Top 07 of ’07: Stories in the World of Gaming
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.

2 Responses to “Top 07 of ’07: Stories in the World of Gaming”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    great rundown, chris.

    my thoughts:

    - it’s pretty amazing that the wii and its “casual gaming” audience has really proven to be a continual success over the course of 12+ months. it succeeds in spite of the doubts that it will die out, that there arent enough big games, that there’s derivative drivel, it’s not “next-gen” enough…the power of a few truly great and all ages appealing games (and great marketing) has seen nintendo take back a big share of the market, so congrats to them.

    - as internet journalists here at good-evil, i have to say that, if true, the gerstmann thing has a very “chilling effect” on the games journalism industry. on one hand, you need support of ads to keep your site in business, and they need you to promote the games. but in the process of being critical of a game, a critic is obligated to tell the fact as he/she sees them. and i’m not quite sure when one person’s opinion started becoming fact, but it’s sad to see that doing your job and trying to tell your readers the facts isn’t quite good enough anymore. and in fact, sometimes it isn’t even wanted.

    - the music games thing is getting pretty crazy. if there’s one thing i’ve learned, it’s that they promote casual gaming get togethers, and that pretty much anyone can enjoy them. even i got a singstar setup the other week because its great fun that me and my girlfriend can enjoy. i think it’s a great thing. gaming should be all inclusive.

    - sony’s fall is kinda sad in a way, but it’s a good lesson to learn. they got too cocky and believed we the people would buy whatever bullshit they pushed upon us because the ps1/2 were so successful. well, you push us, we push back. the ps3′s price and lack of quality games has truly hurt the system, and time will tell if it will recover. tying into the lack of exclusives, this melting pot of third party games is hurting them now more than ever, and they need some more unique, great experiences you can’t get on any other platform. hopefully they will learn from their mistakes.

  2. Andrew Raub Says:

    Great article. I think you summed up 2007 quite well. I think maybe casual gaming should be a bit higher, but it’s not my list :)

    If there is one thing I can say about gaming in 2007, it’s that it actually has excited me for the first time in a long time. The Wii definitely kicked the industry in the ass and forced some change, but even more traditional games on other systems have been upping the ante. I think developers this year have really pushed gaming closer to the “art” realm, and further from the “waste of time” field.

    Hopefully 2008 will keep the momentum going!

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