According to Wedbush Securities’ analyst Michael Pachter, the delay to Watch Dogs from November 2013 to Q2 in 2014 is likely to have been influenced by the crowded release schedule and the huge success of Grand Theft Auto V:
“We believe that management was also concerned about the strong competition for wallet share Watch Dogs faced at the holidays from Grand Theft Auto V, Battlefield 4, and a new Call of Duty, among others,” wrote Pachter in a note released yesterday.
He added: “Grand Theft Auto V is only adding to industry uncertainty, as while it is bringing many previously-disconnected gamers back to the market, it also has achieved record-breaking sales that have tapped a certain percentage of gamer holiday spending months ahead of time.”
Whatever the reason, he believes Ubisoft made the correct decision:
“Given next-gen uncertainty and this very strong slate of competitors, we believe the two aforementioned delays were the right decision,” he wrote.
He added: “By releasing Watch Dogs in Q1:15, Ubisoft has given its developers the opportunity to fully maximize the game’s sales potential in FY:15 and build a lasting franchise that the company could use to offset any future weakness for its established key franchises (displayed most recently by the disappointing Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist).
“We are somewhat concerned about competition in Ubisoft’s Q1, however, with games like EA’s Titanfall, Activision’s Destiny and Microsoft’s Halo 5 all targeting the same launch window. We don’t think it is important that Watch Dogs (or any of the other three games) launches in Q1, and we expect all of the game publishers to behave rationally when setting release dates to avoid competition wherever possible.”