Features// SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: October

Posted 2 Jan 2014 13:00 by
By October we were well and truly staring down the barrel of the next generation of consoles. We were staring so far down it that we were into the territory of pricing scandals.

UK retailer SimplyGames attracted ire when it decided to upgrade its PS4 pre-orders to bundles containing various bits of kit that hadn't been part of the original deal. To match the added goods there was a bigger price tag and a vague implication that this was just how bundling worked and that Sony somehow had a role to play. Such was the backlash that Sony decided it had to step in.

SimplyGames seemed fairly unperturbed by Sony's position, and SimplyGames CEO Neil Muspratt cheerfully said that most customers were pleased to be paying more and ?our offer was manifested by how the distributor has allocated their stock to us, so we're not changing tack.? The Office of Fair Trading got wind of the move and characterised it as ?illegal?, saying ?This is one of those occasions when swift injunctive action is needed to prevent consumers being ripped off." Awkward.

E3 2013
E3 2013
The PlayStation 4 launch hit another bump in the road when it emerged that Evolution's Driveclub wouldn't be out alongside the console. Or inside 2013, for that matter. It was the usual story ? more time needed on development. Not great news for a console that, like the Xbox One, was already a bit thin on launch day exclusives.

While most of the gaming community was gearing up for a new era of gaming with the next-gen launches, another era quietly came to a close. With little fanfare, a page on Nintendo's website quietly told the world that ?manufacturing has ended? on the Wii. Many of the world's Wiis may have long since been consigned to the loft, but like it or not the little system that could played a key role in shaping today's games industry.

Which brings us nicely round, once again, to the subject of Nintendo's current position in the games market. The reason, apparently, that Nintendo is off in its own corner doing things with the Wii U that no-one seems that interested in, is that it isn't good at competing. At an event in Japan Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that, "If you do the same thing as others, it will wear you out. Nintendo is not good at competing so we always have to challenge [the status quo] by making something new, rather than competing in an existing market."

Amid all the bluster about next-gen, however, one voice rang out with a resounding 'meh'. Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, currently director of The Evil Within, said in an interview that, ?We only need one console. Why do I have to make two versions of a game? And when Xbox One was first announced it had lower specs than PS4, but now they?re almost identical. So either will do.?

UK games retail had another dark month. Blockbuster, which had already been saved from bankruptcy earlier in the year, went into administration. Its 264 stores would remain open while a backer was sought, but things weren't looking good. The reason, apparently, was ?poor trading? in the UK.

While all that was going on, a whole sh!t storm erupted around GTA V. More specifically, GTA Online. First GTA Online launched, then GTA Online started going wrong. This list of issues was long, with chief offenders including unavailable servers and disappearing characters.

Microtransactions were suspended, a patch was rushed out. Rockstar offered some in-game dollars as compensation, but that may have come as small comfort to players who had lost their character forever through the glitches. Then the payments were delayed. Then... Then it was the end of the month.

But, do you know what? For all its faults GTA Online is really good. David Turner counts the ways here, while Daniel Ness wrote on the aftermath of GTA V's release.

And, since we're discussing Grand Theft Auto at some length, an honorable mention goes to the 3D remake of the very first GTA and this fascinating insight into what was going on at Rockstar through the development of GTA IV.

But we'll end October on a wee PR blunder. A debug build of Beyond: Two Souls allowed users to see its star, Ellen Page, naked in the shower. A few images appeared. No-one noticed. Sony demanded they be taken down. Everyone noticed. Oops...

Big Name Releases Due this Month
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Ubisoft
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate - Warner Brothers
Call of Duty: Strike Team - Activision
Donkey Kong Country Returns - Nintendo
F1 2013 - Codemasters
Football Manager 2014 - SEGA
Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker - Nintendo
Mario Kart Wii - Nintendo
Pokémon X - Nintendo
Pokémon Y - Nintendo
Skylanders Swap Force - Activision
Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Nintendo

Read the Rest of Our Video Games Year in Review 2013
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: January
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: February
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: March
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: April
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: May
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: June
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: July
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: August
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: September
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: October
SPOnG's Videogames Review of 2013: November

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