It's been a rough summer for gamers. The drought of new games can only be described as epic. Consoles gather dust and fanboys are subject to — ugh! — fresh air and sunshine.

So it's a good thing summer is almost over and the flood of anticipated titles is about to start pouring in, right?

Not so fast.

Each year a few games inevitably slip from the holiday schedule to the spring. This isn't usually a problem, as there always are so many more to choose from. But never in the 22 years that I've been covering games for a living have I seen a single year as bad as 2014.

Let's start with the obvious: Two new systems are approaching their one-year anniversaries. Releases for these systems have been steady, if not spectacular, but exclusive triple-A games are another matter.

Each received one game in the spring — "Tianfall" on Xbox 360 and "inFAMOUS: Second Son" on PlayStation 4. And each has huge games on the distant horizon — "Halo 5" and "Uncharted: A Thief's End," respectively.

That's all good for the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future, but what about the present?

Microsoft does have a few games coming out this year, but the biggest one — "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" — is a repackaged collection of the first four "Halo" games.

Merry Christmas!

Sony, on the other hand, has a single big offering announced for the holidays at this point — "LittleBigPlanet 3," a game with a very specific, somewhat limited, audience.

Now, there are more than a few third-party games appearing for all of the systems. Not one but two new "Assassin's Creed" games (so both last- and current-generation players are covered); a spectacular looking "Call of Duty" installment; the annual sports editions of "Madden," "FIFA" and "NBA 2K15," and even a couple of good-looking original games such as "The Evil Within" and "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor."

But for every good game actually making it out this year, there's at least one that's been delayed.

"Dying Light," "The Witcher 3," "Battlefield: Hardline" and "Batman: Arkham Knight" are all games we were looking forward to calling in sick and playing this fall.

The latest casualty, "Evolve," was looking solid when I played it for more than an hour at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in early June. The frame rate was solid, and the action seemed smooth and pretty bug free. It required some balancing, of course, but developer Turtle Rock still had months for that.

So what keeps happening here? Why are so many of the big games being pushed off to next year, missing the lucrative holiday season?

Surely the new consoles shoulder part of the blame here. It takes time to learn all the new tricks these powerful computers have to offer.

But the main reason, one that you will hear from the developers time and time again, is quality.

Every time we jump a console generation, games become more complicated — and more expensive — to produce. Today's games have hundreds of people working on them and can cost tens of millions of dollars.

The upside is huge: "Grand Theft Auto V" already has sold more than 20 million copies.

At an average of $50 per copy, that's a gross of $1 billion, a figure only a handful of Hollywood blockbusters have achieved.

Oh, yeah, and the new-gen version of "GTA V" isn't out until October.

When the potential difference between a huge blockbuster and flop is an extra three or four months of development time, publishers tend to grant the extension.

Does it always work? Nope.

"Duke Nukem' Forever" took nearly that long to make and still stunk up store shelves.

On the other hand, "Watch Dogs" was one of last year's victims and ended up much better for it. And, since it is also a huge success, you can look forward to a sequel in the future.

So while game delays are undeniably annoying, particularly for games you are really looking forward to (I'm looking at you, "Batman: Arkham Knight"), more often than not they mean a better game for you to play.

And isn't that what really matters?