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Reaction: Watch Dogs' Delay Is a Shame, but PS4 Won't Lose Connection with Consumers

Posted by Sammy Barker

Off the hook

Ubisoft called in some unexpected news earlier today when it delayed Watch Dogs into the vague window of spring 2014. The Chicago-based sandbox excursion had been set to tap into systems next month, but now it will be locked down until next year. The shock decision will have a negative impact on each of the major home consoles’ Christmas lineups – but it’s hard not to feel that the PlayStation 4 has drawn the short end of the straw. What does the revelation mean for the launch of Sony’s next generation system, though – and is the announcement as disastrous as some observers are making out?

There’s no doubt that the platform holder will be seething at the move. As alluded in our earlier article, the firm had very much positioned the hack happy escapade as a key launch title, opting to spotlight it at both its PlayStation Meeting press conference earlier in the year and again during its E3 keynote back in June. Furthermore, the game has featured prominently in all of the machine’s marketing materials, from demo kiosks right through to point of sale stands. All of that promotional work will still be worthwhile when the game deploys next year, but it’s definitely put a dampener on the ‘Perfect Day’.

Indeed, it leaves an already paltry launch day offering without one of its standout performers. Killzone: Shadow Fall is still certain to take centre stage when the supercharged system ships in exactly one month’s time, but many were counting on Aiden Pearce’s adventure adding some much needed variety to the roster. Outside of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Knack, there’s now very few notable retail titles to choose from unless you like sports, racing, or military games. It may be piggybacking on the success of Grand Theft Auto, but Watch Dogs is at least doing something out of the ordinary.

The delay puts the platform holder in an inopportune position with regards to multiplatform games, too. Microsoft has formed alliances with EA and Activision to secure content promotions for FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Xbox One. The Japanese giant had clearly intended to counter that with its own co-marketing initiatives on Ubisoft’s games. However, it will have to make do with just Edward Kenway’s seafaring escapade now, perhaps perpetuating the notion that the PS4 is slouching in the software department.

Is the delay truly catastrophic news, though, as some have been saying? Well, it’s definitely disappointing, but it’s important not to get carried away. We got to watch a hands-off demo of the open world game last month, and were extremely underwhelmed. The gameplay footage that comprised a large chunk of the presentation looked unpolished, meaning that the delay may well be justified. It must have taken guts on the French publisher’s end to postpone the game, but if it culminates in a more enjoyable product in the long run, then it’s hard to really argue with the decision.

Furthering that, its overdue arrival may actually benefit the PS4 in the long run. With the manufacturer’s next generation console already sold out on pre-orders alone, it's going to have no trouble shifting stock this holiday – but many have been pondering whether the machine will maintain that momentum once the initial hype has died down. The company is clearly banking on both inFAMOUS: Second Son and Destiny swatting any potential apathy, and now it has Watch Dogs to add to its early 2014 arsenal. With Microsoft flagrantly flaunting the semi-exclusivity of Titanfall on the Xbox One, the firm will need all of the ammunition that it can muster next year.

It’s regrettable news, then – but it’s not the end of the world. As long as the platform holder can find a satisfactory alternative for those that have already pre-ordered a bundle featuring the game, we doubt that the delay will have an enormous impact on the PS4. Granted, you may need to reconsider your launch day haul, but the added development time should benefit the release in the long run. We just hope that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has the good sense to ignore any calls from Sony executive Jack Tretton. Y’know, at least until the dust has settled.


Are you disappointed by Ubisoft’s decision to delay Watch Dogs? Do you think that it will have an impact on the PS4? What are you planning to pick up at release in place of the sandbox release? Upload your opinion in the comments section and poll below.

How badly do you think Watch Dogs’ delay will affect the PS4? (43 votes)

It’s disappointing, but I don’t think it’s a major deal

81%

To be honest, I’m not really sure

9%

I’m actually considering cancelling my pre-order now

9%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (19)

Squiggle55

#1

Squiggle55 said:

This isn't the type of game I'm looking for so I personally don't care. Not sure if it will affect the PS4 launch in any way, but I'm certainly not bothered by it.

ShogunRokAdmin

#2

ShogunRok said:

It'll have a negative effect on the launch, at least to an extent - any retail game dropping into 2014 would. It's one of those scenarios where people have slowly built up a mental picture of the PS4's line up, and now that it's gone, it certainly feels like there's a hole there.

But I do see the bright side of it, too. Like the article states, it spaces out the releases and gives the PS4 some momentum coming into next year. Plus, if the developer has took the risk of delaying a launch title, then it has to come out better on the other side.

MadchesterManc

#5

MadchesterManc said:

@Squiggle55 Same here to be honest I've no interest in the title either.
It's not too much of a bad thing tho. Like the article states it now means Sony has extra options during the first part of 2014. It's a shame for those that had it preordered as their main launch title as I doubt anyone saw this delay coming, especially with launch being a mere month away in the states

divinelite

#7

divinelite said:

Gta5 set the bar too high so I'm happy if watchdog will heighten the bar again

Being said, I feel disappointed and confirm won't getting ps4 this year then

rjejr

#8

rjejr said:

"but it’s definitely put a dampener on the ‘Perfect Day’."

Nice. Timing is everything.

