2016 was a massive year for gaming in many ways. A lot of great games were released (vote for your favourites of the year here). The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV finally hit shelves. Production of the Xbox 360 was finally discontinued, but the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Xbox One S, PlayStation 4 Slim, PlayStation VR, and PlayStation 4 Pro all launched. The "year of VR" may have been underwhelming, but the Tokyo Game Show and the Pokémon and Tomb Raider franchises turned 20, while Blizzard celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Outsider investment in esports skyrocketed, and Splash Damage was acquired by a Chinese chicken meat company. Activision Blizzard acquired Major League Gaming, and GOG.com launched Games in Development, its own early access program.
We also got a slew of video game-based films and tie-ins: Ratchet & Clank, The Angry Birds Movie, Warcraft, Dead Rising: Endgame, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, and in the States at least, Assassin's Creed.
Naturally, there was turmoil as well: Driveclub developer Evolution Studios was shut down by Sony Computer Entertainment (fortunately, most found a home at Codemasters), Lionhead Studios was closed by Microsoft, Disney Infinity creator Avalanche Software was shut down by Disney Interactive Studios, Sleeping Dogs studio United Front Games was put down, and Ubisoft Casablanca won't be playing it again if you get my drift.
The games media landscape continued to be dramatically terraformed by gamers and publishers alike. Electronic Arts held its first fan-orientated public event named EA Play, as more and more developers sought to bypass traditional media gatekeepers and speak directly to fans. YouTube remained ascendant, and GameTrailers shut its viewing rooms for good. We partnered with Mighty Ape.
It's probably a bit soon to know where 2016 sits in the grand scheme of things, but it's safe to say it's been a terrific year for gamers, and on that positive note on behalf of all the GP volunteers I'd like to thank you all for reading and supporting Gameplanet throughout 2016. Have a happy non-denominational holiday. a Merry Christmas if you are celebrating it right now, a great holiday break if you are getting one, and have a fantastic New Year's Eve. I'm heading to the far north for a look before GP HQ relocates from Auckland to Wellington in the New Year, but I'm hoping to relax in front of a few games before GP returns on January 9. We have a couple of updates for you in the interim so make sure you check the homepage every day and click on every ad the usual 30-50 times, but also remember to stay safe and game like your life depends on it.
See you next year!