As 2014 is winding down, it’s finally time to take a look at some of the most important video game happenings from throughout the year. This year we had everything from the Oculus acquisition to the highly controversial #GamerGate topic. Below are the top 4 trends that shook the video game industry in 2014:
Facebook buys Oculus
Back in April, social media giant Facebook announced that it would be acquiring Oculus VR, makers of the famous Oculus Rift headset for $2 billion. This came as a huge shock to the gaming community: why would a social media company buy a virtual reality company? Facebook’s answer, from CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself, was along the lines of “we want to revolutionize how people in the real world interact with the virtual world”.
Many people have questioned the future of Oculus since the acquisition - but only time will tell whether Oculus will accel with more funding under its roof, or if Facebook will let Oculus fade away into the dark, like many of its other past acquisitions.
Amazon invests into more gaming
2014 was a big year for Amazon and gaming. Early in the year was the company’s foray into set-top-box gaming with the Fire TV. Launched as a competitor to Apple TV and Roku, the Fire TV put an emphasis on casual gaming on your television with a controller, hundreds of games from the app store, and a Snapdragon processor.
Around the same time, Amazon announced it would be upping its investment in in-house video game development, hiring well-known developers like Clint Hocking and Kim Swift.
Finally, Amazon announced its nearly $1 billion acquisition of popular video game live-streaming platform Twitch in August.
The father of video games passes away
Just earlier this month, Ralph Baer, known as “the father of video games”, passed away at the age of 92. His impact on the word has been huge - first starting with the Brown Box, which was later released as a consumer video game console in 1972 called the Magnavox Odyssey.
Other highlights throughout his life included development of the light gun and creation of the wildly popular memory game, Simon. Baer earned 150 patents throughout his life and has received a National Medal of Technology and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
One of the most popular topics among all of the 2014 controversial “gates” scandals was #GamerGate, which explored sexual harassment in video game culture and ethical issues in video game journalism, amidst a generally male-dominant industry.
The whole issue started when female indie game developer Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend alleged that she had a romantic relationship with a well-known journalist at Kotaku in order to get favorable reviews about her newly released video game, Depression Quest. The anonymous community then proceeded to harass and threaten her in a number of misogynistic ways. Support for Quinn from within the gaming industry soon followed, and everything blew up from there - many of the women received death threats, threats of violence, and leaks of their personal information.