If you are not familiar with the term ‘annualize-able’, then bear with me because by the end of this article you should have a pretty good idea of the implications that this word has on you and your gaming addiction.
First and foremost, the idea that a game can be released year after year with minor changes is a model business model that has been milked by publishers such as Electronic Arts (EA) for more than a decade. Anyone who has achieved an age greater than ten can attest to seeing their local gaming shop flooded with Madden hype every August ever since they could speak. With an incredibly loyal, large, and ever-growing fan-base, EA has cultivated a brand that could contend with the industry’s biggest hitters. However, with terms like annualize-able slowly creeping into the vernacular of the most fervent gaming fans, it burdens my heart to think of where this business model will take the industry moving forward.
For example, Tony Hawk Pro Skater seemed to be the coolest game at one point in time. I mean, that was back when the Hawk was still kickin’ it back in his twenties but he nonetheless managed to pique the interest of every elementary-aged kid I knew growing up. I remember clamoring for the latest title in the series leading up to its release and being ecstatic to play through the game noticing the slightest changes to the series’ UI, graphics and the like and being the least bit disappointed in light of the fact that it was incredibly similar to the game that had been sitting in my neighbor’s PlayStation for the past year or so.
Little did I know, this was only the beginning.
Activision would go on to become the king of franchises who sought to see their newest installments reach burgeoning markets on an annual basis. From Guitar Hero to Call of Duty, we, as consumers have seen a number of beloved franchises of ours reach their peak and slowly drift from remembrance every 3 to 5 years.
Despite the obvious distaste you may have had in your mouth the last time you played a Guitar Hero game, the titles were indeed fun for a time were they not? I mean, there’s a reason why the most hardcore and casual fans of the series have accumulated a collection of those plastic peripherals over the last few years. A testament to the market penetration that the games had in light of their minute changes from year-to-year.
Conclusively, the trends that companies such as Activision have brought to the fold should be acknowledged for their economic brilliance in light of the fact that they capitalize on consumer tastes and interests and the like and do so for years at a time. Whether it is right or not is up for debate, however, if people like you and I keep buying them, they will keep making them, right?