date is the shipping date or the in-store date. Granted, most new games are available on a Tuesday, but not always, and stores tend to differ. Game companies should coordinate their releases more to make it less confusing for the consumer.

Japan makes a little more sense. Super Mario Galaxy was one of the first games here I was really excited about. I couldn't wait to get it, and walked about 40 minutes in the rain to the closest game store to pick up a copy. But I was a little worried, because of all the confusion in the U.S. about release dates. I didn't want to walk that far to the store only to find out they weren't selling it until tomorrow. So I asked a student. And he assured me that games are released on Thursdays, this one in particular on November 1st. Indeed, this was the exact date I was seeing everyday in TV commercials. No confusion, no hassles. Except slightly sore legs the next day.

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