2020 was a crazy year filled with ups and downs. As the Covid-19 pandemic took countless lives and locked us all at home. The video game industry worked hard to keep us sane and connected. We want to look back and honor some of the biggest moments in gaming from 2020. Some of the events over the year that will have a lasting impact on the industry for years to come.
In the months and weeks leading up to the release of both Animal Crossing New Horizons and Doom Eternal, each community came together to celebrate the simultaneous release. The crossover community content became a viral sensation during the later parts of the winter. By the time March 20th arrived both games would become the first major release during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Fans of both would have to deal with whether or not their local stores would open. Animal Crossing New Horizons would go on to become the most popular game during the pandemic. The high sales would create a Switch console shortage, as many stuck at home turn to video games for entertainment. This was the beginning of a strange year in gaming, making March 20th one of the biggest moments in gaming from 2020
Microsoft Announces Intent To Acquire ZeniMax Media
The largest acquisition in video games history. Microsoft acquires ZeniMax Media and all of its subsidiaries. Overnight IP’s like Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, and many more join the ranks of Xbox IP. Along with the franchise, seven new studios would join the Microsoft first-party lineup.
The $7.5 billion in cash would be nearly double what Disney paid for the Star Wars brand. Plus nearly four times what new Mets owner Steve Cohen would pay for the team and its stadium in 2020. The Xbox brand has nearly doubled in size with the 2,300 employees coming over. Ranging from AAA talent working on the new Elder Scrolls. To small mobile and VR teams.
June 11th PS5 Future of Gaming Event
In April 2019 Mark Cerny would meet with the team over at Wired to detail what they were planning on doing with the PlayStation 5. Over the next 14 months, fans of the PlayStation platform wouldn’t even get so much as a peek into what games Sony had prepared for the PS5 launch. Covid-19 would bring havoc to everyone’s plans during 2020 and Sony’s E3 plans would shift to an all-digital event. The event would become one of the most anticipated live streams in video game history. A surpassing over 80 million views within its first week. The showcase brought 25 game announcements and our first look at the PS5 console. Solidifying it as one of the top moments from 2020.
PAX East 2020
From February 27th through March 1st the video game industry would come under one roof for the final time in the foreseeable future. The press and public would get their hands on Animal Crossing New Horizons, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Genshin Impact, and hundreds of indie games. Games like Maneater, Streets of Rage 4, and Fall Guys would show very well leading up to their successful 2020 launches. PAX East 2020 would be the one and only time the video game industry would meet in person during 2020. Without a significant change in direction a convention in 2021, is extremely unlikely.
Congresswomen Play Among US
On October 21st, Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar made a splash on social media by appearing on Twitch with popular streamers. The event would be a pinnacle moment from 2020 as it was a high point for both Among Us, one of the most popular games of the year. As well as a top moment for Twitch and its high profile streamers. Dr. Lupo, Pokimane, Jacksepticeye, Corpse Husband, and others participated in the live stream as the group played a few hours of Among Us. Viewership of the stream passed just over 435,000 concurrent views. A significant feat, nearly approaching the 667,000 concurrent view record, held by Ninja. Making this one of the biggest moments in gaming from 2020.
Xbox Series X July Xbox Series Games Showcase
On July 23rd, Xbox made 30 Xbox Series X console game-related announcements. New games, ports, and gameplay updates alike were used to showcase the power of the Xbox Series X console. Xbox came into the event with the hot hand. They have the more powerful console, they have a huge day one Title in Halo ready to go. Then it all fell apart.
The Halo Infinite gameplay trailer became the laughing stock of the industry and led to the creation of the meme Craig. The unpolished Halo Brute. The Halo gameplay really took away from all of the other announcements as the Xbox community became divided on the direction of the franchise. The callbacks to the original trilogy will bring back departed fans but alienate some of the game’s current base. Not to mention the trailer’s inability to showcase the new hardware with its unfinished level environments. This would lead to a one year delay of Xbox’s most important Series X title.