Inspired by this thread, I wanted to chat a bit about RPG Publishers and their release schedules. Most will admit that in this hobby, vaporware is not unknown. The question is, how much does a publisher's adherence to a promised or projected release schedule bug you or turn you off from supporting that company?
I want to look at a couple of different publishers for my answer on this. In gaming, Palladium Books and Eden Studios are known as two of the prime offenders in this area (though there are certainly others). Now, of the two, I tend to be more forgiving of Palladium, because a) I know a lot of the folks working on the titles, and b) it's Palladium, and I've gotten used to it since Junior High. Palladium also has a much larger back catalog to keep me occupied while I wait. If anything, Eden is probably slightly better on delivering, but I cut Palladium the slack, and not for any really good reason--just my reasons. I suspect I'm not the only gamer to forgive because of a relationship with personnel or the talent at a gaming company.
In another vein, Wizards of the Coast has been slow--not in their RPG releases, which are very regular--but in their promised support, such as DDI and pushing out the GSL (and the revised GSL). I'm probably even more critical of WotC because, hey, it's WotC. They're the presumed big kid on the block, the holders (legally, if not spiritually) of D&D. Given the public nature of their series of support debacles (which appear to have been calming down as of late, happily), it really drew attention to all the miscues. Silly as it is, the notoriety of a slowdown or delay seems to magnify it, and I think that's what's happened to WotC.
Despite my griping and sniping at the above examples, I'll be honest: except for a brief flare-up, most delays don't bug me too much. I know for many of these folks, it's a pure labor of love, and they still have families and day jobs that take priority. The instances that really get me is when I waiting for a promised additional product to make a complete game (which is a model I've gotten away from, so it doesn't really happen much anymore), or when a trilogy or series is cut off incomplete in the middle (Land of the Damned, I am looking at you here).
All in all, I think gamers are a pretty forgiving bunch, so long as you don't compound delays with P.R. miscues, poor customer support, or leaving us in the lurch with less than was promised for a core game. Do it too often, and you're going to hear some jokes and frustration. Stick to a solid schedule but put out mediocrity, and folks will still wait for your peers to finish up. I could be wrong, but that seems to be the majority view from where I'm sitting.