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# 15.11.2017 - 07:52:07

Twenty ten. buy cheap wow gold the year that was. In the world of video games, it was a year of incredible growth and change, of death and rebirth. of good and evil.

The year kicked off on a dark note, when in January an American woman murdered her baby son for interrupting a game of Farmville. The popular Facebook game has become synonymous with the rise of casual gaming, and the fabulous success of the free to play business model. Ms. Alexandra Tobias will have plenty of time to consider the ramifications of her addiction to Farmville; she'll be spending a minimum of 25 years behind bars.

But Gaming has also been a force for good. In July, a family car flipped off the road in rural Victoria, and a seven year old boy used his Nintendo DS to save his mother's life. Though upside down, and wreathed in darkness, young Christopher Miszkowiec had the wherewithal to use the light from his hand held gaming system to hunt for the seatbelt latches, allowing him to free his younger brother and his mum Chris later won the Ambulance Victoria Community Hero Award for his incredible bravery.

March was the month of the South Australian elections, and the year that a political party founded for gamers, by gamers challenged the SA Attorney General for his seat in the lower house.

With a name that referenced the heavily censored Left 4 Dead 2, Gamers4Croydon put forward their own candidate to challenge Michael Atkinson for the seat of Croydon. In his role as the SA Attorney General, Atkinson had taken a strident pro censorship, anti gaming stance, and had prevented the introduction of a R18+ rating for games.

Atkinson kept his seat, and Gamers 4 Croydon only stole a few percentage points from him; yet the controversial figure chose that moment to step down from his role as the state's top lawmaker.

While Atkinson's days of anti gaming obstructionism are behind him, Australia remains the only first world nation without an 'adults only' category. A consultation process was conducted this year, with 98% of the 70,000+ public submissions in favour of R18+ rated games; yet the standing committee of attorneys general have so far ignored this response.

2010 was a year of many sackings and redundencies. Infinity Ward studio founders Jason West and Vince Zampella became folk heroes overnight when Activision fired them for alleged insubordination. Activision went public with a huge laundry list of complaints against the creators of the Call of Duty franchise, but it's telling that West and Zampella were let go just before they were due to be paid massive performance bonuses for Modern Warfare 2. Together with dozens of other disgruntled former Infinity Ward employees, the pair are now suing for their fair share of the takings from one of the most profitable video games in history.

West and Zampella have also formed a new studio with the help of Activision's arch rival Electronic Arts. Their new outfit is called. wait for it. Respawn Entertainment.

Speaking of disgruntled employees, 2010 was also a year of unhappy spouses. A collective of the wives of staff at Rockstar San Diego published an open letter seeking 'compensation for health, mental, financial, and damages'. The Rockstar Spouses slammed the poor working conditions of their husbands: 12 hour days, six day weeks, and a management climate that 'turned workers into machines' and 'robbed them of their humanity.'

2010 was the year the console war became a war of attrition. For decades, the accepted rule of thumb was that a new console 'generation' would launch every five years. Were this still the case, Microsoft and Sony would've been about due to unveil all new machines this Christmas. Instead, they launched motion sensing add ons for the 360 and the PS3, dubbed Kinect and Move.

While Sony's new controller wand was similar to the Wii Remote, Microsoft's was more ambitious: an array of cameras and microphones that could eliminate the need to hold a controller altogether. The proprietary innards of the Kinect were hacked within hours of the peripheral's launch, and amateur robotics hobbyists worldwide are already giddy with anticipation over its potential uses; until now, an integrated sensor matrix of this nature would have cost many thousands of dollars.

12 years in the making, StarCraft II finally made its way to retail in July this year or at least, a third of the game did. Whether to maximise profits, or to maximise the end user experience, the sequel to the biggest RTS of all time was split into three chunks, and only the Terran campaign reached escape velocity this year. Those hoping to play through the Zerg and Protoss campaigns will have a while to wait.

But the real controversy for Blizzard broke when the elite developer tried to make the 'Real ID' system compulsory in its web forums. This would have forced gamers to use their real life names instead of made up aliases when discussing games such as World of Warcraft and StarCraft Ghost online.

After a massive public outcry, Blizzard reluctantly conceded that the system would be a bonanza for stalkers, putting under aged and female gamers at a heightened risk of. unwanted attention. Real ID was dropped.

The internet doesn't just allow gamers to interact, it also allows them to shop 2010 was definitely the year of DLC. In the United States, sales of downloadable games overtook retail sales for the first time ever. It was also the year of Facebook gaming, with the net worth of Farmville publisher Zynga eclipsing that of the old school juggernaut Electronic Arts.

The number of World of Warcraft subscribers hit 12 million, and there are now over 30 million registered users on Steam, Valve's digital download store for PC and Mac.

But perhaps more significantly, 2010 was the year that gaming went viral. Freed from the shackles of bricks and mortar shops, and nourished by the dynamic lifter of social networking, games could finally attract a market directly proportional to their infectious appeal.

A case in point: Minecraft. This open world game of exploration and architecture was created by just one man, an eccentric Swede by the name of Markus Persson, or 'Notch' to his friends. Yet Minecraft raked in so much money, so quickly, that Notch got into trouble with Paypal when he earned over $800,000 in just one week.

The game still hasn't officially left alpha, but has already made over half a million sales. To help manage this blitz of success, Notch has founded his own boutique studio in downtown Stockholm; the super troopers on his staff recruited from the elite of the Nordic dev scene.

Contrast that fabulous success with All Points Bulletin, the failed MMO from RealTime Worlds. Masterminded by David Jones, the original creator of Grand Theft Auto, this online cops sim took five years and one hundred million dollars to create. Yet APB went offline less than two months after launch few chose to subscribe to the buggy, laggy mess.

When it comes to ghosts of the 20th century, nothing can top Duke Nukem Forever. First announced in 1997, the long delayed FPS was beyond a joke when its developer shut down production last year. Entrepreneur George Broussard burned through 30 million dollars of his personal fortune, but no matter how many graphics engine overhauls they went through, he was never satisfied. In '09, it looked like the irreverent franchise was gone for good.

But the Duke lives! A tiny core team of ex 3D Realms devs kept the dream alive, working on the prodigal FPS in their homes, hoping for a saviour. That saviour was Texas developer Gearbox, and the release date is no longer 'When it's done' it's now '2011'.

Hail to the king, baby!

Alas, the end of the decade was also the end of an era, with the implosion of Krome Studios. Once one of the largest independent developers in the world, the Brisbane based company was also a white knight of the local scene; in recent years Krome bought out the troubled studio Melbourne House, and created a branch office in Adelaide to employ refugees from Ratbag.

But large staff overheads, a sparse development pipeline, and a string of poorly received games created a perfect storm, and Krome was forced to lay off most of its staff. A tiny core remains, with contractors drawn from the ranks of the redundant to work on the company's remaining projects. This disaster was tragic, but not inevitable for in 2010, other Aussie devs fared better.

Also based in Queensland, Halfbrick rode the DLC wave with hit games like Fruit Ninja, the world beating iPhone app that has now sold over two million copies. Likewise, Firemint in Melbourne has had tremendous success with Flight Control.

Even successful franchises are not immortal. 2010 saw the launch of Halo Reach, the last Halo game from series creator Bungie. The elite Seattle developer has now signed a mammoth 10 year deal with Activision; a mystery project that has yet to coalesce.

So what's in store for the next decade of gaming? Like the ancient god Janus, tomorrow has two faces. The old is becoming new again, as retro hits like Yar's Revenge, Boulder Dash, and Star Raiders rise from their graves. Winning franchises are re used and re "booted", and the game hardware of today lingers on store shelves.
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