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Worst of 2013: Announcements and screw-ups

Above: A meteor shower causes havoc in SimCity.

Image Credit: Wikia

Check here for more from GamesBeat’s 12 Days of the Best and Worst of 2013

You know, I’m usually a pretty optimistic guy. I’m one of those people who likes to shrug off negativity and instead focus on the positive things in life. Still, it’s hard to ignore just how many unpleasant things happened in the gaming industry during 2013.

I mean, we had delays, closures, and — hell — I think at one point everyone was pretty sure Microsoft had become synonymous with Satan.

So, I’m going to forgo my usual cheeriness and focus on all of the bad stuff that happened in gaming this year. You’ll see some of 2013’s biggest blunders listed in chronological order below:


SimCity’s disastrous launch

Electronic Arts Maxis

Above: Electronic Arts’ SimCity.

Image Credit: EA

Original story: EA addresses SimCity issues — bringing in more servers and disabling some features from March 7

SimCity was an ambitious new entry in publisher Electronic Arts city-building simulator that required a constant Internet connection if you wanted to play it. Unfortunately, the servers were a complete mess at launch (and for quite some time after).

EA would add more servers and disable “noncrucial” features in order to stabilize SimCity. It even gave free games to everyone who bought it during the launch period. EA would not, however, get rid of the always-online requirement that was the source of much of the anguish.


LucasArts closes

LucasArts logo

Above: The last logo used by LucasArts.

Image Credit: LucasArts

Original story: Disney shutters publisher LucasArts from April 3

Fans knew publisher LucasArts not only for its work on numerous Star Wars titles (such as the X-wing/TIE Fighter space sims, the first-person Jedi Knight series, and the action-based The Force Unleashed) but also for its clever, humorous, and incredibly original adventure games, including the Monkey Island franchise, Day of the Tentacle, and Grim Fandango.

While the studio was clearly far removed from its golden days, it was still a harsh blow for nostalgic gamers when LucasArts’ new owner, the Walt Disney Company, decided to close the distinguished branch of the Lucasfilm company.

Of course, it’s not a completely unhappy ending. Publisher Electronic Arts is taking over the Star Wars franchise, and it’s promised a new game in the competitive Battlefront shooter series. Still, especially for people who grew up on PC games in the ’90s, it’s hard to know we’re living in a world without LucasArts.


Xbox One’s restrictive policies

Don Mattrick

Above: Former Xbox chief Don Mattrick poses with the Xbox One.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Original story: Microsoft confirms Xbox One will require a network connection once a day from June 6

Microsoft became gaming’s biggest bad guy when it revealed its original plans for its new system, the Xbox One. The console was going to require an online connection at least once a day.

This verification process had huge implications for the used-game market. This would’ve resulted in players being able to install a game from a disc just once on their Xbox Ones. While that meant you could play games without having to swap disks, it also meant you couldn’t trade old titles for credit at stores like GameStop. You also couldn’t lend games to friends, although Microsoft had vague plans for a family sharing service.

The policies were immensely unpopular, so much so that Microsoft eventually reversed just about all of them. So while the whole saga has a happy ending, it was still easily one of the year’s biggest blunders.


Watch Dogs delayed

Watch Dogs

Above: A screenshot from Watch Dogs by Ubisoft.

Image Credit: Ubisoft

Original story: Watch Dogs open-world action game delayed — fate of PlayStation 4 launch bundle is unknown from Oct. 15

The open-world Watch Dogs was one of the most anticipated launch games for next-gen systems PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unfortunately, publisher Ubisoft delayed the ambitious title to next spring.

Sure, that extra development time will probably result in a better experience, but it was still a big disappointment to everyone who was looking forward to a game that continually impressed at trade events and conventions.


Battlefield 4’s bugs

Battlefield 4

Above: Battlefield 4 in action.

Image Credit: EA

Original story: DICE delays Battlefield 4 PS4 patch (even as it releases an expansion) from Dec. 3

First-person shooter Battlefield 4 was one of the year’s most anticipated releases, and while it’s certainly fun in theory, many have had a hard time playing thanks to disruptive bugs. Across all platforms, these glitches would disconnect players from servers and crash the game. Many of these problems remained unfixed even after developer DICE released its first expansion for the shooter.

Patches would eventually come for most platforms (some only recently), but the buggy launch definitely soured what should have been one of 2013’s biggest games.


YouTube attacks gaming content

YouTube's Content ID bot is coming for you.

Above: YouTube’s Content ID bot is coming for you.

Image Credit: Jeff Grubb/GamesBeat

Original story: YouTube suddenly begins flagging hundreds of game-related videos for copyright violations from Dec. 10

Many creative gamers have found a way to make money by creating gaming-related shows on YouTube. Unfortunately, YouTube created an automated Content ID system that now searches for copyrighted material and flags offending videos, meaning creators can’t receive money from ads.

Even independent developer Jonathan Blow had his own game, Braid, flagged for copyright violation. The Contend ID system is also targeting videos covering games from publishers that have given fans permission to monetize videos using footage from their games.


What do you guys think? Any major mishaps from the year that we missed? Let us know in the comments.


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