2008 Review – Part One

Ben Parfitt
2008 Review – Part One

January

Microsoft pledges to reward Xbox Live Gold members after a Christmas of disruption online
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EA wraps up its deal for leading developers BioWare and Pandemic
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The boss of McDonalds blames gaming, not fatty fast-food, for childhood obesity
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SCEJ axes its 20GB and 60GB PS3 models as new 40GB SKU becomes the firm’s main focus
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The demise of HD-DVD begins with Warner’s high-profile defection to Blu-ray
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UK PM Gordon Brown links knife crime to video gaming in what marks the beginning of a politically heated 2008 for gaming
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With the credit crunch yet to besiege global markets, GAME announces a 30 per cent like-for-like sales rise
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The biggest deal in UK games retail gets the nod as the Competition Commission clears GAME’s buyout of Gamestation
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Woolworths predicts a return to profits in 2008
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Jane Cavanagh leads a high profile management exodus at Britsoft publisher SCi
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EA makes a major investment in the microtransactions space by announcing that a brand new free-to-play Battlefireld title is on the way
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A judge blocks Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 from release on the UK High Street
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Lloyd Wigglesworth steps down as MD of Woolies-owned distributor EUK
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Atari makes the shock announcement that David Gardner is to become its new CEO
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February

Income turns to losses as EA posts poor Q3 results
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A new extreme sports era dawns as EA confirms that SKATE outsold established rival Tony Hawk’s by two-to-one
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Long-serving Jim Ward departs troubled games developer LucasArts
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EA announces it has hired legendary film developer Steven Spielberg to make a game for it
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Upcoming Byron Report leads many to fear that Gordon Brown has it in for the games industry
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Popular UK games distributor Just closes its doors
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The hi-def disc war ends as Toshiba pulls the plug on HD-DVD
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The BBFC announces its intentions to take over games ratings duties from PEGI
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Xbox 360’s global install base reaches 18 million
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Industry legend Phil Harrison announces his shock departure from Sony
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The EA and Take 2 saga begins as EA announces its intention to snap up the Grand Theft Auto publisher
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Microsoft eyes up the family following Nintendo’s success in the new market
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Massive losses at SCi lead to radical restructuring
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March

Gaming overtakes music to become the second largest entertainment sector in the UK
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PS3 passes the one million sales mark in the UK
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Controversial Labour MP Keith Vaz tells parliament about games featuring ‘virtual rape’
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Harrison shocks the industry once again by accepting the role of president at Atari
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Take 2 chairman Strauss Zelnick insists his firm is going to remain independent
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Microsoft announces its first, but not final, Xbox 360 price drop of 2008
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The BBFC is forced to grant Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 a release in the UK
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Outspoken EA boss John Riccitiello claims EA is Rockstar’s ‘white knight’
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French publisher Ubisoft snaps up the complete rights to the Tom Clancy franchise
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Take 2 announces that it would consider a ‘strategic partnership’, though relations with EA remain frosty
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The Byron Report arrives, promising a radical shake up of games ratings
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Anne Diamond becomes public enemy number one after a frankly hilarious feature in The Daily Mail
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