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Panorama, Lorraine Kelly and 3DS cliffhanger: 2010 in review - December

Video game addiction "investigations" cause industry-wide storm

'Tis the season to be jolly. Especially if your name's Kazunori Yamauchi, whose fans had seemingly forgiven him for the endless delays and snapped up 5.5 million copies of his latest creation, Gran Turismo 5, in less than a month.

That, along with the ongoing sales of the Move controller left PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai confident PS3 sales this financial year (ending March 31, 2011) will hit 15 million - two million more than it previously expected.

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That said, the Move wasn't doing quite as well as Sony had suggested, as the firm announced a correction to that "4.1 million sold" figure it had touted the previous month; it was 4.1 million "shipped", and that's not nearly the same thing, is it?

Things were winding down for Christmas and all was quite. Then we learned Panorama was about to air a show on video games addiction and the industry braced itself for impact.

Despite the reporter behind the show, Raphael Rowe, telling CVG that gamers should "judge after you've watched" the documentary, UK publisher trade body UKIE waded in saying there's "currently no proven link between video games and addiction".

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That was closely followed by a huge, defensively-toned write-up from World of Warcraft developer Blizzard stating: "Our games are designed to be fun... but like all forms of entertainment... day-to-day life should always take precedence."

All this before the show had even aired.

For the show, Rowe spoke to numerous young players about their gaming 'addiction'. Joe Staley, 21, is said to be 'obsessively addicted' to Call of Duty, engaging in 12 hours sessions or overnighters, while Chris Dando, 19, said he skipped school for weeks at a time to play World of Warcraft.

Of course the show aired and, as expected, was criticised by irate gamers for being one-sided, while Trent Pyro - a friend of Joe Staley - claimed Panorama deliberately misrepresented both himself and Joe through "equal parts scaremongering, misinformation and tactical use of facts" which were used to "support the theme of the piece". We could have written it before it happened.

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Right off the back that hoo-ha, Lorraine Kelly decided she'd have a punt at "investigating" the effects of games on youngsters' lives, by looking for "either a teenager or the parents of a child or teenager whose education or relationships with their family have suffered due to the amount of time they spend on computer games", or "a teenager or the parents of a child or teenager who has acted aggressively or violent towards another person, as a suspected result of playing violent video games."

Because that'd be a balanced argument, wouldn't it...?

Its producers requested CVG post that actual statement along with their email address in a news story. Monumental mistake. You guys battered them so hard we were swiftly asked to replace the email address with a more generic ITV "contact us" address - one that's more easily ignored, we expect. We've heard nothing since. That's our boys, fighting the good fight.

Nintendo finished off the year with a documentary-like cliff-hanger, announcing special 3DS press events taking place on January 19. That's when we expect confirmation on UK and US launch days and software line-ups.

2011. Bring it on.

If a game wasn't out already it was delayed into 2011. But if you're one of those MMO types, there was always World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

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