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Year in Review: 2022

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By Nelson Schneider - 12/31/22 at 05:58 PM CT

Our planet has completed another tumultuous trek around the Sun, and human civilization hasn’t managed to wipe itself out yet – though not for lack of trying. Let’s take a look back and see just how things went for the Videogaming Hobby in the Third Plague Year of the not-so-roaring ‘20s.

Top 5 Fails

5. From Software Abomination Steals Top Prize at The Game Awards

Most awards shows are a joke nowadays, with cratering audience numbers and content packed with as much virtue signaling and self-congratulatory back-clapping as possible. Videogames have a number of different awards shows, and nearly every single videogame website or news outlet tends to hand out its own. The Game Awards are a desperate, corporate, Games Industry attempt at creating an E.G.O.T.-tier trophy for industry insiders, but it has historically failed to gain purchase amongst the individualistic gaming community (such irony). I don’t have an explanation for how it happened, but this year, the top prize at the Game Awards was stolen by 2022’s FromSoftware Abomination, “Elden Ring,” the latest iteration of the same terrible game the studio has been churning out for over a decade now. This particular game didn’t just corrupt the soft minds at the Game Awards, but also received praise from previous Soulslike haters in the New Media, like Angry Joe and Rich at ReviewTechUSA, who previously have hated on FromSoftware’s tedious, clunky, punishing game design, yet inexplicably praised the newest turd to drop from that selfsame anus. This is some sort of mass hysteria.

4. The Year of e-Sports Betting

The 2020s are proving to be quite friendly to gambling organizations, with several states, including my native Nebraska, overwhelmingly approving of new, legal gambling as an “alternative source of tax revenue.” I’m not entirely convinced that it will play out the way the politicians and the voting public think it will. On the other hand, I don’t see a single redeeming feature in the newly-legalized ability to bet on the outcomes of e-Sports matches. I have long maintained – and been shouted-down by forum dwelling asshats – that the main reason traditional sports are as popular as they are is the fact that nearly everyone who watches them has money riding on the outcome. Could the ability to bet on e-Sports finally take them out of obscurity into a mainstream force? I hope not, but probably.

3. Netflix Loses Henry Cavill from “The Witcher,” Thinks It’s “Big in Gaming”

Netflix just hasn’t been the same since all of the licensing agreements it had with movie and TV studios expired and it started trying to make its own content. In many ways, Netflix could be the poster child for the motto, “Get Woke, Go Broke,” as it has been bending over backwards to check DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) boxes with nearly all of its self-produced shows. The latest victim of Netflix’s self-inflicted stupidity is “The Witcher,” which was supposed to be an adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, which had been previously adapted into a trilogy of wildly-popular videogames by CD Projekt. Instead of cleaving closely to the books, or even aligning with the story arc of the videogame trilogy, Netflix’s “The Witcher” went bonkers with DEI casting choices and a narrative crammed with as much Intersectional Feminism as possible. It all came to a head this year when Henry Cavill – who was the show’s one bright point in the starring role of Geralt of Rivia – up and quit the project because the writers, director, and producers had moved too far from the source material, of which Cavill is reportedly a huge fan.

But that’s not the only stupid gaming-related thing Netflix did in 2022: They also proclaimed that they are “Big in Gaming,” in spite of having only a small-potatoes mobile development studio and not a single well-known gaming IP or stand-alone title associated exclusively with their brand.

2. Woke Attacks on Gaming at the Corporate and Government Levels

The autistic screeching from the Leftist fringe reached a fevered pitch in 2022, forcing all manner of terrible things on “normal” people. Activision-Blizzard-King revealed a nauseating Intersectionalist tool for judging the Wokeness of any given videogame character at a glance, while Wizards of the Coast made good on its promises threats from 2020, and has started Wokewashing D&D, removing ‘problematic’ terminology like Race, and retconning the lore for ‘historically evil’ (which I guess the Twitter Mob reads as ‘historically marginalized’) Races Ancestries. D&D 6th Edition is supposed to launch in the next year or two, and will be stuffed to the gills with these kinds of nonsensical concessions. But corporations weren’t alone in demonizing the predominantly Cis-White-Male audience for games, be they digital, tabletop, or some combination of the two, with House Democrats sending hand-wringing letters to videogame companies demanding censorship of online discussion platforms because of the alleged proliferation of “Neo-Nazi Propaganda” in such communities. Of course, it’s easy to see “Neo-Nazi Propaganda” everywhere when you consider everyone who disagrees with your orthodox dogma in any way to be a card-carrying Fascist.

