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The 23 biggest video games news stories of 2014

    Game Review
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    Assassin's Creed Unity - helping to make 2014 the year of the broken gameAssassin’s Creed Unity – helping to make 2014 the year of the broken game

    GameCentral looks back at a tumultuous year for video gaming, from billion dollar corporate buyouts to a litany of broken games…

    It may not have been a great year but 2014 was certainly an eventful one. We’ll provide our own commentary on the year’s wider trends in our forthcoming review of the year, but for now these are the raw news stories that made the biggest waves – and will have the most lasting impact on the year to come.

    1. PlayStation Now brings streaming PS3 games to PS4, Vita, and more
    Irrelevant to the UK for now, but the announcement that Sony is planning to stream games to not just their consoles but also mobile devices and TVs could have a huge impact on how we play games. It was later revealed that the UK will be getting the first beta trial in Europe, starting in 2015.

    2. A quarter of YouTubers admit to being paid by publishers
    Probably not as big a story as it should’ve been, which is ironic given the furore GamerGate caused over literally nothing. But after Microsoft was revealed to be secretly paying YouTubers for coverage, it quickly became apparent that EA and most other publishers were doing the same thing.

    3. Microsoft buys rights to Gears Of Wars franchise
    Most people probably assumed Gears Of War already did belong to Microsoft, but until this year it didn’t and there had been rumours of a PlayStation version. Microsoft must have heard them too as it snapped up the franchise and put new team Black Tusk Studios to work on a reboot.

    4. Flappy Bird is ‘gone forever’ because it’s too addictive says creator
    ‘Good riddance’ was probably the thought going through most gamers minds when the creator of the smartphone sensation withdrew it from the App Store. There were rumours of it returning but so far it’s only done so as Flappy Birds Family for the Amazon Fire TV platform (more on that later).

    Has the 'candy' saga really ended?Has the ‘candy’ saga really ended?

    5. Candy Crush Saga makers to sue game they copied
    The most depressingly inane legal story of the year involved Candy Crush Saga maker King not only trying to sue the person they originally copied when making the game, but also trying to stop anyone from making a game with the words ‘Candy’ or ‘Saga’ in it. Thankfully they eventually relented.

    6. Nintendo posts annual loss, predicts only 3.6 million Wii U sales this year
    It’s been a long strange year for Nintendo, starting with such terrible financial news that for the first time it looked like they might actually be in serious trouble. But the success of Mario Kart 8 bought them time and by the end of the year analysts were predicting they’d actually make a yearly profit.

    7. EU to ban free-to-play unless games are actually free
    One of the positive trends of 2014 is that some publishers did seem to pull back slightly from their use of microtransactions, although it took releases such as the despicable Dungeon Keeper to make EA think twice. While the EU’s crackdown on the lie of ‘free-to-play’ seems to have done the rest.

    8. Sony unveils Project Morpheus VR headset for PS4
    Virtual reality was in the news a lot in 2014, although it’s still not clear when it’s going to make the break from tech demo to actual product. Sony were sensibly cautious about how much they showed of their headset, and so far Microsoft’s interest has been limited to just rumours and leaked patents.

    Oculus Rift - the future of everything?Oculus Rift – the future of everything?

    9. Facebook buys Oculus Rift VR company for $2 billion
    The biggest VR news of the year was Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, something that didn’t go down well with backers of the original Kickstarter campaign. So far though the buyout hasn’t made much difference, but we did have this interesting chat with the founders at Gamescom in August.

    10. Nintendo announces Skylanders rival toys for multiple games
    One of the ways Nintendo escaped financial oblivion was with the amiibo range of NFC figurines. They were an immediate hit and that of course led to immediate controversy, as rare production errors went for thousands on eBay and Nintendo seemed to admit to discontinuing some toys.

    11. EA Access is £3.99 a month subscription service – not ‘good value’ says Sony
    It’s been obvious since the unveiling of the Xbox One that EA was firmly in Microsoft’s corner, but their relationship with Sony took a strange turn when their EA Access subscription service was banned from PSN. Sony still hasn’t explained why, despite Xbox owners considering it good value.

