We come to the end of another year in the video game industry, and what a year it was, as publishers struggled to figure out the new consoles, and the people making consoles struggled to have games on the shelves to play at all. So let’s sit down, crack open some healing potions, and open up some old wounds!
Consoles Sold To Everybody, Except Gamers
It was a banner year for both the Xbox One and the PS4, which each sold over ten million units of their consoles within a year of release, the first time this has ever happened for any home console, let alone two. Needless to say, this is due to careful marketing, clever planning and, oh, wait, no, Shuhei Yoshida, the guy basically in charge of Sony’s video games, states they have no idea who’s actually buying these things. But we know it’s not gamers! Why?
Nobody Bought Anything
Gamers are generally defined as “people who buy video games.” But this year they were mostly too busy screaming at each other on the Internet, apparently. The NPD numbers for America were consistently terrible; out of the last eleven months we have numbers for, software sales sunk by double digits for eight, and only perked up when games with months of hype came out and all those preorders went through. Maybe that was because…
Everything Got Delayed
Video games getting delays are nothing new, but this year, pretty much everything got delayed. Batman: Arkham Knight, Evolve, The Division, Battlefield: Hardline, The Order: 1886, The Witcher 3, Dying Light, The Elder Scrolls Online (well, for consoles) and those are just the games you care about. The net result was most of the year was a whistling desert. And speaking of delays…
Everything Else Probably Should Have Been Delayed
Man, so many games shipped essentially broken this year that it’s hard to pick one example. Fortunately, amid the third-party messes, the console manufacturers rose above. After all, if anybody should know how to build an online multiplayer experience, it’s Sony and Microsoft, who not only have built online multiplayer games, but also built the consoles those games run on and the networks they’re played over. So of course, they both deliver, within a month of each other, games that are so outrageously broken you’d think the Superman 64 team was still in business.
Driveclub and Halo: Combat Recycled-ah, heh, Halo: The Master Chief Collection are both almost comedic in how terrible they are. They barely work; both have been buried under patches that, if you’re really lucky, restore minor functionality while not breaking anything else; and both have probably driven their respective PR departments to quit and take up a more rewarding career, like Shovel Boy Second Class at a cut-rate dairy farm.
About the only consolation they can take is that at least they’re not Ubisoft.
Assassin’s Creed Unity. Just… Assassin’s Creed Unity
To give you an idea of just how poorly the Assassins translated to next-gen consoles, here’s a glitch in the game where it randomly generates NPCs to mock its own cutscenes:
That’s not a bug. That’s a video game begging you to give it the sweet release of death. It lies, broken, in your disc tray, barely able to draw the breath to beg you to end the hell that is its existence.
And it’s too bad the game shipped with more bugs than a cricket ranch, because innovations like microtransactions to open certain types of chests and having to play some stupid mobile game to open still other types of chests were surely innovations the gaming public would have appreciated. While we’re on the topic of the Ubster…
Everybody Hates Watch Dogs, Everybody Buys It Anyway
With Watch Dogs, Ubisoft promised something new and exciting. Instead, they basically gave us Grand Theft Auto with a few environmental tricks, which was actually pretty fun but not exactly a new sensation. As punishment for lying to us, we bought nine million copies. THAT’LL SHOW ‘EM!
Everybody Loves Titanfall, Nobody Buys It
If you want proof Titanfall is a good game, I absolutely hate everything about multiplayer shooters and I have to begrudgingly admit Titanfall is a pretty damn good game. Microsoft sure thought so, since they paid for the exclusive rights and were really counting on it turning around the Xbox One’s fortunes last March. That did not work out how they hoped.
Paul McCartney Puts Even Less Effort Into Destiny Than Bungie Did
Playing Destiny, you might think: “How did Activision spend half a billion dollars on that game? It sure wasn’t on levels or story! Where the hell did all that money go?”
Hope it was worth it, Kotick.
What? Nintendo? Oh, Right, Those Guys.
Sure, they may have managed to salvage the Wii U with a one-two punch of Mario Kart and Smash. On the other hand, they also put out this:
So, yeah. Not their best year. Here’s to a better 2015, and we’ll actually have a positive recap early in the New Year.