As the year draws to a close, we decided to look back at what the gaming industry brought us this last trip around the Sun. The year 2011 was a busy one for major players in the industry, as we witnessed the unveiling and release of new hardware and highly-anticipated titles across all platforms. The market was abuzz with talk of great new entries and favorite franchises returning, and top three console manufactures worked full throttle to improve their systems. Here is a summary of what we saw on the major consoles these past 12 months. First we will start from the Xbox 360 in 2011
Microsoft has always had a strong market for the Xbox 360 in North America, and this year was no different. Worldwide sales for the Xbox 360 amounted to approximately 7.8 million in 2011, with the overall sales crossing 58 million units. The European market also displayed modest sales; however, the console still struggles in Asia. While the year saw a steady stream of releases for the system, it was disappointing to find a very limited exclusive line-up of game titles. The first real exclusive for the system was Gears of War 3, released in September, followed by Forza Motorsport 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Software sales for the console remained relatively high, with Call of Duty: Black Ops sitting triumphantly on top of list at 13.7 million copies in the US alone. The year’s top selling game was undoubtedly Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, followed by Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim and Gears of War 3. Microsoft managed to maintain its grasp on the Western market and is still the preferred console for the first person shooters.
Sony’s mean machine has had quite a year, The PlayStation 3 sales swelled dramatically in 2011, with more than 9.5 million units sold, and crossing a total of 55.7 units to date. The European market was the main contributor in increasing the sale of console this year. With a yearly total of almost 3 million systems, it leads the market in the region by almost one million. A greater push for exclusive content, courtesy of the PS3’s Blu-Ray capabilities, was seen by many publishers, with games like Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Mass Effect 2 Housing more features on their Blu-Ray editions.
On the flip-side, the PlayStation 3 was met with a great deal of criticism, starting with the release of the firmware update, version 3.55, for its system software. Then in April, the infamous PlayStation Network (PSN) blackout was witnessed by users all over the globe.
Title sales were once again dominated by Call of Duty: Black Ops which became the first game on the console to hit t he 10 million mark. While the greatest sales figures of the year were boasted by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which shipped approximately 4.7 million units at the time of writing this article. It was released right at the end of the year. The PlayStation Move accessory also saw greater integration with many PS3 titles such as Resistance 3, Killzone 3, infamous 2 and No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, although its own library of games lacked any decent entries. If 2011 shows anything, it’s that the PlayStation 3 has caught on and is fast becoming the preferred console of choice for hardcore gamers around the world.
As the system that never dies, the PC platform has long been considered the double-edged sword of gaming. Many people within the industry believe that PC is far more superior to any console, and that a controller can never replicate the precision and comfort of the good Keyboard and mouse (especially for first-person shooters, strategy games and MMOs). Yet despite its numerous bounties, the PC platform remains the Holy Grail of piracy, with major losses being incurred by the system. Still there’s been exceptional growth for the idea of supporting the PC community in 2011. Many upcoming games such as Street Fighter X Tekken and Ridge Racer: Unbounded have declared support for the PC platform.
Electronic Art’s new Origin service was the talk of the town. Also, EA’s games were pulled from valve’s stream over issues regarding greater interactivity between the studio and its consumers. Battlefield 3 catered to the PC community by providing 64-player online modes and plenty of features such as the Battlelog system, and even Bethesda’s fantasy epic The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim saw a record number of people playing online over stream. Ubisoft brought its notorious Digital Rights Management to Driver: San Francisco for the PC, but decided to leave it out in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Star Wars: The Old Republic saw an influx of millions of beta players, and Sony Online Entertainment reported an addition of more than one million new players to their user base after the decision to make DC Universe Online free-to-play. With more developers bringing their games to the system, 2012 looks good for PC owners indeed.