Another week, another set of events both big and small which changed the gaming landscape. Even though one of the biggest titles of 2010 wasn't delayed this past week, one of the most anticipated RPGs of the year was finally released to the public to a warm, if not overwhelmingly positive reaction. Add on to that the fact that the first Rock Band 3 review hit the web and there were a couple of quite important sports releases and you have yourself a pretty eventful week. With that in mind, here's a look at the winners and losers of the past 7 days.
Winner: Anyone Who Owns Ad Space
It was revealed at the very beginning of the week that Microsoft would be throwing all of its very considerable weight behind the Kinect in the form of a 500 million dollar ad campaign. This will target everything from the typical TV networks to cereal boxes, parent magazines, and television shows like Glee. Heck, even Oprah got in on the act, giving away Kinects to everyone in her studio audience. With Microsoft pouring so much cash into the launch of their motion-controlled peripheral, if you have any ad-space that can be sold to Microsoft, you are certainly a winner this week.
Loser: Fallout Fans
This one might fall a little bit into the gray area between winners and losers but I'm going to put this one into the loser category. Fallout: New Vegas was released earlier this week to reviews which praised the game for its size and scope but derided it for just being an (albeit very large) expansion pack to Fallout 3.
While it's nice that Bethesda gave gamers an entirely new world to explore, after two years I hope that fans have come to expect a little bit more out of their sequels. Bethesda has released patches already, which bodes well for how much they care about the fans, but I can't help but feel that Fallout fans got a little bit jipped with New Vegas.
Winner: XBLA Gamers
Fans of Microsoft's comparatively inexpensive game distribution service were in for a couple of treats this week. First, they received the near universally lauded Super Meat Boy, which certainly looks like it will be keeping fans busy for the foreseeable future, if only out of frustration and a desire to say they finished it. Secondly, they got what looks to be a pretty cool upcoming title in the form of MicroBots.
I'm a little bit wary to heap praise on EA's digitally distributed title this early in development, but the idea of setting a game inside the human body and having it be dynamically created just sounds really cool. Of course, there's always the possibility that my hopes are dashed and it just turns out to be a lame Geometry Wars clone. Until then though, I will bask in bliss that is my knowledge of the game's potential.
Losers: The Guitar Hero Franchise/Activision
The first Rock Band 3 review hit the web this week and unsurprisingly it was very good, with Harmonix's latest creation being lauded for all of the innovation that it squeezes into one disc. This further proves what we've really known all along: Harmonix is carrying the torch for music games and Guitar Hero is just scrambling along to find its own home in the world.
Although we'll have to wait and see if Rock Band 3 can reinvigorate the flagging music genre, at the very least it forces Activision and the entirety of the Guitar Hero team to step their game up significantly. Also, Rock Band 3's excellence certainly will hurt Activision, as anyone who was on the fence between Warriors of Rock and RB3 would be insane to decide for the former at this point.
Winner: Sports Fans
Normally this is Matt's domain but I'm going to steal a little bit of his thunder for the next hundred words or so. This week saw the release of two sports titles: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 and EA sports MMA. Both titles received good reviews across the board, with a couple even earning quite high marks from various publications. So, what's so special about that? Games get good reviews all the time. Well, since you ask, both of them are in direct competition with already established sports titles (FIFA and UFC Undisputed respectively). While it's certainly nice to have one supremely well executed title in a genre (NHL 2011 being a good example), the presence of stiff competition in both the MMA and soccer spaces can produce nothing but better titles for gamers of all types to play.