1. Sony’s Anti-Consumer Nonsense on Full Display

Sony hasn’t been a good console-maker for a long, loooong time. Personally, I still haven’t gotten over their disastrous showing with the PlayStation 3, but this year, Sony’s anti-customer nonsense reached a new apex, as documented in numerous videos by ReviewTechUSA. Whether they’re raising prices on their hardware and software, not honoring promises to give free next-gen upgrades to purchasers of first-party titles, pushing censorship, dumping on crossplay, or losing their absolute-damned-minds over the Microsoft/Activision merger, Sony is making itself look like an absolute spoiled brat.

Top 5 Wins

5. Biden Administration Bans TikTok from Government Devices, Complete Ban in the Works

While it’s not explicitly “gaming” related, it’s tech, and so is gaming, so it’s gaming-adjacent. Anyway, the Powers that Be in the Biden Administration finally got their shit together and banned TikTok, a Chinese social video platform owned in large part by the Chinese Communist Party, from Federal devices. TikTok has had nothing but a corrosive presence in the West, especially compared to its native Chinese version. In China, TikTok is as heavily censored as everything else, and the algorithm pushes videos containing positive content, with patriotic pro-CCP stuff being the worst thing a Chinaman might find. In the West, though, TikTok’s algorithm shovels so much divisive culture war bullshit, it’s mindboggling. I’m hoping for a full, nationwide ban on this horrible service, since it’s obviously a weapon deployed by China to weaken the United States before the upcoming World War III.

4. Biden Administration Passes CHIPS & Science Act to Bring Tech Back to US Soil from China

Even better news than the Powers that Be waking up to the toxicity of TikTok is the fact that our allegedly Left-Wing, allegedly Pro-Labor, allegedly Pro-Working Class government managed to pass legislation – the CHIPS and Science Act – bringing back a handful of high-tech manufacturing and engineering jobs to U.S. soil that had previously been outsourced to China and other locations in Asia where costs were low, but the necessary skilled labor was readily available. This is FANTASTIC news, not just because we might actually be able to have “Made in America” stamped on computers, smartphones, and game consoles, but because it makes the United States less dependent on one of its biggest enemies.

3. Microsoft to Acquire Activision-Blizzard

In 2022, Microsoft announced its intention to purchase Activision (also known as Activision-Blizzard-King) for an unholy number of billions. Acti-Blizz has been on the outs among gamers for a number of years due to predatory monetization and a dismissive attitude regarding gamers’ vocal hatred of mobile games, so the fact that Microsoft wants to buy them and clean house is great news. Microsoft, though, has also been historically on the outs with gamers, with the anchor of the Xbox Division around its neck, failing to turn a profit for decades. Even for gamers with short memories, the Xbox One – known as the XBONE – was an industry flop that gained nothing but derision. However, the ‘new’ Microsoft has been putting on a more customer-friendly face as of late, garnering a flock of Fanboys for probably the first time in Xbox Division history, who can’t stop singing the praises of Gamepass.

It’s still too early to know if Microsoft will actually be allowed to acquire Activision, or if Sony will be able to block the merger. Even if the merger goes through, it’s WAY too early to tell whether anything at Activision will change for the better, or if it will give Microsoft an excuse to change for the worse.

2. Square-Enix Dumps its Western Divisions

Square-Enix, a merger of two companies that used to rank among the MJ Crew’s absolute favorite developers and/or publishers, has been struggling mightily for quite some time. It, like so many Japanese game makers, failed to adapt to the HD era during the 7th Generation, and in light of Western game makers’ success in the vacuum left by the Japanese during that time period, decided to purchase some struggling Western studios of its own. The results were decidedly mixed, with Square-Enix’s versions of Eidos and Crystal Dynamic churning out a lot of mediocre, forgettable slop. Having rediscovered some modicum of modern success with the IPs and genres that made them, however, Square-Enix made the big decision in 2022 to cut-loose the dead weight of the Western division and sold it to Embracer Group (formerly THQ-Nordic).

Of course, with the stuff that Square-Enix has been releasing and teasing recently, like “Final Fantasy Origin” and “Final Fantasy 16,” the company looks like the Japanese division is set to churn out mediocre slop of its own for the foreseeable future.

1. Steam Deck Launches, World Says, “Yay!”

In 2022, Valve’s Steam Deck hybrid PC/Console/Handheld toy became readily available, and the gaming audience just can’t get enough of it! The Steam Deck marks Valve’s first truly successful hardware endeavor, after backing the obscenely-good-but-tragically-ignored Razer Hydra and Steam Controller, as well as the completely-non-newsworthy Steam Machines movement. Of course, the Steam Deck is a Steam Machine, just designed in-house and sold exclusively by Valve itself, ensuring that the user experience will have the console-style quality and uniformity that still remains just beyond the reach of most PC hardware manufacturers. The Steam Deck is shaping up to be the definitive Switch Killer, even possessing the ability to play emulated Switch games, which might just force Nintendo to release a new console sooner rather than later.

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