It's been a busy year, but we'll help bring you up to speed with recaps of five of the biggest ongoing stories in the industry.
It's December, and that means it's time to take stock of the year that was before setting out on the campaign still to come. While GameSpot's Best of 2011 awards will handle the requisite retrospection for the year's biggest and best releases, they don't take into account the stories surrounding the games and the trends and topics that dominated conversations and shaped the industry. So as a companion piece to our annual honors, the GameSpot News team has put together some high-level recaps of five of the biggest ongoing themes in the gaming world this year.
Where's the new hardware?
Even though 2011 has seen just a single new system launch (so far), it has still been a huge year for hardware news. Nintendo rang in the year by announcing a $250 price point and March 27 US release date for the 3DS, its anticipated successor to the best-selling system of all time, the DS. The system jumped out to a promising start, with Nintendo saying its day-one sales were the highest of any handheld in the company's history. However, it soon became apparent the glasses-free 3D portable was not living up to expectations, as Nintendo addressed the surplus of systems on shelves, stepped up its marketing for the system, and acknowledged the launch lineup was "lacking."
Meanwhile, Sony was slowly taking the wraps off the successor to its own handheld, the PSP. In a late January press event in Tokyo, Sony announced the "Next Generation Portable," a tentatively titled handheld that bore more than a little resemblance to the PSP, with the biggest apparent difference being the presence of twin analog sticks on the front of the unit. Less visible improvements included 3G support, a touch screen on the front and touchpad on the back, front- and rear-facing cameras, and tilt sensitivity. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony would rechristen the machine as the PlayStation Vita.
The PS Vita wasn't the only new hardware on display at E3, as Nintendo used the show as its coming out party for the Wii U. Beyond the company's entry into high-definition gaming, the Wii U was positioned as another entry in the company's line of interface innovations like the DS touch screen and the motion-sensing Wii Remote. The big draw of the Wii U is its tablet controller, which includes a touch screen, tilt-sensitivity, and enough sticks and buttons to provide a traditional gaming experience for games that demand it. The system drew plenty of support from third-party publishers like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, but a tepid reaction from investors sent Nintendo shares sinking.
Nintendo's troubles came to a head in late July when it dramatically dropped its full-year profit forecasts by more than $1 billion and announced the price of the 3DS--released less than six months prior--was coming down to $170 from its original $250. The price cut worked in sparking 3DS sales, and by Black Friday weekend, the handheld had surpassed the first-year sales total of the original DS.
While Nintendo grappled with its 3DS woes and took the wraps off the Wii U, Microsoft and Sony were largely mum about their next-generation consoles. That didn't stop rumors from popping up as the year went along, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 (or Xbox Loop, or Xbox Next, or Project Ten) set for release in 2012. Or maybe 2013. But it could be 2014. Unfortunately, the biggest confirmed news about the next wave of systems was that Microsoft had begun publicly hiring hardware architects for its next-generation console back in March.
Maybe it's just as well, considering that the Xbox 360 has shown few signs of slowing down, now six years into its life span. (At this point in the original Xbox's life span, the system had been discontinued and replaced by the Xbox 360 for two whole years). Microsoft built its hardware push up to a gigantic Thanksgiving week that saw the company sell nearly 1 million systems, the single biggest week in the company's console history.
As for the PlayStation 3, the system started the year strong but endured its worst sales performance in years during a lengthy outage to the PlayStation Network, which transitions nicely to the next theme in our year-end recap.
Gamespot's A Year In the Life of a Gamer: This year I sat in front of an electronic shrine to consumerism and willfully ignored all social, political, and environmental happenings. I chatted online in broken english with other ugly, uninformed neckbeards. I helped perpetuate another giant, evil, and faceless industry devoted to keeping my demographic ignorant and harmless. Go me.
i'm very confused by the whole mmo new free to play model , game not played online requiring online access thing , i'll just open my wallet, ea and activision can take whatever's there !
"Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat" you've arrived, video games. you're being compared to dante.
The fact that there is still hacker scum out there willing to try and steal and corrupt people's identities soley for the purpose of saying "I can" or some other statment is much more alarming and damaging to society than this trivial argument over game content. The content of a video game should not be used as a scapegoat for violence. Proper parenting and upbringing and mental stability of an individual should. Far worse stuff has been written about and shown in movies, documentaries, etc. The real monsters are those who would seek satisfaction and fun in destroying the real lives of others through hacking.
I feel like 2012 is going to be a HUGE year for gaming. I'm a little biased because I love Blizzard and I believe that MoP D3 and SC2:HotS will come out, I know I'm a fool for thinking all 3 will come out this year, and be some of the best games of the year. Lets not forget Bioware and this little game they have coming out called Mass Effect 3, that looks like it might be a good one ;). Lets hope that EA will refine its sports games to a new level and I'll be convinced to buy them this year, unlike last year. Overall I want to see a large amount of Quality games come out and just blow us away like nothing before.
@nyran125 truely said man. CS is the skill vs skill fps. i played it yesterday after a long time and i was so happy when i acutally killed the A.I. on expert difficulty. hardship has gone away from the games today. remember resident evil 3 on ps1? it was hard. scarce ammo, random attackings and all. not only the gameplay but the whole package was hard. but a game like CoD today is aim down and shoot. just that and when u put it on veteran difficulty, the hardship is in the bullets u take just that. the hard game i like in this gen is ninja gaiden 2. because its hard but if you're skilled u can counter every attack. its not about just pushing that X button. FIFA 12 is a game that needs skill too. i like it when i use the strategy to pass more to save stamina. where if i move my center back needlesly, the gap will be my tomb.
"You'll put an eye out with that thing! OW!!!! Those are MY eyes yer putting out!!!" ---sorry, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. Happy New Year!
the best games i played this year was 1.Portal 2 2.Deus Ex human Revolution 3.Crysis 2 3.BF3 and MW3
This was a fantastic year for games! (Skyrim+Dark Souls+Arkham City+Skyward Sword=rock hard pingas) Happy derping New Year!
Happy new year, let's hope this new year is going to be better than the last one, in all the ways! :)
if RAGE was one of the best FPS's youve played this year, then what a crap year for FPS's then? Bioshock Infinite and Counter strike have already won 2012's. They might as well just vote in advance. I still think Counter Strike is #1 Multipalyer FPS's ever made. No perks, no Bullsht attachments, just skill vs skill and some realistic looking weapons adn no respawning. Nothing beats it. I prefer Day Of Defeat over Battlefield too.
@rasputin177 I'll be the first to mention it if nobody else will. Rage is easily the best FPS that I've played this year, for more than enough reasons. Happy New Years everyone!
Im actually excited for the price of a 360 to drop. I only have a ps3 and I want to get one so I can play Gears of War, Alan Wake and the other exclusives
Yesterday is a memory, today is a gift, tomorrow is a hope. Lets begin New Year with faith, love, and peace. Wishing you all the best! Happy New Year!
PLZ READ MY OPINION, as much as i liked games like gears 3, battlefield 3, and uncharted 3., i have got to say that skyrim was the in that really shined this year. modern failfare 3 was amazing with there sales but thats it. But that is what you get from a once great product to a now yearly re-skinned game, go skyrim for GOTY and battlefild 3 for FPS of the year