Happy New Year everyone! Here we are, at the end of another year and ready to start a new one and as gamers, we are excited for what gaming has to offer in 2014.
Looking back on 2013, it really wasn’t the most overwhelming year but it wasn’t underwhelming either. It was sort of in between. In a nutshell, I think we will look back on this year as being the start to something more. This year, we were introduced to two new consoles with the PS4 and Xbox One. Its what lead up to these consoles releases that will have me remember this year vividly.
In February, the PS4 was revealed…somewhat. Although the PS4 model was not actually shown, information about the PS4 as well as games coming to the console were revealed. The hype began to grow for the PS4 simultaneously as curiosity grew for the new Xbox. At this time, many were still speculating what the new Xbox was going to be called. For a while it was code named “Durango,” but most people referred to it as the “Xbox 720.” I don’t think anyone expected it to be called Xbox One, which was revealed in May. Not only was that a surprise but the entire reveal itself had many skeptical about Microsoft. The “All In One” console was looking more like a cable box instead of a video game console. I admit, even I had my doubts.
In June, was the anticipated release of The Last of Us on the PS3. Immediately a Game of The Year candidate, The Last of Us brought us beautiful graphics and a compelling story. Besides Gears of War: Judgment, which was a complete flop, there really were no AAA exclusives that came to the Xbox 360 this year. So, Sony was strong at this point and eventually the PS3 passed the Xbox 360 in lifetime sales. And with Nintendo seeming to go AWOL with big news or appearances, the hype for the PS4 was expected.
There were a few games on their way to the Wii U in the summer and fall, like Pikman 3 and The Wonderful 101, but the hype-wagon for the Wii U seemed to get smaller and smaller. Even when it came to announcements, Nintendo always seemed to be overshadowed by the Xbox One and PS4. At E3 of this year, Nintendo left us scratching our heads because they decided not to take the main stage and instead had a few private booths for press.
As E3 came and went, I’m sure many can agree that it was more confusing than anything. We were confused about Nintendo’s future and many of us were still very confused about the Xbox One. Was it a glorified cable box? Are they really “games first?” The PS4 seemed to be the system to get. Sony even took jabs at Microsoft during E3, saying we can play our games on different systems, that there is no DRM and once the price was announced of $399, a whole $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, Microsoft looked like cooked meat. However, as time went on and Microsoft reversed some of their policies, the Xbox One hype began to grow and is holding its own now that it is out.
As for handhelds, this year was dominated by the Nintendo 3DS, which constantly took the spotlight away from the WIi U. The 3DS was worthy of the spotlight though and is my best purchase this year. This year, the 3DS had great games such as Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, Donkey Kong Returns, and my Game of The Year Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
As for third party games this year, we had our share of good and bad. From the laughable Aliens: Colonial Marines, to the impressive Bioshock: Infinite, to the rejuvenation of the beautiful Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, there were games all year that had our attention. Grand Theft Auto V was arguably the most anticipated game of 2013 and once the game released in September, the buyers were divided. Some hated it, some loved it, and some even felt it was Game of The Year.
As fall came, the console wars were at an all time high. It is still impossible to view a video on YouTube about the new consoles without seeing a console war in the comment section. The PS4 and Xbox One were released in November and now that the dust has settled a bit, we have all come back to reality and realized that the games have yet to come. It is too early to tell where these consoles are headed and which will be the most successful. Sales are one thing, but the full potential of these systems and quality of games have yet to be shown. With the Wii U gaining some steam with bundle deals and the release of Super Mario Bros. U, it will be interesting in 2014 and I hope all three are successful because the more competition, the better. As “next-gen” is officially here, we can look to the new year on telling us where these consoles are going in the future.