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The 10 Biggest Gaming Stories Of 2023

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With the year almost behind us, it's hard not to look back at 2023 with conflicted feelings. It was a fantastic year for gamers at home with great tentpole releases from PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo, and some excellent indies, too. For years to come, we will all likely argue that 2023 was one of the best – if not the best – year for games. But it was also a terrible year for the people who make games, with more than 10,000 developers laid off, studios closed, and more.

Between big video game releases, a heartbreaking amount of layoffs, record-breaking acquisitions and box office reports, and more, 2023 contained plenty of news stories that had us talking for weeks, speculating on the future of the industry, and reshaping how we view game development. Here are the 10 biggest gaming news stories of 2023.

10​

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PlayStation Cancels Naughty Dog’s Last Of Us Multiplayer Project, A First-Party Rarity​


In June 2022, Naughty Dog revealed that
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. In May of this year,
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while also teasing its work on a new single-player experience. But then, a few months later,
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, with reports stating the Last of Us multiplayer project was "on ice." Between the layoffs and reports about the game's developments, players realized this game might be further out than expected.

Naughty Dog surprised many earlier this month, though, when it announced
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. In hindsight, this isn't the most shocking development, but to see an announced PlayStation first-party game go through a public cancelation like this is extremely rare – first-party games get canceled, but usually, before the game reaches the point of being a publicly announced project – and that's why it was one of the biggest stories of the year.

9​

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PlayStation Boss Steps Down, Xbox Boss Steps Up​


Both PlayStation and Xbox had tremendous years. The former launched
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, its
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, and its remote handheld device,
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, and it had great releases like
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and
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. Xbox, via Microsoft,
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, launched
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, released
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, surprise-dropped
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, and more.

Both of these companies also went through some significant executive shake-ups. PlayStation head
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after over 30 years at Sony. He was appointed Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CFO in 2018 and will officially depart from the position and company next spring.

A month later,
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, with Microsoft corporate vice president Sarah Bond being promoted to Xbox president and Microsoft head of studios and corporate vice president Matt Booty becoming president of game content and studios. Chief marketing officer Chris Capossela announced he was stepping down from Microsoft after 32 years, with Microsoft executive vice president and commercial chief marketing officer Takeshi Numoto now holding the role. Elsewhere in the reorganization, Yusuf Mehdi was promoted to Microsoft executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer. Microsoft’s consumer sales organization has been moved to the Microsoft Gaming CEO's team, led by Ami Silverman.

It's rare to see such massive executive shake-ups within PlayStation and Xbox. But both companies experienced big changes in 2023, and it was hard to ignore and speculate how these might impact the future.

8​

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Video Game Adaptations Break Out Into The Mainstream​


Look, there are a good bit of great video game adaptations throughout the years – Game Infomer's very own Blake Hester claims there are five good Resident Evil movies – but it's hard not to look at 2023 and call it the best year for video game adaptations.

On the movie side, we got the heavy hitter of the year's adaptations in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which we enjoyed –
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. It didn't take long for that April premiere to become
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after having the best opening for an animated film. It became the top opening film of 2023, too, and Illumination's most successful opening ever. Plus, it had the best opening for any video game film adaptation ever and had the biggest five-day premiere ever, a record previously held by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And if that's not enough, The Super Mario Bros. Movie had the biggest IMAX opening weekend of all time at $21.6 million globally. It ended its box office reign after making a colossal $1.36 billion in its theatrical run, and while a sequel hasn't been confirmed,
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.

But the year of great adaptations began with HBO's The Last of Us, which debuted in January. The first season covered the events of the first game (and its Left Behind DLC), and
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, which is
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. We loved the first season and can't wait to see how it adapts
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(which is getting
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next month). It seems we aren't alone either –
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, and viewers stuck around for the entire season.

Sony stepped into the box office ring in August with
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, which audiences seemed to like, with the movie having
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.

Elsewhere throughout this great year of adaptations,
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and
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, a great follow-up to the streaming services'
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. Here's hoping 2024 follows suit.

7​

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Rockstar Games Finally Reveals Grand Theft Auto VI​


Developer Rockstar Games'
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.
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, initially released in
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, accounts for over half of those sales. Between its PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 launch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One port in
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(with a PC debut that year, too), and last year's
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, Grand Theft Auto V reached $1 billion in retail sales faster than any entertainment release in history. Plus, in both dollar sales and units sold, Grand Theft Auto V is the best-selling game of the 2010-20 decade in the U.S. To sum it up, Grand Theft Auto is the video game juggernaut.

For that reason and more, millions of players have been patiently awaiting a sequel. In early December, Rockstar tweeted that
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, and it didn't take long for that to become the most-liked gaming tweet of all time. That trailer was set to go live on December 5 at 9 a.m. ET, but it leaked online the night before. Rockstar acted fast, taking down the leaked trailer and
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.