    12. Rise Of The Tomb Raider exclusive to Xbox One
    Although it was already becoming obvious that the era of the third party exclusive was far from over Microsoft made the point very clear when they announced the sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot as a timed exclusive. Sony followed a few months later with Street Fighter V as a lifetime exclusive.

    Rise Of The Tomb Raider -  only on Xbox, at least in 2015Rise Of The Tomb Raider – only on Xbox, at least in 2015

    13. Amazon buys Twitch for $970 million
    Video games were clearly something Amazon were very interested in in 2014, but after buying developer Double Helix the unveiling of the Amazon Fire TV was rather underwhelming. Their purchase of Twitch though is likely to give them far more influence on the industry.

    14. New more powerful 3DS due next year
    This was the closest the year got to a new console announcement, with Nintendo revealing the New 3DS and New 3DS XL – the most significant upgrade the handheld has seen so far. It’s already out in Japan and Australia, but still doesn’t have a European release date beyond sometime in 2015.

    15. Anita Sarkeesian cancels talk after school shooting massacre threat
    The GamerGate phenomenon will remain one of 2014’s key legacies but its absurd origins and the spiteful vitriol of supporters still defies explanation. Whether there was ever a serious point being made quickly got lost admits a sea of death threats, most of them directed at women.

    16. Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5 billion
    The biggest acquisition of the year wasn’t Facebook buying Oculus VR but Microsoft buying Minecraft maker Mojang. Minecraft itself officially became the second best-selling game of all-time but so far the sale hasn’t affected anything, excepting giving Notch a nice new Beverley Hills home.

    Driveclub - a trendsetter, but not in the good wayDriveclub – a trendsetter, but not in the good way

    17. Assassin’s Creed Unity is forced 900p/30fps on Xbox One and PS4 to ‘avoid debates’
    Ubisoft got themselves embroiled in an absurd number of controversies this year, starting with the downgraded visuals of Watch Dogs and ending with some bizarre comments about Assassin’s Creed Unity’s performance, that in the end Microsoft had to deny responsibility for.

    18. Driveclub servers shut out new players, still no free version
    Now that the year is over the one key trends is that most of the biggest name games didn’t actually work at launch. Driveclub was one of the worst affected, with the online down for weeks on end and still no sign of the promised free PS Plus Edition. Something Sony admitted to being embarrassed by.

    19. Assassin’s Creed Unity DLC becomes free compensation for bugs
    So prevalent did the problems with broken games become that compensating players with free content also became a trend. Sony started things off by offering free DLC for Driveclub, then Assassin’s Creed Unity scrapped its plans for its seasons pass, before Microsoft… well, see below…

    20. Halo 3: ODST will be free compensation for Halo: The Master Chief Collection launch problems
    Microsoft has seemed genuinely upset at the matchmaking problems with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, apologising early and profusely and then making the surprisingly generous offer of giving away Halo 3: ODST for free. Although at time of press the game still doesn’t work properly…

    Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 - the real battle has only just beganXbox One vs. PlayStation 4 – the real battle has only just began

    21. Xbox One sales overtake PS4 in November
    For the longest time it looked like the Xbox One was going to remain in the PlayStation 4’s shadow all year, with worldwide sales sitting at 10 million to 5 million by August. Price cuts and removing Kinect only helped so much but in November Microsoft had their breakthrough, at least in the UK and US.

    22. GTA V officially the UK’s best-selling game ever
    Not the most surprising news of the year, but with the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version Grand Theft Auto V officially became the UK’s best-selling game ever. Although Chart-Track revealed that the biggest selling individual format game remains Mario Kart Wii.

    23. Mass murder sim Hatred banned from Steam
    The banning and un-banning of the Postal-esque murder simulator Hatred created the sort of publicity most developers can only dream of. There’s still nothing to suggest the game’s worth all the fuss surrounding it, but it’s release next year is bound to reopen the video game violence debate.

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    By: davidjenkins2012
    Posted: December 27, 2014, 1:00 am


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