This is the time of year for reflection, for pondering what went wrong or right over the previous twelve months. For, as they say "taking stock" of our lives, our goals, our hopes, our dreams and our accomplishments. We do this so that we may remember, from year to year, what we thought we were supposed to be doing a year hence, and so that we may in some small way evaluate our ability to bring our dreams to fruition or to predict what will be important as we grow older.
In gaming, the years go by very quickly indeed. One need only look at the stack of Obsessions Past to note how fleeting can be the thrill of unwrapping a new game, and how quickly it can become an Old Game. Videogames take years to create and are devoured in minutes. New technologies take decades to evolve and can be obsolete in months.
Such is the nature of an entertainment-based industry, but it can be humbling to look back on just how disposable our passions can be. After all, one of the top news stories of the year involved the current fight between publishers and retailers over used game sales. In an industry in which products are lovingly cherished for years on end, a market for used merchandise can be a blessing to all concerned since, in most cases, someone selling their well-used item is most often looking for a new replacement. Not so in games, where used or new, the experience of ownership is often identical and sellers are more often than not trading in used games for other used games.
As the end-of-year nostalgia turns to New Year prognostication, expect to hear more about this issue. Developers and publishers alike are going to want to see some resolution on used game sales before jumping whole-heartedly into the next console generation and "cloud gaming," while an attractive buzzword, will not be a draw for the core gamer demographic that keeps most developers and publishers in new Lamborghinis.
As we at The Escapist shake the dust of 2010 off our boots and recover from our Holiday celebrations, we're spending a few moments on both reflection and prognostication and we hope to share our thoughts with you in both regards soon. (You can already see our list of the most notable news stories from each month of 2010 here.) The most exciting project on our table right now is the ongoing debate over the Game of the Year for 2010. You may or may not be surprised by the nominees and winner, but the debate has been fierce. Look for an announcement about The Escapist's GOTY later this month.
In the mean time, business as usual (or as we like to say "biscuits as usual") must go on, which means the first week of 2011 brings the first issue of our magazine ringing in the 6th calendar year of The Escapist. For this week's issue, we let our writers tell us what was on their minds: Jonas Kyratzes explores the dark and secret plight of elves; Brendan Main delves into the whimsical underworld of Grim Fandango; Spanner Spencer looks at how developers are tapping into the potential of Google Earth; and our own John Funk plumbs the depths of his personal obsession with Pokemon. Enjoy!