Visiblemode

#9

Visiblemode said:

It's awful news...for the Watchdogs team. The launch window is a great time to rack up sales and secure new loyalties. It's when franchises are often born. Slipping into spring will see this game competing with more heavy hitters. It might not have the impact it would have.

That said, it's better to ship a great game late, than a broken one on time.

As for my ps4 launch dreams, this fit right in there...It will be missed. It's nowhere near a deciding factor for me, of course, I'm a day one ps4 preorder guy.

Now the conundrum, do I fill the hole with AC4? I have all the earlier games in my backlog, I keep not feeling like playing them, not sure why. I usually play sequentially, but yeah I dunno. Any thoughts on AC4 and the series? My only experience has been a bug filled ride through AC:Liberation which ended when I got the save file corrupt bug. So yeah, I'm a bit AC agnostic.

Gamer83

#10

Gamer83 said:

One third party multiplat gets released and now the sky is falling. I've said all along that the PS4 lineup in comparison to not just Xbox One's day one lineup, but all of 2014, is weak unless you're somebody who enjoys indie games and nothing else (in which case why get a PS4 when you can get an Ouya, iPad or something else). Well, here we are, Watch_Dogs is delayed and now people are making a big deal out of PS4's launch lineup. You know why? Because f'ing indie games don't sell a console, period. And I guarantee if the people at Sony had used their brains for one second and made both Gran Turismo 6 and Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus PS4 exclusive, nobody would even miss Watch_Dogs right now. Drive Club looks awesome but it should be a PS3 game because no matter what GT 6 is going to overshadow it. So to me you put the lower profile game on the system with the larger userbase to increase its chances of success. GT 6 would sell PS4s so you put that there. At the very least, if Sony didn't want GT or Ratchet on PS4 then The Last of Us should've been made a PS4 launch game. Now Sony has to scramble. It can still find another game to fill the void from a marketing perspective and that game is Assassin's Creed IV which actually seems like the better of the two games at this point anyway as Watch_Dogs seemed to get worse every time it was shown and I'd say appeared to be straight up crap if its appearance on Fallon's show was any indication of what was in store for us. Losing Watch_Dogs still does hurt the perception of PS4 though, more than any other console and given the strength of Sony's first party it shouldn't be that way.

Now, while this sucks for Sony, gamers could benefit in the long run assuming the Watch_Dogs team really is going to use this time to fix everything that seems to have gone wrong (and there is a ton of stuff that has gone wrong) as opposed to just doing this for marketing purposes. My fear is Ubi didn't want WD and AC IV taking sales from eachother so just delayed WD for that reason, not really to work on polishing it up. The game seems like an intriguing new IP so I want it to do well but Ubisoft can be very hit and miss. When it delivers, its games are among the best of the generation but when it doesn't deliver, said game usually ends up being one of the worse of the gen. Right now, Watch_Dogs could go either way and unfortunately I'm leaning towards the latter.

NathanUC

#11

NathanUC said:

It's a bit of a bummer. I had only planned to get Killzone 4, DriveClub, and Watch Dogs at launch. That will put a significant shortage on my available content for the first couple months.

I'd buy PS4 day one even if it was only for Killzone, but I could understand if a delay like this might make someone question buying it early on.

-CraZed-

#12

-CraZed- said:

@Visiblemode That is a GREAT point. I would argue however that there is plenty of hype surrounding Watch Dogs which should carry it over until its eventual release AND this delay will serve to make the game better and give it some distance between it and the release of GTA V.
Also Ubisoft has AC4 coming out so there will be plenty of open world gaming to be had all the way up until the release of Watch Dogs, The Crew and The Division.

Scorpio73

#13

Scorpio73 said:

It's certainly disappointing as I was really excited for this title, but thankfully it wasn't the only game I pre-ordered. Killzone, Madden, BF4, AC 4, and COD: Ghosts should keep me well occupied until then, so not worried at all.

Itachi

#14

Itachi said:

It's disappointing but I prefer them to do whatever tweaks they need to make the game as polished as possible. I rather get a game later than expected and be an enjoyable experience than get a game on time that you've been looking foward to and it has issues. Now that would be a real disappointment.

odd69

#15

odd69 said:

this is hardly the title that will make or break the ps4 line up.

KALofKRYPTON

#16

KALofKRYPTON said:

Well, it was between this a AC for me along with KZ and Drive Club Plus, so it just takes the choice out of it.
It'd be nice for GAME to catch up.

Jairo_MC

#17

Jairo_MC said:

@Gamer83
I completely agree with you. The launch lineup for the PS4 is very weak and the daly of Watch_Dogs doesn't help. I'm glad that I decided to wait a bit to get a PS4 as I still have tons of PS3 games to finish and PS4 isn't backwards compatible.

Visiblemode

#18

Visiblemode said:

@-CraZed- Yeah, unfortunately just read that Ubisoft's stock has fallen 32% on the news of the delays of Watchdogs and the Crew. Ouch. Rough year for Ubi.

Paranoimia

#19

Paranoimia said:

It's disappointing, yes, but far from being the major issue some are making it out to be. It's one game from a decent launch line-up. And it's not like it's only PS4 missing out, is it? It's been pushed back on all platforms. My heart may be a little sad, but my head and my wallet are slightly relieved.

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