The New Year is here and it's time to look back at gaming 2008. Of course, there are the obligatory top 10 lists circulating around and I'll cover those below.
For now, let's focus on the fact that despite an economic meltdown the video game biz did $22 billion in US sales as opposed to $18 billion in 2007. The three consoles reached maturity and developers are now pumping out quality AAA titles that take full advantage of the power inside PS3 and X360. The Wii continued to dominate and pull in new gamers while Wii Fit gives people at least the semblance of a workout. All in all, exciting times.
What's the Lunabean game of the year?, you may ask. Well, we don't have one. We don't feel that there was any game in 2008 that would warrant consideration for game of the year. Of course, dear reader, you may say that doesn't make sense, that you have to choose a game of the year from the games available in 2008. I would respond, "no we don't." There were many good games, just nothing that should get a prize or recognition beyond a, "yeah, that game was fun," mention.
Just because we're party poopers doesn't mean that you have to go without games of the year. So here they are, conveniently assembled by Kotaku:
My favorite of course being Zero Punctuation's
Although it's not specifically videogame news, it is big news when the second largest US electronics retailer seeks court approval under their bankruptcy filing to liquidate the stock of their remaining 567 stores.
Obviously, this is tragic news for the 34,000 employees of Circuit City, particularly at a time of such economic turmoil. It also means that the huge red Circuit City stores will be left empty...a massive reminder of the times.
There is no word yet on any discounts, particularly in regard to videogames, but we'll keep you updated if there are any great deals to be had.
In the meantime, let's think of all of the people and families that this affects. Perhaps now would be a good time to take a break from gaming and donate some of your time to a shelter, food bank, or blood bank.
The difference is due mainly to the fact that the NPD numbers are console-specific while the MTV numbers have combined all sales for "x" game across all of its platforms.
Here are the top 10 best selling games of 2008 according to NPD:
1. Wii Play w/ remote - Wii – Nintendo – 5.28 million
2. Mario Kart Wii w/ wheel – Wii – Nintendo – 5.00 million
3. Wii Fit w/ balance board – Wii – Nintendo – 4.53 million
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Wii – Nintendo – 4.17 million
5. Grand Theft Auto IV - Xbox 360 – Take-Two – 3.29 million*
6. Call of Duty: World at War - Xbox 360 – Activision – 2.75 million*
7. Gears of War 2 - Xbox 360 – Microsoft – 2.31 million*
8. Grand Theft Auto IV - PS3 – Take-Two – 1.89 million*
9. Madden NFL '09 - Xbox 360 – Electronic Arts – 1.87 million*
10. Mario Kart - DS – Nintendo – 1.65 million
* Includes Collector's, Limited, Legendary, and Bundled Editions
And, here are the top 5 best selling games of 2008 according to MTV:
1. Wii Play 5.28 million
2. Madden NFL '09 5.25 million
3. Grand Theft Auto IV 5.22 million
4. Mario Kart w/ Wheel 5.00 million
5. Call of Duty: World at War 4.63 million
So, you can see that in the MTV numbers GTA IV has 5.22 million, which is pretty much the NPD numbers of X360 (3.29) and PS3 (1.89), which equal 5.18 million. I do wonder, however, in the case of Madden if the MTV numbers include the DS, PSP, and Xbox releases (yes, there was an original Xbox release of Madden '09). I don't consider those the same game, really, as the X360, PS3, and Wii versions. I guess, for that matter, the Wii version is its own game, as well.
In the end, the two things to take away from all of this is that 2008 saw another record breaking year for video game sales and that the Wii is kicking ass.
GameStop is well poised to weather the current economic climate. With a near monopoly on selling used games and used systems, the frugal gamer can get a lot for his or her money. And, that's just what happened.
As this Wall Street Journal article explains, sales of used games are up, accounting for an expected 23% ($2 billion) of revenue for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31.
Add to this mix that during times of economic uncertainty, the populace looks for ways to escape. What better way than, for example, 80 hours of Okami gameplay for $30? Of course, you do still need to get out and look for a job...
Speaking of great deals during times of economic woe, The LunaPass is the best value in videogame walkthroughs!
For those of you who gave the big 'WTF?' to the ending of Prince of Persia there will be an Epilogue available for download on the X360 and PS3 on Feb. 26. No word on pricing yet.
"The DLC will develop the relationship between the Prince and Elika following the end of the game and will give additional narrative elements. Also, players will discover the immense and once glorious Underground Palace which is now corrupted and where danger awaits every corner." according to Associate Producer Jamal Rguigui, via IGN.
Most interesting to me are the elements that they've added which, I think, will make the game feel more like a Prince of Persia game from the first trilogy.
The first of these is Elika's new power, "Energize," which temporarily makes previously destroyed areas accessible. This has an obvious relation to the all of the time-shifting that went on in the first trilogy.
Second is the "Sprinting Clash," attack whereby the prince can surprise enemies. This not only brings some much needed additional fighting to the game, but is reminiscent of speed kills that made the first trilogy able to be played almost in a "Splinter Cell" stealth manner...which I loved.
Finally, the enemies are tougher and the traps are more complicated, meaning that you'll actually have to get good at the game to be successful.
I don't know about you, but it feels to me that this is the game they should have put out in the first place, instead of the watered-down, albeit pretty, game they did put out.