Today, the Grand Theft Auto VI reveal trailer has more than 150 million views, and
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– it surpassed 100 million views in less than a day – in the process, too.

Grand Theft Auto VI, like its predecessor, will likely take over the gaming sphere when it launches in 2025 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, and we can't wait.

6​

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It’s Baldur's Gate 3's World – We’re Just Living In It​


Game Informer has had its eyes on Baldur's Gate 3 for years,
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to the game's Early Access.
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in Early Access,
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. When Baldur's Gate 3 finally launched in August on PC, it scored one of our highest scores of the year –
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– and eventually made its way high up on
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.

If you were online at all during August of this year, it's likely you encountered some kind of praise for Baldur's Gate 3 – people, both fans of RPGs and newcomers alike, fell in love with developer Larian Studios' latest. It took over the month of August. And its
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, which made the game a PlayStation 5 console-exclusive for a few months, only heightened the game's reception as more players stepped into the Forgotten Realms.

Then,
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for The Game Awards 2023,
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. The same night it won that prestigious award,
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, closing out its massive year with a bang.

5​

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Charles Martinet Says Goodbye To Voicing Mario​


If you played Super Mario Bros. Wonder this year,
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, you might have noticed that Mario and Luigi sound different. That's because
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, who has voiced Mario for over 25 years. He became the voice of Mario (and various others in the Mushroom Kingdom) starting with Super Mario 64 in 1996, but said goodbye this year to become a new position at Nintendo: Mario Ambassador. We later learned that
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, who did a great job filling Martinet's shoes in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

For more about the game, which graced the cover of a Game Informer issue earlier this year,
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.

4​

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E3 Is Officially Dead​


The last in-person E3 happened in
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. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened,
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, and it
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. The
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, and
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, too. While the writing was on the wall for years, E3 organizer Entertainment Software Association announced earlier this month that
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. Be sure to read Game Informer's
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.

3​

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Unity Breaks The Trust Of Game Developers​


Unity, the popular video game development engine, announced on September 12 that it was updating its pricing and packaging plans.
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included a fee that activates and charges developers of high-performing games each time a user or player installs the title, and it didn't take long for developers to point out various issues with this policy, all of which felt like punishment for those making games.

With these changes, Unity provoked the ire of social media channels and blogs from developers worldwide, with many stating they'd be dropping Unity and moving to other development platforms.
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. Fortunately, Unity eventually walked back some of these changes, but for many, the damage was done, with developers questioning how they could ever trust Unity again. A few weeks later,
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.

2​

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Microsoft’s Record-Breaking Acquisition of Activision Blizzard (And Its Court Leaks, Too)​


Xbox's first-party studio lineup in 2017 consisted of five studios and a publishing arm: Rare, Turn 10, 343 Industries, The Coalition, Mojang Studios, and Xbox Game Studios Publishing. Now, six years later, Microsoft owns more than 50 studios, thanks to its various acquisitions over the years. That number was bolstered heavily in October after
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– Xbox is home to all 19 of Activision Blizzard's studios and King's 11 mobile game studios now, too.

This purchase is the largest video game acquisition in history, so it's not surprising that it became one of the year's biggest stories. Read
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for a more detailed breakdown of how everything went down.

This acquisition is also why Xbox's massive leaks occurred in September after Microsoft accidentally provided federal courts with confidential (and not redacted) documents that the public could view. In those documents (some of which should be taken with grains of salt due to having potentially out-of-date information), we learned
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at one point, that
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, that it
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, and that
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.

1​

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The Best Year For Games And The Worst Year For Those Who Make Them​


This year was arguably the best of all time for video games; it was undoubtedly one of the worst for the people who make them. Throughout the year, studios were shut down, thousands laid off, and developers were given, disrespectfully, 30 seconds to shine on The Game Awards 2023 stage after winning awards. More than 10,000 developers were laid off in 2023, and depressingly, it felt like we wrote a story about studio layoffs once a week.

In January,
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amidst its
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, which
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.

Striking Distance Studios, the team behind last year's
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, laid off
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in August. That same month, Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer
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, including long-time studio veterans. The following month, in September,
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developer
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, and
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.

In October, The Last of Us developer
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, and
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also underwent layoffs, although an actual number of affected employees has not yet been revealed. Dreams developer
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in late October.

In November,
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,
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,
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, and
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.

Just this month,
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, and earlier in the year,
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, a studio with more than 30 years of development history. A few weeks before the holidays, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering owner
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.

The games industry will surely feel the effects of such a horrific year for years to come. The hearts of the Game Informer staff are with everyone who's been affected by layoffs or closures this year.


Let us know in the comments below what you think the biggest gaming story of 2023 was.

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