While 2022 has been a great year for video games, that doesn’t mean it’s been a great year for the game industry. In fact, between a few buggy releases, some poorly timed delays, a whole lot of layoffs, some truly bad ideas and questionable decisions, it left a bit to be desired. But what’s the worst of the worst when it comes to what took place? Join us as we take a look back at the year and see what unfolded – and what could be coming in 2023 if we aren’t too careful…
The Drama Surrounding Microsoft’s Pick-Up of Activision Blizzard Is Outshining the Benefits
When the year began, no one expected Microsoft to come swinging out of the gate so quickly. But that’s exactly what it did when it announced it would purchase Activision Blizzard for $66 billion, adding to its growing arsenal of studios. While that had some people buzzing over a lot of potential for what’s to come (or what’s to go – in this case, Bobby Kotick), Sony was less than pleased.
In fact, Sony decided to sound off on the deal, arguing with regulators that the publisher of Call of Duty would be in the worst hands possible with Microsoft. As a result, a lot of back-and-forth has been going on, to the point that the FTC has even gotten involved with its own lawsuit. Where will it end up? It’s too soon to say, but there’s a small chance that Microsoft may not be able to attain Microsoft Blizzard after all – and that means Kotick sticking around. Yikes.
The Metaverse? More Like the Microverse
A while ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was betting big on the metaverse, investing a reported $100 billion to create a virtual space for people to have fun in. And while his Meta company knows how to make a pretty mean (and expensive) headset for the market, that doesn’t necessarily mean the virtual space was a success.
Instead, quite the opposite. The last time we checked, it only had a few hundred users. A. Few. Hundred. A virtual space that cost so much yet generated so little when it came to expectations. And things could get worse in 2023, to the point that it could leave a dent in the Facebook business itself.
Is there room for a metaverse model to succeed? Perhaps. But Facebook dreamed too big, and, as a result, that dream shattered more than expected.
Wait, This Is Overwatch 2?!
For a while there, it almost seemed like we’d be waiting an eternity for Overwatch 2 to arrive, especially with crucial members leaving the development team. But, alas, Activision Blizzard made it happen anyway; and in October, it arrived to much fanfare.
That said, it wasn’t quite perfect. The PVE content that was promised ended up being, well, missing; there were several bugs within the game that players couldn’t help but report on; the add-on Battle Pass was a bit on the ridiculous side; and some champions became unavailable to select while patching took place.
Probably the worst thing, however, was the shutdown of the original Overwatch. Why the two simply couldn’t co-exist is beyond us, but, hey, that’s life sometimes. Hopefully, 2023 will be a better year for the Overwatch gang.
G4 Stopped Playing
Comcast thought it was onto something relaunching G4TV, the long-lost gaming network that died down years ago. And for a minute there, it almost looked like it was going to succeed. That is, until it forgot its community.
Following a rant by Indiana “Frosk” Black where she lambasted the community for being sexist (even though a majority of them weren’t), corporate decisions that basically went nowhere fast, poor treatment of community members, and Adam Sessler being the grumpiest old man on the planet (like going off on Twitter about moms), G4 was dead before it could enjoy its
Comcast shut the network down just one year after its launch – and didn’t even properly notify its employees of its closure, instead publishing the email on Deadline’s web page. Alas, G4 just couldn’t survive in this world, even with big-time talent and a multi-million dollar studio. But hopefully it’ll serve as a lesson in how not to run a nostalgia-based game community.
Whoops, Fortnite Went After Your Kids
For a while there, Fortnite looked absolutely unstoppable, raking in billions of dollars for Epic Games and introducing more seasonal events and guest characters than you could shake a stick at. But then along came the FTC, who reported some serious violations to the game.
Not only did it seem to take advantage of younger players and stick them in chat rooms with older strangers (leading to a slew of harassment claims), but it almost made it nearly impossible to report fraudulent purchases, sometimes even leading to an account suspension. Because of this, the FTC hit Epic hard with a $520 million fine.
The company hasn’t responded yet, but there’s word it’s already making changes to improve the system, particularly with younger players. We’re sure it’ll be fine once the new year rolls around, but, um, maybe get a new game for your kids to play, yeah?
Square Enix: Everything Must Go!
A year ago, it almost looked like Square Enix was set to make a huge dent in the U.S. gaming market, just as they did overseas. Now, however? Not so much.
Following what they felt was a colossal failure with Marvel’s Avengers, Square Enix sold off Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider, and a slew of other properties, along with Eidos Montreal, to Embracer Studios for around $300 million. That’s bargain basement pricing, but the studios are at least in good hands now, with promises of a new Tomb Raider coming about, as well as a potential return for Legacy of Kain.
But Square wasn’t finished. It immediately shut down Babylon’s Fall, its big-budget action game with Platinum Games, after deeming it a failure in sales. That means anyone who paid top-dollar price was pretty much left with nothing.
Don’t weep too hard for Square. They’ve got Final Fantasy XVI coming next year, along with other revival projects. But its U.S. development teams? Er, what U.S. development teams?
Saints Row Becomes Ain’t Row
Finally, a lot of games saw a great deal of controversy this year, including Overwatch 2 and The Callisto Protocol. But the big one of the bunch that got a lot of negative feedback was none other than Deep Silver’s Saints Row, a revival of Volition’s hit series.
Fans dug in to the game and found a number of glitches, as well as “woke” themes that didn’t necessarily fit to their taste. We thought the game was pretty good, but its feedback as a whole rattled the community – to the point that developers and managers alike were leaving complaints with the fans. Which, by the way, is not how to do it.
Even though the game got patched, Saints Row’s controversy continues with its iffy DLC plan, where players have to buy holiday goodies separate from the season pass. In fact, things got so bad that Deep Silver sent Volition over to work with Gearbox instead.
Needless to say, it’ll probably be a good while before we see the Saints again.
What do you think was the biggest gaming letdown of 2022? Sound off!