A techno composer once told me how his album had been postponed for over a year because the record label didn't want to release it into heavy competition, and competition kept surprising them (events, album release dates, etc). The publisher was delaying a finished product so long it hurt the designer, and was making no apparent progress in its attempts to time the product's release optimally.
I was reading today about how Amazon is already selling Spore for just $20 and about LittleBigPlanet's lackluster sales. And I had to wonder how timing has played into the sales of both. This has been a phenomenal season with exceptionally heavy competition for all games.
If a product must face unexpectedly heavy competition, what can either the publisher or developer do in less than a month's time to improve their odds?