Hello everyone, Anthony here for another week of the Gamer Round-Up! This week, I look back on one hell of a year for gamers and recap the biggest stories as well as keeping you up to date on happenings in the gaming world.
TOPICS OF THE WEEK
What is your game or top ten list of the year? What game(s) are you looking forward to in the new year?
My top ten list is as followed:
1. Batman: Arkham City
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
3. Portal 2
4. Battlefield 3
5 L.A Norie
6. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
8. Little Big Planet 2
9. Dead Space 2
10. FIFA 12
THIS WEEK IN GAMING
Staring January 1st, "gun-like" Avatar items will be taken off the Xbox Live Market due to a recent addition to the list of things that Microsoft prohibits their beloved Avatars from having or doing.
In other news, Microsoft will still promote shooters on XBL in light of this.
Last week, the highly anticipated Bioware MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, hits store shelves just in time for Christmas. So far, over 60 million game hours have been logged in with the title and 1,660,000 Sith Warriors and Jedi Knights have been created.
There was a bit of an upset last week for gamers who reserved copies of The Last Guardian from Gamestop, as many of them received calls from the retailer staring that the game had been cancelled
. Thankfully for those gamers who were about to jump off the bridge, this was quickly debunked by Sony. The retailer apologized for the error, stating that the company took the game off their computer system due to the game not having a specific release date and that the game will be up for preorder again once an established release date has been announced.
For those wondering how much you'll have to pay for Playstation Vita memory cards, you're in luck!
Sony has announced the prices for the four different levels of storage capacity, with prices ranging from $19.99 for a 4GB card to $99.99 for a 32GB card.
In other Vita related news, Sony has announced the launch details for the US release.
The handheld will be released on February 22nd and will have 25 titles at launch, which will include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, FIFA Soccer, and Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational. There will also be a Starter Kit released alongside the Vita for $39.99, which will include a 4GB memory card, a pocket pouch, headphones, a protective screen film and other assorted accessories. The handheld will also come with 6 AR cards and a voucher for AR Play, a bundle of AR games.
Nintendo has finally announced a release date for the anticipated Kid Icarus 3DS title.... for Japan.
The game will be released March 22nd in Japan and while there has been no Western release date yet, it is assumed that the title will launch on our shores shortly after. In other 3DS news, Enterbrain from Japan has announced that Nintendo has sold close to 4 million of them in Japan this year.
Speaking of other Nintendo news, the company has stated that the upcoming Wii U has a launch window from next June to the end of 2012.
While there is no firm date for the release of the system, it is expected that Nintendo will reveal the official release date at the E3 2012 next May. The system will also be on display at CES 2012.
The company also reveled the official The Legend of Zelda timeline
, which is part of an art book of the series that has been released in Japan.
No word yet on if the book will be released here in the US.
Capcom has announced that they will be opening, of all things, a bar in Toyko next month.
The bar will feature Capcom game demo kiosks and will feature food and drinks centered around Capcom titles. The bar will also serve as a location to host talk events from game developers. The bar will open on the 25th.
For Battlefield 3 fans who missed out on getting the preorder Physical Warfare Pack, the DLC is now available to all for the wonderful price of free.
The DLC pack features the Type 99 LMG, a flash suppressor for the SKS and instant access to the DAO-12 Shotgun and Flechette Ammo for the gun.
While this article is tongue in cheek, it does tell of President Obama making a stop at a local Best Buy to pick up a copy of Just Dance 3 for his two young daughters for Christmas.
Hopefully the president and his family had a nice Christmas Day dancing along to the game's numerous tracks.
And finally, Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling has announced that MW3 will receive it's first batch of DLC next month.
The upcoming DLC will feature 5 new maps and Bowling has also stated that upcoming DLC with also cover Spec Ops and "a variety of things that players have never seen before". The DLC will launch on January 24th with Xbox getting first dibs, while PS3 and PC players will receive the content at a later date due to Microsoft's exclusivity deal with Activision.
With that, let's all take a look back and review what was....
THE YEAR IN GAMING: 2011
Microsoft, who once was the top dog in the console wars in terms of content, took some strange turns this year. After last year's launch of Kinect, Microsoft has made much headway with promoting and advancing with the device. At this year's E3 convention, Kinect was clearly the main focus of their press conference, for better or worse. About 3/4th of the conference revolved around Kinect in some fashion, whether it be showing how Kinect could be used to enhance certain features in upcoming titles such as Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon: Future Solider to a slew of Kinect titles and Kinect Fun Labs, which utilizes the device for various features on the Xbox Dashboard. Along with the Kinect heavy announcements, Microsoft also announced that Xbox Live would be getting a slew of media applications, which including from the likes of UFC, HBO Go, BBC iPlayer, Skype, and other apps.
