Features// SPOnG's Review of the Year 2011: March

Posted 28 Dec 2011 09:30 by
Maaaarch! The puddles were thawing, green stuff was just about appearing, the birds were a'flutter...

The birds were a little bit angry, actually. Back in February, Nintendo America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime had uttered, “I actually think that one of the biggest risks today in our industry are these inexpensive games that are candidly disposable from a consumer standpoint. Angry Birds is a great piece of experience but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think actually create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be two dollars.”

Rovio wasn't happy. We had Rovio executive Peter Vesterbacka coming back with, "We don’t regard Angry Birds as disposable content. That’s why every few weeks we update the game. More levels, more content. Though games publishers and studios say that social media is a really important element to its business, at Rovio we really mean it.” (Rovio Hits Back at Nintendo: Angry Birds "Not Disposable", March 1st). It sounds a bit like tittle tattle, but this is stuff that runs deep in the games industry's consciousness...

On the opposite end of the technology spectrum, though, was Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie telling the world about photo-realistic avatars that his company is developing. There was barely a whisper of games in there, but it's pretty compelling stuff nonetheless. ("Real People" Avatars in Dev for Xbox 360, March 2nd.)

Speaking of the future, no month of the year would be complete without some sort of rumbling about the next generation of home console hardware, would it? Microsoft, it seemed, was hiring, and hiring in a way that suggested console development. (Microsoft Readying Next Gen Xbox '720', March 8th).

PachterWatch! Ever-present analyst for Wedbush Morgan, Michael Pachter, claimed that the “Xbox 360 Kinect console bundles again outsold PS3 Move console bundles by over 5:1”. He further noted that “the top selling Kinect software titles easily outsold their Move counterparts." (Xbox Kinect Outselling PS3 Move by 5-to-1, March 14th).

Maybe you started the month of March wondering just who is the boss of the interactive storytelling (or whatever the bloody hell you want to call it) genre. By the end of March, you should have been in no doubt. Svend ran into head of Quantic Dream Mr David Cage at the games BAFTAs, where Mr David Cage told him: "We want to build on what we have discovered with Heavy Rain. We created the genre. We own the genre, and we want to show that Heavy Rain was not a coincidence or a lucky shot - that it was really something that makes sense and that we can build on.” Wow. (David Cage: We Own The Interactive Story-Telling Genre, March 17th).

The 3DS launch rocked hard (clearly)
The 3DS launch rocked hard (clearly)
Putting all that hubris aside for a second, what would you describe as “the most exciting product launch I have seen"? You got nothing? Alright, try this one: what would you describe as “the most exciting product launch I have seen" if you were Nintendo top-bod David Yarnton and it was the month of March? Why, the launch of the 3DS, of course! (Nintendo Boss: 3DS Most Exciting Launch Ever, March 25th). Svend was our man on the ground and found hundreds of gamers manning up through the cold to get their hands on the glasses-free 3D handheld. (Hundreds Queue for Nintendo 3DS Launch, March 25th).

For SPOnG's part, we'd unboxed our 3DS earlier in the month and my first impressions can be found here, while the first reviews out of the door were Super Monkey Ball 3D courtesy of David Turner and Asphalt 3D courtesy (again) of me.
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