It has been a fantastic twelve months of gaming, filled with blockbuster titles, indie gems, product innovation, media release records and more fun than conceivable. More importantly, it saw companies that primarily targeted core gamers going casual, with products such as Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move. Ultimately, commercial success will determine the winner and loser in that battle, but a step was made in the right direction and this is significant. But who were the real winners this year? Why, the gamers, of course. From Mass Effect 2 in January up until Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood in late November, everything in between and a Duke Nukem: Forever announcement, gamers have had absolutely nothing to complain about. But which platform was the real star of the year? Read on to find out.
A solid year
The Sony Playstation had a solid year, with both the PS3 and PSP sporting a neat collection of exclusives. The Playstation 3 started the year strongly with ‘interactive drama' title, Heavy Rain, a game that was disturbing, immersive and superbly cinematic. Heavy Rain showed that the lines between passive and interactive mediums were thinning — possibly to the point of obscurity. We then had the most anticipated PS3 game of all time: God of War III, which delivered every bit as promised. An all-out super-violent action game, GoW III pleased fans of the franchise and then some. The PS3 finished the year off in dramatic fashion with the release of Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 5, possibly the most authentic racing game ever developed. Often difficult to separate from real-life footage GT5 sported a huge collection of licensed cars, including the Pagani Zonda R and Sebastian Loeb's own Citroen C4 rally car. The launch of Playstation Move was a significant moment in the life of the PS3, which was finally made accessible to casual and non-gamers. The PS3's smaller, older cousin, the PSP enjoyed a fair number of exclusive titles as well, including Metal Solid: Peace Walker, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Valkyria Chronicles II and Persona 3. All in all, it was a great year for Playstation. Microsoft, however, was pretty keen to spoil the party.
The X360 enjoyed just as good a year as any in its history. More SKUs, top-class exclusive titles and product innovation par excellence. The ‘slim' Elite console eliminates hardware issues that were synonymous with the original white box, while adding in-built wi-fi support and a bigger hard drive. A better console also means better games, and Bungie did not disappoint with one of the best shooters of the year in the form of Halo: Reach. Other platform exclusives included Mass Effect 2, Alan Wake, Fable III and Splinter Cell: Conviction but one would argue that it was the year-end release of Xbox Kinect that was the real star of the show, a product that managed to garner critical acclaim as well as turn out commercially successful. So what was the best platform of the year? Honestly, it's simply too tough to call, so we're leaving that up to you.