But first, let’s get some bad news out of the way — Sony just this week announced a patent on technology that will allow consoles to recognize and block previously owned games. This is a bad idea. It hurts retailers who sell used games, such as Game Stop, it hurts gamers on a budget and promotes the idea that you don’t buy games or software — you just pay to use them. In fact, the only people besides Sony who it will help are big developers. Considering that many of the best titles out are from indie developers, any efforts to help enshrine the major developers’ $60 price point — on what are frequently uninteresting games — is an insult to smart gamers everywhere. It remains to be seen whether Sony is truly foolish to make use of such technology but if they do, expect a big backlash.
Now, on to the good news: Gamers who have been eyeing the first of the latest generation of console platforms — the Wii U — will have some additional options later this year for next-gen gaming. Microsoft is expected to launch the Xbox 720 at some point this year and rumor is the PlayStation 4 won’t be far behind. What I’m even more excited about is the announcement from game developer Valve of a console designed to work with their digital download store Steam.
All this got you salivating for the next era in gaming? Well, too bad. The console revolution won’t likely begin until the holiday season. You’ll have to wait a bit (think of 2013 as a level grind) but in the meantime, here’s a quick rundown on some great games to look for in 2013.
“Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance” — The latest installment of the legendary Metal Gear series — collectively the winner of about 87 bazillion awards — will once again immerse players in lead developer Hideo Kojima’s bizarrely funky world of walking nuclear missile silos and Cold War intrigue. I can’t wait.
“The Last of Us” — Naughty Dog’s highly anticipated action/survival title has been announced for release in early May after a long gestation and I couldn’t be happier. The demo took last year’s E3 expo by storm. The masterful storytellers behind the “Uncharted” series have a strong focus on plot and character development, and this tale of a father/daughter relationship in a post-apocalyptic dystopia should be no exception.
There’s a whole host of other games to get excited about this year, including a new Castlevania title (a follow-up to the excellent “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow”), a new “Gears of War” game and a “God of War” prequel.
Other critics have called 2012 a mediocre year in gaming — some great games came out, but nothing revolutionary and even those were arguably overshadowed by some disappointments like “Diablo 3” and Bioware’s “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” Personally, I think it’s the year the subscription based-MMO died, but that’s a topic for another day.
But 2013? It looks great so far.