Why Midnight Launches Are A Waste Of Time

The iPhone 5c and 5s land in Australia tomorrow, with Apple stores opening promptly at 8:00am. Despite being one of the biggest tech launches of the year, no midnight launches have been scheduled locally. Clearly the consumer interest is there, so why isn’t Apple opening its doors at the witching hour? The answer is simple: it chose to be sensible instead.

Photo: Getty Images

Midnight launches have fallen from favour in recent years and we can’t say that we mourn the decline. While it seems like a fun idea on paper, they’re actually a waste of time for everyone involved. Allow us to explain.

Earlier in the week, the hotly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V was unleashed on the gaming masses. Unlike Apple, EB Games and JB Hi-Fi chose to hold a string of midnight launches up and down the country. More than 300 stores were open for business at 12am with free GTA V posters, burrito eating competitions and a misguided fake cocaine stunt adding to the fanfare.

Two of our colleagues headed into the fray to pick up copies of their own — but neither of them actually played the game when they got home.

“I don’t think I’ve ever come home from a midnight launch and played the game I’ve just bought. I usually just go to bed,” Kotaku editor Mark Serrels admitted.

According to our publisher Danny Allen who also snapped up a copy, the midnight launch was roughly comparable to most wedding nights — “the sex usually doesn’t happen because you’re too exhausted”.

So if you don’t even play the game, what’s the point of attending? We’ve heard people say it’s all about the sense of excitement, but we’re talking about lining up for hours in the dead of night. What’s so exciting about that? It can also be potentially dangerous if you happen to live in a rough area, as one North West London man unfortunately learned.

If anything, attending a midnight launch makes you the lowest slave of consumerism — the attendees literally cannot wait an extra eight hours to slap down their hard-earned cash for something that’s usually overpriced anyway.

This is especially idiotic when it comes to video games because they depreciate very quickly. In a few months you’ll be able to snap up the game for 20 or 30 percent off the current asking price. We understand that some people might not want to wait that long, but rushing out to pay full whack at midnight is clearly ridiculous.

Midnight launches are also pretty pointless from the retailer’s end. Any product that justifies holding a midnight launch is going to sell like hot cakes anyway — so why fork out on additional staff wages and superfluous storefront trappings? We hate to think how much EB’s extensive launch festivities cost. The stock would have moved just as quickly the next morning (this was a GTA game after all). Simply put, the extra hype that a midnight launch brings is in no way needed to sell the product.

Doubtlessly we’ll continue to see the midnight launch plod along for a few more years but it’s days are fortunately numbered.

Have you ever attended a midnight launch for a new product? How did you find the experience? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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