Today is New Years Eve, a time for reflection on the past year and a time to start setting goals for 2012. We launched Drop Bear Gaming officially on January 1st this year so I thought this would be a perfect chance to sum up the highlights of 2011 for DBG and gaming in general. A lot happened this year in gaming as well as some major milestones for us as a site so join me as I reflect on the last 12 months.
First and foremost I’m going to have to mention the destruction that this year brought for us personally and for our neighbours around the Pacific. The devastating flooding that hit the Eastern states of Australia, the multiple earthquakes that hit Christchurch in New Zealand, and the Tsunami and subsequent nuclear emergency in Japan. The world has definitely thrown a few punches at humanity this year and although Australia has pretty much completely recovered from the flooding and Japan is making progress, Christchurch are still having a rough time of it with another earthquake hitting recently so our thoughts go out to them at this time of year and hopefully 2012 brings better luck for them.
Now to bring it back to gaming I think the first thing that I’ve got to mention are the dramas Sony has had this year. With Geohot and FailOverfl0w jailbreaking the PS3 in January and then the PSN getting hacked in April and subsequently being taken down until June. I’m not sure they’ll ever live that one down from the Xbox fanboys, but at least they came back strong with the Welcome Back package supplying us all with a bevy of free games and content. That wasn’t the only hacking incident of this year either, just the highest profile case. After the PSN’s data breach countless other large companies got hit by the hacking group LulzSec just to prove that they could do it. Thanks guys.
This was a major year for handheld gaming across the board too, despite a lot of nay sayers out there. There was the launch of the 3DS in April and then the subsequent price drop later in the year. When it was first announced everyone went crazy about the tech so Nintendo had the idea that they could charge whatever they wanted, but then no one bought it on release, whoops! There was also the announcement of Sony’s Next Generation Portable which then later in the year got it’s official name the PS Vita. Although it’s not due for release in Australia til late February next year it has been released in Japan and it looks fantastic.
Of course we can’t forget the bread and butter of Australia game developers: iOS hardware. The iPad2 and iPhone 4S were released this year, but more importantly there were some fantastic iOS games released too. A few of the standout titles from Australia in my opinion this year were Jetpack Joyride from Halfbrick Studios in Brisbane, Spy Mouse from Firemint in Melbourne, as well as the three great Gamebook Adventures released by Tin Man Games this year. Outside of Aussie-made apps there were a few standouts as well including Tiny Wings, Sid Meier’s Pirates for iPad, GTA3 on iOS, and many more.
As long as I’m on the topic of Australian developers there has been some other good and bad news this year. Starting off on a high point we have Firemint getting purchased by EA, not that they needed that for us to know what a powerhouse they are but it deserves congratulations to them no less. We also had AFL Live by Big Ant Studios and Wicked Witch Software which turned out to be a fantastic game, and of course L.A. Noire by Team Bondi. Although L.A. Noire was a great game it turned out to be not great enough to save Team Bondi from going into administration, and bad management also led to a lot of disgruntled staff and bad blood between all involved. Hopefully all the developers who worked with Team Bondi on that project have found a new place to work and continue to share their talents with the world.