About this time of year, most folks involved in writing like to start looking back at the year that was, and start looking forward at the year that is yet to be. There's quite a bit to look back at, and even more to look forward to. But before we indulge in a little starry-eyed fond remembrance of 2013, it's worth looking at some of the low points as well, just to keep us grounded and help us remember where we came from, so to speak. So with that in mind, here's a look back at three of the lowest points in 2013's gaming year.
This particular bust kept Fallout fans eager for a bit of news from Bethesda on the ball for days. And why not? It was news about Fallout 4, purportedly, presented in a style that was surprisingly engaging, complete with messages coded in Morse, vague aspersions to certain parts of the Fallout universe (the stuff that was about the Institute was the biggest hit after hearing about it in the Fallout 3 release) and all the kinds of things that one would expect from a major game release. But when it was revealed that TheSurvivor2299.com was just a hoax—a development which took several days to be revealed by Bethesda itself—the reaction wasn't positive. Why didn't Bethesda shut it down sooner? Some thought the site was even in cahoots with Bethesda and the denial a false one. But regardless of how you took it, for Fallout fans, it was one of the lowest points of the year.
Microsoft's E3 Showing
File this one under bad things that ended up all right, but easily one of the biggest catastrophes of 2013 was Microsoft's exhibition at 2013's E3. Jam packed with all the worst news most anyone could ask for about the Xbox One
—the requirement of an always-on Internet connection that became a once-a-day connection, the loss of the used game market, the loss of the rental game market and so on—the user base fairly exploded against Microsoft, sufficiently so that many of its planned policies found themselves on the scrap pile. So while it all ended well at the end of the day for Microsoft, and for the gamers, it was still easily one of the lowest points of 2013.
Gamers Under Attack on YouTube
It's still going on to this day, but the recent move against gamer videos—and by extension gamers—that hit YouTube in the closing days of 2013 made for a lot of trouble. When a flood of copyright violation
reports hit the YouTube wires on the strength of its Content ID system, a lot of users found their channels suddenly no longer moneymakers for themselves but rather for others. But many believed the Content ID system had gone too far, attacking even those videos whose content should have fallen under fair use principles—including from publishers who had give permission to use the content—and creating an all-around mess for users and for content producers alike.
No year in gaming comes without some bad news along the way. There are always some disappointments, some setbacks, and the kinds of things that make us all look forward to brighter days. Thankfully, though, the brighter days usually don't take too long in coming, and we all have some happy news to make our time gaming happier. There were plenty to go around in 2013, and will likely be plenty in 2014 as well. But let's not forget the darker times, too...they make us better as a result.