2013 has been a big year for video games, with a lot of major releases like GTA V, Bioshock Infinite and a bunch of 3DS games. On top of which the 8th generation in video games began for real with the new Xbox and Playstation releases. However the new consoles don’t just bring with them more power, they also bring some fundamental changes that could shape the future of video games for better or for worse.
The most prominent changes all come from the Xbox One, which started off as a total bombshell. Always online and no 2nd hand market outraged the community. Luckily they backed off from the most offensive of those “features”. This seems to be good, for now. If a company is willing to do such things once, who is to say they can’t do it again with a future update. This is troubling thoughts but is ultimately just speculation.
GTA V’s online mishaps have turned many people away from even bothering playing. The online features were released a week after the release date, people assumed this was to iron out some kinks. Obviously a week wasn’t long enough as the release was riddled with log in issues and missing features, even now there are missing features promised to be included at release.
It’s not all bad as many games released were enjoyed for the most part, ignoring the controversies Dragon’s Crown was a good game and it’s almost perfect for the Vita. There’s also Bioshock Infinite which made many scratch their heads trying to figure out the story line. It’s so obtuse that it’s almost impossible to tell whether the ending was a cop-out or if it works as a narrative. Strange endings aside the game play was solid and Elizabeth was a likeable character.
Then there’s the 3DS which has had an amazing year, albeit it hasn’t been kind to those who don’t live in America. Shin Megami Tensei IV’s release date is still an abstract “To Be Announced”. As a resident of the PAL region I cannot comment on the releases that have been delayed outside of Japan and America. However the games that the PAL region did get are still amazing. Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: Awakening and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds are all great games and justify purchasing a 3DS alone.
Despite the solid line up for the 3DS the Vita has a few solid titles, albeit for a niche audience. Soul Sacrifice is an amazing game with a well told story, solid gameplay and fun multiplayer. Then there’s Tearaway which despite mediocre sales (at least on the physical side) is a fun game and well worth playing.
The PC remains strong with every multi-platform game released on it almost always being the best version available. The SimCity reboot was regarded as a failure thanks to having a terrible launch and unnecessary online requirements. Path of Exile was released from open beta this year, although it’s a great game at its core the net coding holds it back. There has been a bunch of indie games released, although they all seem to be stuck in the rut of trying to be art instead of being a full game experience.
The new PC console made by Valve called the Steam Machine has everyone waiting with baited breath. Many gamers would prefer to use Linux over Windows but the lack of support keeps them on windows, since the SteamOS is a Linux based operating system there is hope that this will give Linux the push it needs to be relevant in the gaming world.
Despite the controversy that seems rampant this year has been pretty solid in gaming, with more people left satisfied than not. The new console generation is still fledgling is projected to go strong over 2014. The gen 7 consoles all had a great year as has PC gaming. There are also signs of a much needed change in the industry with people actively rejecting invasive DRM and finally stopped buying the yearly released Call of Duty. It seems that the future for gaming is still bright, as long as we embrace innovation over comfortability.