As with any year, 2013 had its fair share of highs and lows. For this post however, we are focusing on the disappointments — the moments, games, and news topics that left us scratching our head. As gamers, we expect a certain level of quality from our products, devices, and the companies that support those things. After all, we are paying anywhere from $60 to $500 for what are basically luxury items. And so, when our expectations are not met, it's not an easy pill to swallow.
From Microsoft's Xbox 180 to the NBA Live '14 apology, there was plenty of disappointment to go around, but here are our 5 biggest disappointments of the year.
In 2013, microtransactions took a turn for the worse, as it seemed that games were severely curtailing players' progress and reminding them they could "pay to win" at nearly every turn. Nowhere was that more apparent than in Forza 5, a game that cut its car list in half from its predecessor, required players buy DLC merely to unlock the ability to purchase a car. Similarly, Gran Turismo 6 used a similar microtransaction model for car purchases, but there didn't seem to be any restrictions on progression.
Dozens of games used microtransactions this year, from Grand Theft Auto Online to Marvel Heroes, and, like it or not, they are here to stay. But, how developers deploy microtransactions can certainly change.
Watch Dogs Delay
While zero hour delays aren't entirely unheard of, Watch Dogs' delay from an imminent November 2013 release into Spring 2014 was a huge blow to gamers. Not just because Watch Dogs was one of the more intriguing releases of the year, but also because it was one of the few next-gen titles we were truly excited for. It was arguably a "system seller."
And so, when Ubisoft decided to pull the game for more polish, we were hugely disappointed, even more than the South Park re-delay, which was still very devastating. Obviously, if a game needs more time, we aren't going to argue with that, but the delay certainly forced many next-gen pre-order holders to re-evaluate their purchase.
PS4 and Xbox One Missing Features
We've already detailed the key features both the PS4 and Xbox One were missing at launch, but the fact that neither console offered backwards compatibility is still a head-scratcher. We'd love to be able to post videos to YouTube, or play CDs with our PS4, or, in some cases, to perform some pretty essential tasks, but those features can eventually be patched in and likely will.
Backwards compatibility, on the other hand, seems more and more like a pipe dream. Sony has gone back and forth on backwards compatibility, possibly through Gaikai's cloud streaming, but right now it seems like it won't happen. Similarly, Microsoft has been pretty mum on the issue, but they have teased it could happen. At least for right now, the consoles are still very much works in progress.
Online Launch Failures
We had seen the signs in the launches of games like Diablo 3, but 2013 was the year that the online-only, or online-focused problems truly reared their head. It started in March with the launch of SimCity, a game that only just found true stability a few months ago, and got even worse in the fall.
First came the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online which, to put it mildly, was a complete disaster for Rockstar Games. Not only were gamers having trouble signing in, but also those who did get online were losing their progress after signing out. Then came Battlefield 4, where the online experience is still broken for some players, and DICE has turned all of their attention towards fixing it. Three games and three online experiences - each practically unplayable at launch.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Before you start reading this make sure you watch this gameplay video. That is the Aliens: Colonial Marines experience in a nutshell, and it only gets more frustrating and clunky from there.
Colonial Marines was a disappointment on many levels. The game initially showed a lot of promise, but it turns out those early gameplay trailers and screenshots were very misleading. Not to mention, the connections to the Aliens franchise were hamfisted and unfit of one of the best sci-fi series. In a year where a lot of games failed because of online problems, Aliens: Colonial Marines outright failed.
VGX 2013 — Spike TV's online streaming experiment was a success in terms of ratings, but it left a lot to be desired. Lackluster premieres, an awkward host, and even less focus on awards made the 3-hour show almost unwatchable.
Lackluster Launch Line-Ups — Granted, launch titles are never all that great, but after 7 years of waiting we certainly hoped for a better selection.
What were some of your biggest disappointments of the year? Let us know in the comments below.
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