Answer Me This: Why Was 2013 a Terrible Year for Videogames? Part One

2013 was a terrible year for videogames.

Pictured: terrible.
Pictured: terrible.

Don’t get me wrong: every year has its ups and downs videogame-wise, but 2013 was the first year where I felt truly alienated and repelled by the current state of the industry. Throughout the year, I struggled to find games that held my interest, ones that challenged convention and tried to break boundaries. That’s why the majority of my game time is now spent playing Magic the Gathering with friends in real life as opposed to playing videogames online. I can’t remember the last time I was excited about a release or actively wanted to visit my local game shop.

So what happened?

Call of Duty Ghosts

The constant rehashes of the same content throughout the year was a prevalent problem, with Call of Duty: Ghosts being one of the main offenders. We’re all used to a yearly CoD these days, but we’d expect something at least a little different from the previous incarnation. Treyarch commendably attempted and succeeded at this with the Black Ops franchise, whereas Infinity Ward – or at least the shattered shell of what it once used to be – went straight back to the already-mediocre formula of Modern Warfare 3 for its lukewarmly received Ghosts. It’s not a bad game as such, but it signals the downturn of the once-great CoD formula and the downfall of the modern shooter genre in general, as shown by the demise of EA’s Medal of Honor franchise.

I cancelled my pre-order for Ghosts the day before its release and I don’t regret it. Remember when Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2 were genuinely original and something to look forward to? It seems so long ago now.

True innovation.
True innovation.

 The feeling that the launch of next-gen consoles is little more than a cash-grab is also inescapable. Whereas the jump from PSOne to PS2 was huge and the possibilities that the seventh-generation of consoles offered was revolutionary, the launch of both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 near simultaneously seems ill-placed, especially when the current generation of consoles are doing just fine. Whereas previous consoles were launched to continue the legacy of their predecessors, it feels like the new ones have been launched just to get more money out of consumers. We’ve come a long way from the days of playing Wild Wild Racing on your brand new PS2 on Christmas Day.

Greatest launch game ever?
Greatest launch title ever?

And what’s the point of a new generation anyway when it doesn’t do anything particularly different to the old one? Some games can only run at 720p only, the hardware is rammed to the wazoo with DRM measures and so-called ‘launch’ titles are available on multiple consoles, including 360 and PS3. Such titles used to make or break a console, now they’re just an excuse to sell the next instalment of a stale franchise as many times as possible.

Gee, golly whiz, what fantastic reasons for trading in my current platforms which already do the exact same things! People were genuinely stunned when I said I wasn’t interested in getting either an Xbox One or PS4, at least not until some decent exclusives arrive, the price drops and they prove to me that they’re worth investing in – if that time ever comes, that is.

Wii U

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve made a discernable lack of reference to the Wii U. Well, no wonder: a combination of launching with little-to-no fanfare, a paltry number of launch titles and little of note other than the usual Nintendo powerhouses and a poor marketing campaign led to few people actually being aware of its capabilities and even its existence, which has since led to Nintendo slashing its forecast of sales by 70% and an overnight crash in its stock value by 18%. It goes to show how anti-consumer and out of touch with their customers games companies can be these days, made further evident by the fact that any games you’ve downloaded on Nintendo’s Virtual Console system are irretrievable should your console be rendered unuseable and that titles like Animal Crossing: New Leaf are the same goddamn games I played nearly a decade ago.

In Part 2, Michael talks DLC and the upcoming year.


6 responses to “Answer Me This: Why Was 2013 a Terrible Year for Videogames? Part One”

  1. Mike Zero avatar
    Mike Zero

    Bioshock Infinite? The Last of Us? Shin Megami Tensei IV? Fire Emblem Awakening? Tearaway? GTAV? And I could obviously keep going. Oh, wait…you think this year sucked because you are a fan of a weak and played out franchise that has been awful for YEARS. This wasn’t a terrible year, you just have terrible taste apparently.

  2. Jonathan L. Fournier avatar
    Jonathan L. Fournier

    Unfortunately, you are genuinely misinformed. Thinking that 2013 was a bad year is ridiculous. Many games were very exciting and surprising. Thinking that ps4 and Xbox one was too early shows me, from my perspective, a lack of information or in general lack of interest in the industry. Also, this makes me question your credibility in all of this. Thinking the gaming industry if failing just reinforces this opinion. In conclusion, if this article gets read by more of a mainstream audience and was took literary, this would be more damagable to the industry then anything else. I would like however to congratulating you on making me give my opinion on this because I never do. Hopefully for you, 2014 will be a better year. May I suggest Thief, Watch Dog to name few to get reacquainted with games this year?

    1. Mike Zero avatar
      Mike Zero

      Credibility? This guy had a Game Gear. GAME GEAR. That’s all the credibility you need to publicly make broad generalizations about the industry as a whole.

  3. RockkinAce avatar

    I do frequently regret purchasing(I unfortunately traded in old console) a next gen console at launch for several reasons.
    Most premium headsets still need a patch to work! Any decent game is just a shinier last gen title, and some are still broken on all platforms (BF4). I can’t play Cd’s on PS4?!!! I feel any real next gen game that will actually play proper from day one is a long wait away. The recent and near launches coming on current gen are far more exciting, and look impressve maxing out on our old consoles. That being said I am ready to move on but should have waited until my new console actually had more to offer than the one broken game I rushed to buy it for.

    As far as 2013 for games, yes some rehashed titles, but overall the number of amazing releases to choose from brought me back to old Super Nintendo days, when you could dig through a pile of games and always pull out a winner. Opinions on games will always differ but this year was packed, Bioshock , Borderlands 2 DLC, Ni No Kuni, Tomb Raider, GTAV(close to a let down but awesome), The Last of Us, and so many titlesI didn’t get to can be added to the list.
    This article is ridiculous when it comes to hating on 2013’s games but bitterness toward the next gen is understandable. For another month or two.

    P.S. I do love my new console it just that it makes me so angry at times, I know our relationship will flourish as our time together grows. As long as she gets patched up and open to new games.

  4. Saddenedbylackoffaith avatar

    Try getting your head out of first person shooters and try something that is original. Tearaway, Puppeteer, Terraria, Resogun… Just wake up and look around.

  5. Luiz Oliveira avatar
    Luiz Oliveira

    Well, maybe the new gen still too young, but really? This was a very great year for my pc and my 3ds (400 hours with monster hunter, without count Pokémon, Shin Meggami, Fire Emblem…). Even the 360 and ps3 received great games. And the indies? 2013 was almost the year of indies. But well, if are just one of thats who think that the only true games means COD… your year was the same as the others, but even Mario got the game to be played on Christmas. Batman had a nice year too. Even from Roma we got a great year (what a game!), but COD, EA… they will always be the same, so it’s time to you grow up and try to work hard if you want to be the media who talks about games.

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