2010 in Review
2010's been an interesting year for gaming news. Legal battles, slagging matches and broken promises have been par for the course, but there have been plenty of pleasant surprises along the way as well. So, in case you decided on a media black-out for 2010, here's the year's news in short.
The year's gaming got off to a cracking start with the release of Mass Effect 2. Gaining wildly enthusiastic reviews around the world, it prompted many to feel that 2010's 'game of the year' had arrived within weeks of its opening.
But people were less happy with Ubisoft, who introduced their controversial new DRM system. It required players to be connected to the internet at all times, even while playing single-player games. Lose connection, and the game would cut out, Ubisoft revealed.
The release of PS3 game Heavy Rain split opinion rather wildly. Innovative interactive movie, or sub-par storytelling that wasn't suited to a videogame? The ambitious title had as many critics as it did fans, meaning it stuck in the headlines for rather a while.
Legal battles commenced in March former Infinity Ward types Jason West and Vince Zampella filed a lawsuit against Activision for unpaid Modern Warfare 2 royalties. Activision had previously given the chop to the pair for apparent breach of contract, but West and Zampella weren't happy.
And the UK government pledged to bring tax relief to the country's games industry. But with an election - and potentially a new government - around the corner, many remained concerned that the tax breaks may never come to light.
What did finally come to light, however, was digital distribution platform Steam's arrival on Mac computers, opening up new doors for Mac gamers. Not a huge number of Steam games are available for Mac, but Valve's own games are among the few that are.
Ubisoft stayed in the bad books, though. Assassin's Creed 2 was released... and the PC version's online servers promptly crashed. Thanks to Ubi's new DRM, this left thousands of legitimate buyers unable to play their legitimately bought single-player game, while the pirates ploughed through the campaign in their cracked versions without hassle.
The Activision/Infinity Ward saga continued, with half the remaining Infinity Ward employees resigning over the situation, 38 of them filing another lawsuit against Activision on similar claims. Acti hit back with a countersuit, saying their actions were justified. The trial's scheduled for 2011.
The UK General Election /eventually/ resulted in a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. Rumours began to circulate that the planned tax relief wouldn't be coming into play as a result.
June was E3 month, and saw a number of interesting announcements. Valve revealed that it would be bringing Portal 2 to the PlayStation 3, despite having previously expressed concerns about developing for Sony's console. Meanwhile, the 3DS was unveiled following an announcement a couple of months previously, and wowed attendees with its glasses-free 3D technology.
Meanwhile, the UK Budget confirmed that games industry tax relief would not be introduced after all. Trade body TIGA got quite angry, and mounted a lengthy campaign to change the Coalition's mind. So far, no luck.
Acclaimed developer Irrational announced that it was working on a new game, codenamed 'Project Icarus'. A teaser site appeared online, and it was revealed that the game would be unveiled in August.
Meanwhile, at the Develop Conference in Brighton, Gratuitous Space Battles' solo developer Cliff Harris got rather irritated by interruptions from Epic's Mark Rein during a panel on indie development. Rein suggested that Harris was missing an opportunity by not mounting major PR campaigns. Harris called Rein a few naughty words on his blog. In the end Rein issued a public apology, they had a man-hug and made up, and everything was well with the world.