However, it became clear to many that Microsoft has taken a different direction with the 360, turning a once prominent gaming system to a family friendly, media hub instead. The system's once great collection of exclusive properties had now whittled down to only a few, with Kinect and media apps taking a front seat. Even with the announcement of Halo 4 and a new trilogy and the next successor in the Xbox line currently being developed, the future seems uncertain for Microsoft with these recent developments.
Sony, after making much headway in the past couple of years, nearly lost its momentum with one single event. On April 19th, an event no PS3 user will ever forget, the Playstation Network was hacked and 77 million PSN and Qriocity users' personal information, including credit card information, was stolen. Sony shut down PSN for 23 long days, preventing users from withdrawing their personal information and causing many to cancel their credit and debit cards in fear of identity theft. On May 2nd, Sony announced that Sony Online Entertainment had also been hacked, resulting in 12,000 credit card numbers from non-US cardholders and other information from 24.7 million accounts possibly being stolen and the service being shut down as well.
In that time, Sony received quite the backlash, from angry gamers being unable to play online and their information being stolen to the US Government, whom representatives demanded answers from Sony about the data breach. To make up for the attack, Sony America's CEO Jack Tretton personally apologized for the attack at Sony's E3 conference and the company offered compensation to all who was affected with the Welcome Back program, offering two free PS3 and two free PSN titles from a selection of 9 titles, the free use of Qriocity for 180 days, 30 days of Playstation Plus for free and a free dynamic theme for the PS3. In all, Sony miraculously survived the disaster and learned one hell of a lesson regarding security.
Nintendo, after riding the gravy train with the Wii for the past five years, decided it was time to announce it's next move in the console wars and declared they would debut its new console at this year's E3 convention. For weeks leading up to the event, gamers waited in battered breath to hear what was hopefully going to be a headstart into the next generation of consoles and Ninendo's big comeback in the console wars. However, at Nintendo's press conference, it seemed that wasn't the case when Nintendo proudly showed its new console, the Wii U. The announcement left much to be desired, ranging from a sense of disappointment regarding the system's use of current graphic technology versus using next-gen graphics to a great sense of confusion regarding much of its announcement revolving around the console's controller instead of the console itself.
While numerous third party companies and developers raved about the system and promised a slew of games to support the system, the future of Wii U remains to be seen going into the new year and one has to wonder whether the system will be Nintendo's next big hit or the next Virtual Boy.
This year was a big year for handheld systems. After announcing the handheld at last year's E3, Nintendo finally release the next iteration in the DS line, the 3DS, on March 27th. The launch however was marred by issues, ranging from lackluster launch titles to health risks involving the handheld's glasses-free 3D screen. With sales not living up to expectations, Nintendo cut the price of the handheld from $250 to $169 on July 28th and offered free content for users who bought it at the original price with the Ambassador Program.
Sony, not to be outdone, announced at their E3 conference their next step with the PSP platform with the Vita. The handheld showed a great leap in graphical power from the previous PSP handheld, being close to PS3 standards in the palms of your hand. The system launched in Japan this month and the handheld is currently planned for US release this upcoming February.
After being the butt of many a joke in the gaming and with the help of Gearbox Studios and Hell freezing over, the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever finally was release after an insane 14 years of development. The game however was critically panned across the board, which naturally was going to be the outcome of the once greatest example of vaporware. The Redner Group, a third party public relations firm who handled the PR for the game, lashed out against these poor reviews on Twitter and declared they would be reviewing who gets review copies of upcoming 2K Games titles, basing this on who doesn't subscribe to "today's venom". Surprising no one, 2K Games promptly relieved the company of their PR duties shortly afterwards.
This year saw the closest thing to a real war with Activision's highly anticipated shooter, Modern Warfare 3, going up against the company's long time rival EA Games with their next installment in the Battlefield series, Battlefield 3. For months, EA Games slung mud and took cheap shots at Activision while fans on both sides duked it out in a war of words on messageboards and comment sections on news stories for the games. In the end, Activision came up victorious in this war with sales of MW3 exceeding 1 billion dollars. However the true winners were gamers, for they had two awesome games with different playing styles to choose from.
This year also saw the release of many excellent and well received titles including Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, Forza 4, Killzone 3, L.A. Noire, Uncharted 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dead Space 2, Little Big Planet 2, and others.
There was also sad news this year, as companies such as Bizarre Creations, Team Bondi, Black Rock Studio, EA Visceral Melbourne and other studios, closed their doors for issues ranging from low game sales to internal strife.
So that was 2011 in a nutshell, it had its highs and it had its lows. Gamers had more choices then ever to explore new worlds, take on new challenges and enjoy probably one of the best slew of titles released in years. Now with 2012 only days, we can look to the horizon to where gaming will go next in the upcoming year.
Sources: Destructoid and Joystiq. Also a huge thank you to IGN for compiling all the stories from the past year and making the year review that much easier to do.