2008 Winners and Losers
Ah. Another year in the books. And another year for MyGamer. And another occasion for a Winners and Losers article, courtesy of yours truly. It was the third great year in a row in terms of having a relentless blitz of quality games. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t losers! So here it is:
Analysts predict that Nintendo made approximately one zillion dollars this year, with over two million Wii consoles selling this holiday season, and DS Lites selling in similar volume. Yes, after selling a sparse fifteen million Gamecubes not three years ago, Nintendo dominated, and looks to for an indefinite length of time.
Loser- People who Bought Nintendo Stuff:
So, uh…how was Smash Bros. Brawl? The World Ends With You? Or how about all those ported games that came out on the PS2? Because while Nintendo dominated the hardware sales, a magical blend of SNES games, enhanced versions of PS2 games and a whole lot of half-hearted sequels dominated the rankings for the Wii and DS. I don’t know about you, but when my DS and Wii weren’t collecting dust, they were probably being used to play Mario Kart 64 or Pokemon Diamond, respectively. No More Heroes deserves credit for trying to break out of this, even though it fell short of actually doing something special.
Meanwhile, the future’s not looking too bright for either of Nintendo’s tough-to-find gaming platforms, with almost no noteworthy games coming up in 2009. The top ones on my list are Pokemon Platinum and Ghostbusters (assuming it doesn’t get cancelled for a fourth time). The only other particularly noteworthy titles are No More Heroes’ sequel, a remake of Fire Emblem and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Expect the Wii to keep on selling like pot in Massachusetts despite the fact there’s no reason to own one. Yeah, I said it.
Winner- RPG Fans:
No matter what console or handheld you own (other than the Wii), if you like RPGs, 2008 was a good year. PC, PS3 and 360 owners were blessed with the epic Fallout 3. PS2 owners got a dynamic duo of Shin Megami Tenseis. The PSP got a pair of nice Square-Enix games in Star Ocean: First Departure and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The DS got a trio of remakes with Chrono Trigger DS, Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen and Final Fantasy IV. The PS3 got the acclaimed Valkyria Chronicles and a port of the light-hearted Eternal Sonata. And 360 owners? Well, between Fallout 3, Fable 2, Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, Infinite Undiscovery and The Last Remnant, you probably found something you liked. Though, it is worth noting that Square-Enix really didn’t seem to put much effort into things this year. Their Xbox 360 titles felt flawed and half-hearted, and they released a whole hell of a lot of ports. Crisis Core was basically their only great title…and even that had some problems. Still, on the whole, a great year for the RPG lover.
Winner- Fighting Game Fans:
I always work in a shout-out for my fighting game brothers. And this year was a huge one. Our pals over at SNK-Playmore continue to under-promise and over-deliver on their fighting game compilations. Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: HD Remix is a serious Game of the Year contender. Soul Calibur IV was better than many were expecting it to be. Super Smash Bros. Brawl…well…it came out. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe…uh…wasn’t as bad as Mortal Kombat Armageddon, I guess. Oh. And Street Fighter 4 was announced.
I’m not much of a doomsayer…but Sony has a bit of trouble right now. While the toppling of the HD-DVD made Sony one of the biggest winners of 2007, digital distribution is setting in quickly, and the New Xbox Experience, with its Netflix-offered rentable movies, is just one step away from putting the Blu-Ray into the grave. Meanwhile, the PS3 has had some difficulty when it comes to actually selling games. While the A-List titles are competitive, like Grand Theft Auto IV selling over five million on the PS3 to roughly six-and-a-half million on the 360, and the PS3 version of Madden 2009 keeping step with the 360 version, all those big-but-not-huge titles like Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge have the 360 consistently outselling the PS3. And keep in mind just how few high-profile exclusives the PS3 has left. Tekken 6 and Final Fantasy XIII are both 360-bound while some of Sony’s nice exclusives like Valkyria Chronicles and SOCOM just haven’t been selling.
Meanwhile, PS3s and PSPs are not moving at the rate that Sony would like, both being hugely overshadowed by their Nintendo counterparts. And with the Xbox 360 beating out the PS3 in sales, Sony took the third place spot this holiday season. While they picked up some momentum in 2007, it has faded over the past six months, and now it’s seeming like Sony is pretty tightly locked into last place for the remainder of this generation. Granted, things are going differently in Europe and the PS3 has still sold over eighteen million units, but I doubt Sony intended to get on the caboose for this generation after selling 120 million PS2s.
Probably the biggest winner of the year was Nintendo, for totally consolidating their control of the hardware market. Not only did they take this over, but they actually sold games! Mario Kart Wii sold over five million units in America, while Wii Fit and Smash Bros. Brawl almost did the same. Animal Crossing: City Folk and Guitar Hero: World Tour both sold over one and a half million each internationally. Biggest loser has to go to the Nintendo fans, though. The Nintendo-related highlight of my Christmas was getting Wii boxer shorts. All of the above games just about touch the “pretty good” rating, and the Wii just doesn’t have anything to buy.