|By Chris Derosa||Thursday, 20 Dec 2007|
As gaming continues to grow year after year, the stories only became more interesting to watch unfold. Here’s a countdown of what made the biggest impact and controversy in what was one of the best years ever.
7. The Success of Casual Gaming
While the hardcore gaming audience has always supported the industry, one of the wisest business decisions was to reach out to a more unlikely demographic – everybody else. Nintendo has obviously seen the most success from this move, thanks to the innovation and marketing behind the DS and Wii as gaming that can be enjoyed by all friends and family. As it has completely entered the mainstream, playing games and toys is no longer something to be ashamed of.
6. Music Games + Music Industry = Profit
Guitar Hero has certainly come a long way since it debuted two years ago. The series has gone to sell millions upon millions of copies, which is usually unheard of for an above average priced retail game. Now every music label seems to want a piece of the plastic instrument pie. And who can blame them, as record sales for the artists/groups featured in both Guitar Hero and Rock Band have increased dramatically. When you factor in the success of download able content, and including Rock Band’s full albums soon to be available, you’re looking at the best investment for music since the ipod.
5. Jeff Gerstmann Gets the Axe from Gamespot
For a story like this, to happen in times like these, is just a flat out travesty. A long time editor for a well respected gaming website was fired for giving an average review to a game that was being advertised all over the website. Amongst all of the chaos, more controversy sprouted up, and the line between industry and media was shown to be very thin. I can imagine how other reviewers are playing it extra safe right now with fear for also losing their jobs. Hopefully this story will help publishers/marketers realize that they need to allow more space and freedom of expression to help ensure a healthy attitude for everyone involved.
4. The Ongoing Decrease of “Exclusives”
Remember a time when choosing a single system to own was a tough decision because of the huge variety of titles exclusive for each one? You can kiss those times good bye, as more and more third party publishers are dipping their feet into the multi-platform pool. And as big time publishers (EA and Activison being the best examples) reap the rewards, more publishers are following suit. Could this all lead to a single and univeral platform? Not likely, but it’s a nice step towards the right direction.
3. Manhunt 2 and Censorship
Even after toning the game down to a “Mature” rating, Rockstar clearly didn’t learn their lesson. Hackers ended up finding every “removed” murder sequence that gained the rare “Adults Only” mark that once had the game potentially banned from everywhere, showing that it didn’t take much effort to eventually get a title like this into stores. The controversy that swirls around Manhunt 2, and of course around Rockstar’s next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, draws up many concerns. How much obscene and graphic content can a game contain, have we become so incredibly desensitized to gaming violence, and does the rating system actually work?
2. The Rise of Nintendo
The revealing of the Wii was met with a mixed reaction. But no matter how positive or negative people thought of it, they were all curious. One year later, and the Wii is still the hottest selling toy of the holiday season, selling out almost everywhere. Coupled with the insane sales of the DS (seriously, who doesn’t own one?), Nintendo has once again reclaimed a spot that they haven’t seen since the days of the Super NES.
1. The Fall of Sony
Even after the overconfidence of being the best around, the steep PS3 price announcement, the die hard support of obscure and expensive disc formats, and the shockingly bad marketing behind their products, I still don’t think anyone could have predicted Sony’s fall from grace. It was well warranted, however, with their lack of true AAA titles and constant loss of exclusive third party support. They’re stepping in the right direction with price drops and the new PSP Slim boosting their sales slightly. But it all seems too little too late, as the competition continues to expand on their leads and ensure that Sony will not be able to bounce back in 2008.