Looking back over the year 2013, there are few moments that stand out to me as events that have shaped or will shape gaming as we know it. What were the “Best Moments in Gaming” this past year? Let’s take a look back, shall we?
Most Obvious Best Moment in Gaming in 2013: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch
This one goes pretty much without saying. Sony and Microsoft have bestowed upon us their latest consoles, each packed with enough horsepower to propel us into 2020. With releases between console generations becoming longer and longer, this really was a big deal, to which both companies threw mega parties for each of their releases (which you can some Xbox One launch party pics here). It will be well into next year when most gamers will adopt the new consoles, but this year did mark the beginning of the next generation.
Best Moment in Gaming for the Current Gen in 2013: The release of Grand Theft Auto V
There were many candidates that could easily take home “Game of the Year” honors, but for PS3 and Xbox 360 users, the release of GTAV saw astoundingly positive reviews and acclaim from critics. Will it win everyone over? No, but to build the hype around the release of such a highly anticipated game and then knock it out of the ballpark with a stellar game that pushes these consoles to their technical limits? Kudos to Rockstar, not that we didn’t expect an excellent game anyway from them anyway.
This just goes to show that there is still plenty of life left in the current generation of consoles, and for some us, we are a bit backlogged on games we have wanted to play.
Best Moment in Gaming for the People in 2013: The defeat of “Always Online”
When Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would need to be online almost all the time in order to use the damn thing, gamers everywhere were up in arms. The realization that this just was not feasible for many who lived in rural areas or areas with poor internet connectivity, Microsoft quickly changed suit by removing the requirement, but not after some embarrassing public gaffes.
CD Projekt Red also recently stated that they are doing away with DRM in their last installment of The Witcher series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It would be nice to see this as a movement back towards trust in the consumer, but it’s hard to see this catching on with other publishers.
Anywho, here is to hoping that publishers will stay the course, because they can still force this online requirement. Unfortunately, it looks as though NBA2K14 has just implemented an always online requirement with their most recent patch.
Best Sneaky Moment in Gaming in 2013: Nintendo’s handheld gaming dominance
This really isn’t that sneaky, or that much of a surprise, but Nintendo is just dealing it out with the success of the 3DS and their stellar first-party games. Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X and Y have been huge successes worldwide, breaking numerous sales records and shipping well over 10 million units collectively. These games have also bolstered sales of the 3DS, as well as the 2DS, not to mention inclusion of special bundles for those looking to break into the handheld gaming world. With the recent release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds selling quickly, I think Nintendo can deal with the fledgling sales numbers associated with the Wii U for a while longer.
Best Moment in PC Gaming in 2013: Valve steps into the hardware arena
With the availability of cheap games via bundles, great online game distribution outlets, and the exciting possibilities afforded by the Oculus Rift, it’s a great time to be a PC gamer. I am not trying to pull the “Master PC Race” card, but merely pointing out that my Steam library is full of games that I bought at a discount and can run beautifully with as many mods as I wish to include on them. Sounds snarky still? Let’s just call it a selling point, albeit an expensive initial investment.
With Valve’s announcement of the Steam Box, it only made sense for them to release a PC/console hybrid with the way gaming movements are trending nowadays. Some people want to ability to keyboard and mouse on their big screen, or use a controller when playing a PC game. The Steam Box can potentially appeal to an incredibly wide audience of gamers, but whether diehard console gamers will bite is yet to be seen.
And their reasons for entering the hardware realm and developing their own OS are all merited. PC gaming is relatively stagnant as far as innovation, with exception to the Oculus Rift, and the PC soup definitely needs some more spice. It’s great to see a developer investing in the hardware, which can then release on the system with minimal hurdles due to the familiarity of the OS and the machine. No more running games in compatibility mode or worrying about how Microsoft will screw up the next release of Windows. That was an exciting week when Steam slowly revealed the SteamOS, the Steam Box, and that funky looking controller.
Best Moment in Online Gaming Entertainment in 2013: The Final Bosman
The Final Bosman (image courtesy of GameTrailers.com)
This honor goes to an old friend of mine, Kyle Bosman. Kyle puts on a great weekly show over at GameTrailers called The Final Bosman, where he talks/philosophizes about video games in an incredibly thought provoking manner, and is willing to talk about games that don’t always hit the mainstream pulse of most gaming sites. And he is a pretty funny guy, so be prepared to hide those smirks at your work desk. Go check out his show!
That’s it folks. What do you think were the Best Moments in Gaming in 2013? Anything we were missing? Sound off in the comments section!