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2012 in news: February sees Vita launch, GAME collapse

Monday, 24th December 2012 16:00 GMT By Patrick Garratt

February 2012 saw the launch of Vita in the US and Europe, the true extent of GAME’s disastrous situation in the UK and Double Fine’s game-changing Kickstarter. Head below for the second part of our look at 2012′s news.

Vita aside, February’s other major story was the collapse of GAME in the UK. A furious defensive reaction to a VG247 editorial on the obviousness of the severity of GAME’s trouble failed to stop the inevitable.

For every month in our 2012 retrospective, hit this.

February 2012 was all about Vita’s launch in the US and Europe, following the handheld’s release in Japan the previous December. Midnight events took place in the UK and America, and the pre-ship mood was positive. Software reviews were solid and analysts were predicting sales of upwards of 12 million units in year one. Sony’s since taken to masking Vita figures (for some reason we simply can’t fathom).

But at the time it was all roses and rainbows. Bundles were selling-out, bigger memory cards were promised, and WipEout 2048 was the star attraction. This was a time when the 3G model’s ability to receive text messages was news. It was also a time when 3DS became the console to hit the Japanese 5 million sales mark in the shortest time. So.

Vita aside, February’s other major story was the collapse of GAME in the UK. A furious defensive reaction to a VG247 editorial on the obviousness of the severity of GAME’s trouble failed to stop the inevitable: the retailer admitted it was facing credit insurance issues, scrabbled for new funding lines, talked of dropping overseas operations and quickly cut 46 staff from its UK offices.

A stream of headlines followed charting the store’s patchiness in acquiring launch stock, to which GAME eventually protested that it couldn’t be completely comprehensive.

Strong talk of store closures emerged at the end of the month. Details of GAME’s future arrived in March.

Eat my jeans

Release-wise, February was slow, but several big action titles were in full PR mode. Max Payne 3 was gearing up for its May release, with three new trailers and tons of bullety shots. Rockstar was even talking about Max’s reason for shaving his hair off, so you knew the publisher meant serious business.

Far Cry 3 was everywhere in February. Two new trailers gave a good idea of what to expect from the drug-addled island shooter, and a September release was confirmed. Ubi promised a neat mix of exploration and purpose, a magic combination of linearity and openness. Screens showed off the local crazies as being suitably mental, but I couldn’t help wishing the whole thing was back in Africa.

Mass Effect 3 entered the final phase of pre-launch with gold confirmation and a demo. And The Last of Us made its mark on the month with a GI cover (details of which instantly emerged). We got first in-game screens, environment shots, talk of “ruin porn” and something about heros being turned on their asses. And don’t forget the motion capture video.

While bug-budgeters exploited February’s weak slate to air their knickers, the giants of the indie world did some underwear shuffling of their own. Double Fine started what was to become one of the greatest development trends of the year by smashing a Kickstarter target for its next adventure game, eventually amassing over $3.3 million when it initially sought $400,000.

All the indie boys had a little moment, Schafer was asked about the possibility of Psychonauts 2 and he admitted he’d been unable to secure funding for it. Notch went public – as is his wont – with the possibility of privately funding it and the PC community went all whimsy. Notch said he could stick up $13 million for it. I said it’d never happen. I told RPS I’d eat my trousers if it did. Notch found out how much it’d actually cost and that was the end of it. My jeans are still intact.

On the MMO side, 1 million signed for the Guild Wars 2 beta, and AION went F2P.

The usual next-gen rumours wrapped February up. PS4 won’t use Cell, said the gossipers, but will instead be built on AMD tech. SCEA head Jack Tretton said in simple terms that son of PS3 wouldn’t be announced in 2012.

February saw the first mention in the press of the word “Durango,” the supposed codename for the next Xbox. A Crytek employee dropped a swiftly removed tweet apparently confirming a Durango meeting in London, after which everyone stood looking at their shoes thinking very seriously about what they’d done.

The only next-gen unrumour in February was Epic confirming Unreal Engine 4 for a GDC preview the following month.

Next: March. Get January’s round-up here. For every month in our 2012 retrospective, hit this.

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1 Comments

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  1. Da Man

    Vita is going to be remembered as the most tragic failure of 2012.

    #1 2 years ago