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Ideal month of launch for a console?

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Best Month for Release?

March 6 27.27%
 
April 1 4.55%
 
May 0 0.00%
 
June 0 0.00%
 
July 0 0.00%
 
August 0 0.00%
 
September 2 9.09%
 
October 5 22.73%
 
November 8 36.36%
 
December 0 0.00%
 
Total:22
pokoko said:
From what I've seen, the Holiday season is the worst time to launch a console.

First, if your console is good, your Holiday season is going to be good. It doesn't need the launch boost factor. Likewise, if your console is good, launch won't need the Holiday factor, either.

More importantly, you won't suffer from the impact of both factors on your supply potential. If you're going to be constrained at launch then it's pointless to be MORE constrained. Launching early in the year mitigates that somewhat relative to BOTH periods, as you and your retailers have a chance to recover and restock. Otherwise, you're missing a lot of possible sales all at once during optimal sales windows.

^ so much this.

That was why I voted April.

Maximise effect of launch sales, and have time to restock for holidays and not waste that sales potential.
I think this is a safer and better way to go about things as well.



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Past consoles don't matter.

Holidays and hype (pre-orders) both boost sales. If you want a hedge against bad sales or to break a record, launch in Oct/Nov.

The 'greats' can be rolled out over months or years and it won't matter longterm. Eg. Tetris, SMB, Pokemon, Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Minecraft, Fortnite, Kinect, GB, NES, PS1, DS, Wii, Switch.



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Robert_Downey_Jr. said:

Do you actually think they could launch in September or October and NOT have big holiday sales?  Like that bump is gonna be there regardless

That's actually possible, because it shouldn't be taken for granted that Sony gets things right with the PS5. If they commit a blunder while Microsoft does a decent job with their next Xbox, we'd be looking at a PS5 in a slump in October and the first 2-3 weeks of November (assuming a September launch) and then a rather modest holiday season, because the word going around would be that Xbox is the new console to buy. Of course sales go up during the holiday season, but you can't take it for granted that it's always going to be big.

I think that's the catch with this thread. Despite it never being said, your assumption is that PS5 and Nextbox will be a repeat of PS4 and XB1 while I don't use the same premise because it has yet to be seen what Sony and Microsoft have in mind for their next consoles. For the PS4 it wouldn't have been detrimental to launch in a month other than November, but for the XB1 it would have been, because the holiday launch masked its problems for a while. I guess I could simply ask you if you think that a non-holiday launch would have been better for the XB1.



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I voted March, but that assumes that you know you have a good console on their hands.  The Switch launched with Breath of the Wild, and it seemed like Nintendo knew they had a strong game on their hands.  (It was essentially the only game featured at E3 2016.)  In this situation you get a strong launch month, and then you get a strong holiday season, so you maximize sales that way.  This is also a risky month, because, if your console has a disappointing launch then it will be really obvious (like 3DS).

So the safe month would be November or maybe October.  All of the console's hardcore fans and going to buy it regardless, so launching near the holidays makes it look like its a hot item, and the press can say the console is in short supply and so forth.  But really this is a conservative move.  It shows that you don't have the confidence to release outside of the holiday season.  I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry though.




The_Liquid_Laser said:

I voted March, but that assumes that you know you have a good console on their hands.  The Switch launched with Breath of the Wild, and it seemed like Nintendo knew they had a strong game on their hands.  (It was essentially the only game featured at E3 2016.)  In this situation you get a strong launch month, and then you get a strong holiday season, so you maximize sales that way.  This is also a risky month, because, if your console has a disappointing launch then it will be really obvious (like 3DS).

So the safe month would be November or maybe October.  All of the console's hardcore fans and going to buy it regardless, so launching near the holidays makes it look like its a hot item, and the press can say the console is in short supply and so forth.  But really this is a conservative move.  It shows that you don't have the confidence to release outside of the holiday season.  I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry though.


But September and October don't leave much time for sales to fall off before you have hardcore guys AND holiday shoppers with it in their hands



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To me November makes sense. That's when people are holiday shopping. December would be pushing it a little bit late in that respect, and October would be a little early.



Robert_Downey_Jr. said:
The_Liquid_Laser said:

I voted March, but that assumes that you know you have a good console on their hands.  The Switch launched with Breath of the Wild, and it seemed like Nintendo knew they had a strong game on their hands.  (It was essentially the only game featured at E3 2016.)  In this situation you get a strong launch month, and then you get a strong holiday season, so you maximize sales that way.  This is also a risky month, because, if your console has a disappointing launch then it will be really obvious (like 3DS).

So the safe month would be November or maybe October.  All of the console's hardcore fans and going to buy it regardless, so launching near the holidays makes it look like its a hot item, and the press can say the console is in short supply and so forth.  But really this is a conservative move.  It shows that you don't have the confidence to release outside of the holiday season.  I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry though.


But September and October don't leave much time for sales to fall off before you have hardcore guys AND holiday shoppers with it in their hands

That is a good point. 

But production of units is another factor.  If you release in March you can have a huge inventory built up.  Then you can gradually stockpile until the holidays.  Again all of this assumes that you are confident the console will be successful.  March is a riskier month, but with a greater reward.



I don't think there's a particular ideal month, but there is one drawback to November/Q4 release, and that's having enough supply to meet demand for the holiday season. Launching in November means you need enough stock not only for launch week, but also for the remainder of the holiday season because of greater sustained demand on through to Christmas. The PS4 & XBO both had sufficient supply their launch holidays, but all three Gen 7 systems did not, nor did the PS2. Launching prior to Q4 results in sales dropping to baseline levels within a month's time after launch week, meaning no pressure for the manufacturer to keep a large enough amount of systems in the supply chain to meet launch month-level demand for two or three consecutive months.



Completely irrelevant unless the manufacturer does not expect the thing to sell for more than a year.



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Completely Depends on business strategy.
Generally the best time (for MS/Sony) is towards the end of the year such as September, October or November. I would generally say October as pre-orders will keep that month busy just before the sales shoot up in Nov/December. So the console will have 3 healthy months instead of just 2.
...But
if it takes a while for a good line-up of 1st/3rd party games (particular 3rd party in Nintendo's case), then early on in the year (but not January or February) to let game releases build up towards Christmas so that player can choose between a good selection of games (like the Switch did).

Last edited by 00Xander00 - on 05 February 2019

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