January is almost always a slow month for gamers. With the barrage of holiday games in late November and early December, it’s become an expected norm. As the years go by, that’s slowly changed, even after the recent glut of games thanks to nobody wanting to compete with Black Ops and AC: Brotherhood. February has been oh so similar, with just a few major releases, most of which were slated for the holiday but pushed back.

But this February will be big for gaming. Huge, in fact. In January we were surprised to hear about the Nintendo 3DS and Sony NGP. This month will be even better.

1. Apple will announce the next iPad

As we learned last year, the implications of the next iPad won’t just affect that device. Updates to the iPad will likely be found on the iPhone and iPod Touch later this year too. But hell, news of the next iPad is good news for gaming as a whole, especially with how many new iPad games have released. We’ve reviewed a handful of iPad games already, and expect many more excellent and unique titles in the coming year. Even if that means little to you, it’s huge for the gaming industry, both because we’ll get a sneak peek into the next iPhone and because developers will get their first chance to begin development for the newer, more powerful platform.

2. Killzone 3

I’ve gotta say, there aren’t many games I’m looking forward to. Killzone 2 was badass in so many ways. I enjoyed the heck out of it, as I’m sure many of you did. But Killzone 2 also left us in the middle of the story, and left us hanging. It’s time to go back and finish what Sev, Garza, Rico and Natko started. And hell, if you’ve got the hardware, you can do it all in 3D and with Playstation Move.

3. Microsoft’s X10

When Microsoft brought back X10 last year, it was an unexpected surprise. Last year, the company showed off games like Alan Wake, Halo: Reach, Fable 3, Dead Rising 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Lost Planet 2 and Crackdown 2, plus a slew of smaller Arcade titles. Presumably the software giant hasn’t given up already on the renewed press gathering, we should all expect to see their major game releases for 2011, as well as any updates to the Xbox 360 and the future of the console through the rest of the year. That is, of course, if Microsoft has it at all. Last year I was invited, but this year has been mum so far.

4. Bulletstorm

You played the demo (if you own an Xbox 360 and a Live account). You’ve seen the countless videos. You’ve seen the Twitter posts. This February, the gore fetish game we’ve been waiting for finally arrives, with enough nut-crushing, bone-bashing, blood-gurgling mayhem and excitement for you and the whole family! Brought to you by the fine people at Epic Games and People Can Fly, players will get their chance at not just mutilating and humiliating their foes, but doing so with a grin smeared on their faces, and a steady cha-ching of the point counter.

5. Beyond Good And Evil HD

The cult classic and fan favorite is coming back in a big way this February. Getting the same treatment as other high-profile but older titles like God of War I & II and The Sly Collection, Ubisoft is digitally remastering and remaking Beyond Good And Evil for XBLA and PSN. Which is great, because so many kids these days will only play the latest games, and refuse anything else. With Beyond Good And Evil, they can get a taste for a great game, with the luster of today’s graphics, 5.1 surround and all at a low price. Seriously, what could be better?

6. Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and Motorola Xoom Expected to release

Mobile gaming has been growing exponentially, pushed heavily by Apple and the iPhone. News of the iPad is big, but after CES, seeing what Honeycomb can do on a well-built tablet is exciting, especially if Google’s update makes it more of a tablet than a big phone…without a sim card. Then earlier this month, rumors were that the Xoom, and Honeycomb, would release this month. And if that happens, who knows, gaming on Android tablets could pick up very much like it did on the iPad. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out, but if they’re competing with Apple, that’s only better for us.

7. You Don’t Know Jack

I admit, this one’s personal. You Don’t Know Jack is the best gameshow game I’ve ever played, ever. Nothing else even comes close. I’ve played it for years, but it never really succeeded as it should have. Maybe this time some of you will actually buy the game, play the hell out of it, and force your friends to buy it so you can mop the floor with them online. Seriously, how can you not want to get the funniest trivia game known to mankind?

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.