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The Biggest Trends of 2012 (So Far)

We’ve reached the halfway point of 2012, a year full of interesting developments, surprises, and sad news in the gaming industry. While it’s not over yet, let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends the industry has cycled through so far:

STUDIO CLOSINGS

Whether it’s the 38 Studios debacle, the closing of SOCOM developer Zipper Interactive, or the more recent announcement of the eventual shutdown of Radical Entertainment, there have been a number of studio closings this year that have left talented developers out of work. Whether you like their games or not, it’s a sad occurrence that affects far too many people in this industry, and has especially been prevalent in 2012. On the bright side, however, we’ve seen the industry come together in their efforts to help these folks find jobs through twitter campaigns and old-fashioned word of mouth. Here’s hoping no more shutdowns plague our community this year.

SEQUELS

Assassin’s Creed 3. Far Cry 3. Halo 4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

With every anticipated Triple-A title having a number after it, 2012 could easily be considered the year of the sequel. While it’s a whole separate argument to discuss whether or not this is a bad thing, it is indicative of the fact that publishers are playing it safe and giving gamers more of established franchises that are guaranteed to sell at least modest numbers. There is much speculation that the new IPs are holding off until the release of next gen consoles. Which brings me to…

NEXT GENERATION RUMORS

Every day, it seems like someone’s mom’s aunt’s cousin’s brother twice removed who works at insert-name-of-company-here is leaking some sort of “inside information” about next gen consoles, whether it’s the lack of a disc drive on the Xbox 720 or the specs of the PS4. While they may or may not be true, it’s quite clear that we’re gearing up for the release of the next generation. We just don’t know exactly when that will be.

GAMER DISAPPOINTMENT

From Diablo 3’s infamous Error 37 to the ending of Mass Effect 3, 2012 has seen many gamers express their disappointment with some of their favorite games. Perhaps some of the biggest letdown chatter, however, is that E3 did not deliver as everyone hoped it would, leaving us feeling like it was lackluster when it could have been brilliant.

HANDHELD GAMING

With the 3DS XL’s recent announcement and the release of the PlayStation Vita earlier this year, 2012 has been a year rife with handheld gaming and possibilities.

DELAYS

It almost seemed comical after a while; game after game getting delayed into 2013, from BioShock Infinite to Tomb Raider. The good news, however, is that despite the wait, Q1 of 2013 is undoubtedly going to rival that of holiday 2012 with all of the major releases hitting shelves in the early months.

PROMISE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY

The Wii U demonstrated some interesting new mechanics with their gamepad and console, the Vita has introduced seamless cross play between platforms and several interesting hardware abilities, and Microsoft is looking to jump into the ring with Apple with their recent announcement of both SmartGlass and the Surface. Add to that the possibility gaming eyewear, and we’re looking at an interesting new age of gaming as we start to integrate outside technology into our console experiences.

 



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