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2023: What a Year It’s Been

It’s that time of the year where I start thinking about Christmas guides. And man, 2023 has been something special.


We look back at 1998 and 2004 and we remember them as years where gaming evolved. Title after title that defined a generation – and an entire industry. And, you know, I think 2023 may just end up being one of them.

Granted, it’s hard to tell. One of the important things about those two years is longevity. Metal Gear Solid, Ocarina of Time, Half-life, Resident Evil 2, Pokemon Red and Blue, Grim Fandango, Banjo-Kazooie and Starcraft all came out in 1998. And you could put any single one of those titles on today, 25 years later, and still see why they were so special.

And it’s hard to spot that kind of longevity ahead of time. We’re still in the middle of the hype. Will people still be looking back on the likes of Hi-Fi Rush, Hogwarts Legacy, Resident Evil 4 Remake, Jedi: Survivor, Tears of the Kingdom, Diablo 4, Street Fighter 6, Final Fantasy XVI, Remnant 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, Lies of P, Spiderman 2, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Mario Wonder and Starfield?

On the face of it, that year looks stacked. Something for everybody. And, obviously, that’s just a selection of games that stood out to me as I went through a list. They were the biggest, but they were by no means the only. For the first time since this generation launched, I am wondering how in the hell you play all these big games.

But there’s one obvious thing when you compare 1998 to 2023. Look how few original games there were this year. A lot of the hype has been around sequels, not original IPs.

And, on top of that, many of the games were due in 2022, but were delayed. That’s created an artificially strong 12 months, as opposed to a weaker 2022.

2023 – A Hell of A Year

But despite those two caveats, there’s no denying that this has been a spectacular year for gamers. Barely a month has gone by that hasn’t had something incredible to play, and often before you get to boot it up, something else comes along.

And obviously, we’ll all be writing up our thoughts on the year in more detail between now and Christmas. In fact, my yearly look at the state of each console and PC will be coming sooner rather than later. That’s for those considering making big purchases through December.

But before all the holiday guide madness, I wanted to take a moment to mark what an impressive year this has been.

Will it sit in the history books? I think it depends on who you ask. There have been a lot of big moments this year, hidden within blockbuster game after blockbuster game. It seems that the current popular style of gaming has reached it top potential.

Starting with Portal RTX last December and running throughout this year, we’ve seen hints at what comes next. Granted, few of us could actually play it. But thanks to things like frame generation, a lucky few have hit the jackpot. That has come into its own in 2023.

We are on the precipice of something new. Our next great year will utilise that to its fullest. 2023 saw Cyberpunk show off raytracing, and games like Immortals of Aveum showed how difficult Unreal 5 is going to be to run. Those are things that will continue to blossom in 2024 and beyond.

Time will tell how 2023 is seen in hindsight. But for now, let’s just enjoy a fantastic 12 months.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott