Feature: The Twelve Stories That Shook PlayStation in 2012 - Part One
Posted by Sammy Barker
On the Richter scale
If you’re reading this then you successfully survived the Mayan’s reported apocalyptic prediction, Christmas dinner, and yet another lousy New Year’s Eve party. But while your freshly erected ‘Cute Kittens’ calendar may be wearing the number 2013, we’re not quite done with the past twelve months just yet. In order to celebrate another year aboard the rollercoaster of PlayStation, we’ve compiled a hit-list (in no particular order) of the hottest stories to grace Sony’s gaming division in 2012.
In this first edition we’ll be looking back at the launch of the PlayStation Vita, the closure of Studio Liverpool, and that time Sony decided to sue company mascot Kevin Butler. Strap yourselves in folks, because you’re in for a bumpy ride.
PlayStation Vita Starts a Handheld Revolution (Sort of)
22nd February proved to be a big day for PlayStation fans across much of the Western world. Already available in Asian territories, Sony promised to initiate a handheld revolution with the release of the PlayStation Vita at the start of the year. However, the impact of the launch was defused by SCEA’s decision to release a First Edition bundle, essentially allowing North American consumers to snap up the system a week early if they purchased a 3G console with a copy of Little Deviants.
Nevertheless, the release prompted large crowds in cities across Europe – particularly in London where WipEout community manager Ami Nakajima stole the headlines with her fetching Feisar costume. Despite the strong turnout, early sales faltered in the UK, where it was reported that the platform had only sold “around one quarter” of the PSP’s record-breaking 185,000 units tally.
Still, the few that did purchase the console were well furnished with software. Sony described the launch line-up as the strongest in PlayStation’s history, and with the inclusion of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Escape Plan, and Super Stardust Delta, it was hard to disagree. The former made its début at the top of the UK sales charts, accompanied by soccer sim FIFA Football.
The impressive line-up wasn’t enough to satisfy the hunger of greedy fans for long, though, as the strong start quickly gave way to a disappointing drought. Gravity Rush and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita eventually awakened the platform from its slumber, but for many the damage was already done. A disappointing E3 in which the platform holder barely acknowledged the handheld merely compounded the system’s mid-year software woes, though the announcement of Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary at GamesCom offered some hope for 2013.
Quantic Dream Uncages New PlayStation 3 Content
After weeks of rumours, Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream eventually emerged from its secretive shadows at the Game Developer’s Conference in March with a new technology demo called Kara. The staggering short – starring US actress Valorie Curry – depicted the production of a commercial cyborg capable of sentient understanding. Despite the futuristic concept appearing well realised, director David Cage insisted that the video was not indicative of his studio’s next project. He wasn’t lying.
As E3 approached, rumours suggested that Quantic Dream was preparing to announce its next big PlayStation 3 release. Sources claimed that the game would feature a recognised Hollywood actress, which the developer later revealed to be Ellen Page. The game – Beyond: Two Souls – promised a personal tale about the life of Jodie Holmes, a young woman hunted by government officials due to her association with a mysterious figure named Idan.
Despite the project’s official announcement in June, the studio has still yet to show much of the game. Hopefully, that will change in 2013.
Sony Forecasts Cloudy Outlook with Gaikai Acquisition
Prior to E3, sources sent shockwaves through the industry by claiming that Sony was about to complete the acquisition of a major cloud service provider. While commercial platform OnLive was one of the earliest names touted, it later became clear that Gaikai was the company’s target. However, while rumours suggested that the deal was set to be announced during the Los Angeles tradeshow, the event passed without a mention of any outstanding buyouts. In fact, Gaikai’s gaffer Dave Perry even took the opportunity to dismiss the rumours, describing the speculation as based on a bunch of “random events”. Less than a month later, Sony announced that it had acquired the firm for $380 million.
Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House said that the partnership would expand the potential of PlayStation beyond games
It’s still not immediately obvious what the platform holder intends to do with the company, but it has frequently hinted that preparations are being made behind the scenes. Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House said that the partnership would expand the potential of PlayStation beyond games at the Tokyo Game Show in September, but failed to elaborate further on the quote. Meanwhile, the platform holder recently overhauled Gaikai’s website with PlayStation iconography and the following statement: “As a new member of the Sony Computer Entertainment family, we're working even harder to ensure the world's best entertainment content is delivered instantly to you, no matter where you are in the world.” The wait goes on.
Click through to the next page for more hot PlayStation stories from 2012.