I remember around February of this year, I read an article that stated 2013 would be a boring year for gaming. At the time of reading, I thought to myself how stupid that was, seeing as how Bioshock: Infinite, God of War: Ascension, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Gears of War: Judgement, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V and more were all due out this year! I personally thought it had the potential to be one of the greatest gaming years ever, and that was all before Sony sent out their invitation that started the next generation of consoles!
With a line-up as strong as that, not even mentioning surprise hits like Guacamelee, Gone Home and Ni No Kuni, 2013 has been easily one of the strongest years for gaming ever. It’s for this reason that I never understand it when people claim gaming is terrible now, or better during the Nintendo/Sega era; opinions like that stem from pure nostalgia.
Now, that isn’t to say those were bad consoles or they produced bad games, but with the sheer diversity of titles on the market today – be they massive action blockbusters like GTA V, story-driven epics like The Last of Us or downloadable 2D side-scrollers like Guacamelee – there is something for everyone.
In 2013, we got epic experiences and memorable mini-games that will stick with us for years. The Last of Us has a Metacritic rating of 95, Bioshock Infinite 94, Tomb Raider 87, Splinter Cell: Blacklist 84, Guacamelee 88, Gone Home 89 and Grand Theft Auto V 97. That’s one hell of an incredible list of ratings, the lowest score being 84, which works out at an average of 90.
I don’t even have to explain how incredible that is. With scores like that, it is clear that 2013 has been one of the greatest years for games to date. I say to date because Beyond: Two Souls, Battlefield 4, Gran Turismo 6, Titanfall, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Watch Dogs, Dead Rising 3, Knack, Killzone: Shadowfall, Drive Club and Batman: Arkham Origins, are all yet to come.
With the great games we’ve already gotten our hands on, those yet to be released and the two new behemoth consoles on the way, I honestly can’t think of a more exciting time to be a gamer! Ever! Never before have new consoles had such strong build-ups and launch line-ups; the PS3 had Motorstorm and Resistance, the latter which was a fantastic game but a brand new IP that failed to sell systems.
Having a new Killzone as a launch title is a huge selling point for the PS4, and adding family-friendly Knack and Drive Club to the exclusives, as well as the great third-party titles and Destiny, the PS4 has an insane line-up. Xbox One also has a great line-up with Titanfall, Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome and Forza Motorsport 5, which they didn’t have with the 360.
The strength of the new consoles has been solidified through pre-order figures; Sony has sold over a million PS4s already, and Gamestop say over 1.5 Million people are on their first-to-know list for the next PS4 shipment. To top this all off, Sony estimate that they will sell over 5 million units by March 2014.
Now, we haven’t gotten any pre-order numbers from Microsoft, most likely because it doesn’t rival PS4, but we can assume it’s still a big number. Even though the Wii U has been a commercial failure to date, stronger times seem on the horizon, with games like Super Mario, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart and a new Zelda. If the excitement for these titles, however, will be enough to save Wii U remains to be seen.
The market’s slowest selling systems, the Wii U and the PS Vita, have both recently received price drops, which will hopefully give them both a much-needed boost. Much like the Wii U, 2013 and 2014 will be a tell-tale time-period for the PS Vita.
Now that the system has received a price drop, a new model, many new games, Vita TV and the system’s functionality as a peripheral screen for PS4 (allowing remote play), it is clear that Sony are putting all of their eggs in the basket for the Vita and trying to make it a must-have system. The Vita is already an incredible system with many great games, but add in even more titles, Vita TV, PS4 and a price-drop and the system truly is a must-have.
As has been the case for the past few years, Playstation has been the stronger system, largely due to exclusive titles like the Last of Us, Sly Raccoon, God of War and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6. On top of this, Sony also has their incredibly successful PS4 reveal and launch build-up, which really solidified their position as the hardcore gamer’s system-of-choice.
Xbox had a much more turbulent year, obviously due to the confusion and anger surrounding their policies over the Xbox One. After the DRM, always-online, always-on camera, lack of games (in the beginning) and the big price-point, fans became very jaded with the company. After all the negativity squared at the company, they have done a 180 and changed all their policies, making the difference between Xbox One and PS4 minimal.
So, 2013 was not Microsoft’s finest year, but they have pulled a lot of momentum back, and with a very strong launch line-up, things can only go up from here. The PS4 will undoubtedly have a stronger launch, and probably a better year, but that will only have a small reflection on the long-term outcome for the eight generation, as seen with the PS3 and 360.
Game-wise 2013 has been amazing so far. Competition-wise 2013 saw the biggest shots fired between Microsoft and Sony to date. Commercially 2013 was also great for companies; sure, new entries into the God of War and Gears of War franchises both undersold, but The Last of Us greatly exceeded expectations, and GTA V has become the fastest selling entertainment product of all time, making over $1 billion in 3 days. 2013 has provided us with more to talk about than any other year before, be it the games, the new consoles, the controversies or the reignited fanboy wars.
With some of the greatest games ever and more to come, new consoles due to be released, fierce competition between companies and price-drops for struggling systems, I really find it hard to imagine how 2013 could be any more exciting.
2013 truly is gaming’s finest year to date.
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This article was first posted on September 25, 2013