The lights are on
When the weather is crappy outside, nothing is better than hunkering down with your console for an extended gaming session. But with a category one hurricane barreling into the eastern seaboard, that may not be an option for some gamers. Power companies are urging citizens to brace for outages, and several game stores are closing just as eager fans were prepping to attend midnight launches for Assassin's Creed III.
A few hours ago, GameStop posted the following message on its Facebook page:
"Our top priority is the safety of our employees and customers. In compliance with directives issued by state and local authorities, stores in the path of Hurricane Sandy will remain closed until it is safe to re-open and midnight openings for Assassin's Creed III have been cancelled in the northeast. Customers should check with their local stores for details on when we will re-open."
If you live on the east coast and were planning to attend a GameStop midnight launch, make sure you call to see if they are still planning to be open. Similarly, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy have closed many stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Though tomorrow is undoubtedly the biggest date on the Ubisoft calendar in terms of retail sales, the publisher urges people to be sensible when thinking about trekking out to pick up the game. "Ubisoft’s first and foremost concern is for the safety all of the people who may be affected by Hurricane Sandy," says public relations manager Stone Chin. "Assassin’s Creed III has pre-sold more than twice as many as the previous title and has a strong and loyal fan-base. The game will still be there when gamers are able to pick up or receive it."
Assassin's Creed III isn't the only prominent game with bad timing. Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Lego Lord of the Rings, and WWE 13 are also slated to release tomorrow. How this uncooperative weather affects the bottom line for the publishers of these games isn't clear just yet to analysts.
"It's very difficult to quantify," says Pacific Crest Securities senior research analyst Evan Wilson. "For the biggest games – like AC3 – we'd expect gamers, many who have preordered, to still get the game, although some sales will be delayed. For the secondary purchases there will be a much more notable impact as they face more competition from other new titles. Games dates are chosen very carefully, and competition can vary from week to week. Probably the biggest loser is GameStop and other retailers. Fortunately, this isn't happening during the holiday shopping period when many games see the bulk of their sales even if they are released earlier."
Whether you are braving the storm to procure a copy of your highly anticipated game or boarding up your windows to prevent storm damage, we wish you the best. Be safe, east coasters.
[Full Disclosure: Game Informer is owned by GameStop]
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.