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2011: The Year That Was

2011: The Year That Was

Feature

Shit went down in 2011, a recap of what was important and what was just meh.

2011 can perhaps be remembered as a year of turmoil for the big brands in gaming. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft didn't have the greatest years in video gaming history so of course we'll take a look back month by month and examine why.

January


Sony started off the year strong by announcing the long awaited and much anticipated PSP successor, the PS Vita, known then as the Next Generation Portable (or NGP). Sony also began to show off their upcoming mobile gaming phone, the Xperia Play, made by Ericsson. A strong month for the manufacturer continued with the release of the PlayStation 3 in China, a breakthrough of all sorts of proportions considering the Chinese government and the stance they have taken on video games. However Sony's great month ended on a bit of a sour note as George "GeoHot" Hotz published the PS3's root key and was subsequently sued by Sony for such endeavors.

Nintendo didn't fair so well during the month either as profits from 2010 dipped to 46%. The Wii was on its downturn and the NDS was quickly being phased out by the upcoming Nintendo 3DS. The company did however announce that the 3DS was due out in March in the west.

The first month of the new year found itself marked with some pretty big releases such as the PS3/PC collaboration MMO DC Universe Online, the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, EA's much anticipated sequel Dead Space 2, and a quiet Game of the Year contender LittleBigPlanet 2.

February


This month was a big month financially and emotionally for Nintendo as the 3DS was released in Japan to much fan fare. The new 3D handheld sold 370,000 units in two days in its Japanese launch. The launch of the handheld in video game motherland sparked much anticipation in the rest of the world awaiting the launch of the 3DS.

Sony had a quieter month as the reveal trailer for their, then known as, NGP was leaked onto YouTube. The leak was made five days ahead of the handheld's official reveal at Mobile World Congress. The release of Killzone 3, the PS3's first big first-party release of the year, was met with good reviews.

Microsoft once again had a quiet month.

February saw a month of iffy releases such as the massive flop Two Worlds II, the "meh" driving title Test Drive Unlimited 2, De Blob 2, Rift, and the oft-riddled Epic Games shooter not known as Gears of War titled Bulletstorm. Capcom released their much anticipated fighting title Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to pretty rave reviews.

However the month was marred by saw rather sad news as Activision Blizzard announced that they would be axing their entire music genre division in the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises. Activision also announced that they would be closing their long lived racing studio Bizarre Creations.

March


Japan, the video gaming capital of the world, was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami that killed over 15,000, injuring 25,000 more. Video games took a back seat that day as hearts broke all over the world.

Nintendo continued their strong early year as the Nintendo 3DS was released in the US and Europe. Pre-orders were higher than that of the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. The handheld sold over 400,000 units in the US in its first week with UK sales topping a tad bit over 100,000. As a total the new handheld sold over 300,000 units across Europe. The 3DS' launch line-up was a tad bit scarce as though. The handheld was priced at $250 in the US, ú175 in places in the UK, and a massive $350 in Australia.

Sony's month didn't start out too well as the ongoing legal dispute between the company and George Hotz took a turn for the worse as a court granted Sony the ability to examine the IP addresses of all the visitors to GeoHot's website. The same court also granted Sony the ability to subpoena Hotz records of his legal fees and how they were being paid for. Sony then accused Hotz of fleeing to South America with his computer hard drives, which proved to be false.

Video game releases had a big month as the Nintendo DS saw the last big hurrah with Pokemon: Black & White selling over 2 million copies in its first week. BioWare released Dragon Age II to mixed reviews while EA had a big month with Crysis 2 and Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed.

April


Welp. We'll get right to it, Sony had a pretty shitty month. Yep, the PlayStation Network was hacked and yep Sony tried to cover it up a smudge. The hacker group Anonymous revealed that they were responsible for the attack on Sony's PlayStation Network for the company's legal actions against hackers worldwide but mainly for their treatment of George Hotz. The attacks against the PSN stemmed the entire month starting with DDOS attacks and then moving to bigger things. The PSN eventually went down and stayed down. Sony waited nearly a month to admit that customers personal information, including financial information, had been compromised. Things got so bad that US politicians got involved. Developers started to express dismay over the fact that they would be financially impacted with the PSN being down. Sony's stock dropped more than 5% in the month of April. Ouch.

Rumors swirled that Nintendo was up to something regarding a new console but nothing was concrete. Marked down as the Wii 2 speculation ran rampant.

Releases weren't as big as in previous months but still substantial enough to keep gamers interested. Warner Bros. released the long awaited Mortal Kombat revamp to much critical success. Valve released their long awaited sequel, Portal 2, which marked the first time a game played on the PlayStation 3 and the PC would be able to cross-platform play together. The PS3 also saw first-party exclusive title SOCOM 4 released to disappointing results.
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