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Written by: Jason Pitruzzello
In some ways, 2011 was the year that kept on giving. If you are a PC gamer with console playing friends (or a console jockey with PC gamer friends), it was the year of cross-platform fun. Love it or hate it, Skyrim became the common language of PC and console gamers. Limbo ported over to the PC this year, and I was even more impressed with playing it on PC than when I first saw my brother-in-law play it on Xbox. Aside from the common ground PC and console gamers shared, we had some much anticipated strategy titles appear on PC. Total War: Shogun 2 was a pretty good release for those who love tactical battle. Sengoku was a great budget title in the tradition of grand strategy games. 4X gamers found themselves finally getting the SOTS II (and all its problems). Heck, it wasn’t a new game this year, but new to me was Torchlight, which I purchased in May. This little gem reminded me why I invested hours in the original Diablo.
With all that being said, it almost seems anticlimactic to talk about the titles we can expect in 2012. But since gamers are insatiable in their appetites, and since developers and programmers need paychecks, new games are going to show up on our virtual doorsteps. What am I looking forward to? Let’s take a look.
Yes, I know that no official release date has come out yet, so this might not even be a 2012 game. That being said, I would be surprised if Blizzard missed the next holiday season with a game that has a 99.99999% chance to earn them a small fortune. But before someone complains that I am just going to be a shill for Blizzard, always on DRM, and evil gaming practices, let me just say that I am anticipating the release of the game. I’m not saying I will buy or play it.
What am I talking about? Am I just insane?
Not really. I’ve already talked about the always-online feature in Diablo III and how I think it will impact the industry. The reason I am anticipating the release of the game is that I want to see how well it sells, how the actual DRM turns out, how long it takes someone to crack that DRM, and whether other publishers follow their example. This is one of those times that, as an industry insider (cue laughter from readers and developers), I am interested in the consequences of a particular release.
Even if you hate the franchise, hate Blizzard, hate DRM, hate the genre, or hate gaming in general, the release of Diablo III will have repercussions felt throughout the industry. This is the case even if the game stinks; in fact, if it ends up not being that profitable, that might impact the industry even more. In particular, the success of real money features will probably steer the policies of other developers in various ways.
My prediction is that it will be successful, and that it will convince other developers to adopt similar practices. Then again, I’m no prophet, so who knows? We’ll have to wait and see.
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