Like Babe Ruth, I’m raising my controller in the air, calling the shot. (Granted, Babe Ruth called the homerun before it happened, but let’s not sweat the details). I’m going to go on record and say what we’re all thinking, but way too afraid to admit:
The Xbox 360 won 2007. The console might not have sold the most units or captured the attention of the mass media, but as a platform, it’s provided the most complete experience of the year while executing titles with the most successful track record.
The Most Games You Want To Play
Let me make a little list for you: Bioshock, Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, Crackdown, Guitar Hero II & III, The Orange Box, Halo 3, Forza 2, Skate, Rock Band, COD4. Are all these Xbox 360 exclusive? No. But you can play them all on the Xbox 360 (along with a 2006 catalog that had some decent titles as well). And in the case of quite a few of these games, they are running better on Xbox 360 than other consoles. There’s simply more good stuff to play on the 360 than any other modern console and, for the most part, that content is running better on the 360.
Xbox Live Is Still The King
Even with all the alternatives on the market, no one can look Microsoft straight in the eye and claim that there’s a service more complete or polished than Xbox LIVE. And their arcade titles are complimenting the service, not just through spec-sheet pleasing “leaderboards,” but massive amounts of co-op injected into new and old titles alike. I have huge hopes for Home and the few PSN titles out there are fantastic, but LIVE tips the scales of me buying/playing a game on the 360 instead of the PS3…daily. As for Nintendo, their infrastructure is the equivalent of a 1991 AOL member homepage with animated mailbox gifs and site counters. It’s shamefully outdated, and not in the ironic way.
Speaking of XBLA
Nintendo’s Virtual Console has been cooking all year and maybe every game that’s hit PSN should be played this year. But the XBLA releases are just so damn smart and diverse that the experience trumps its competitors. Let’s take a case in point: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 1989 arcade game. The Wii’s Virtual Console picked up the title from their NES library. XBLA grabbed the full, uncompressed arcade source code…and then they added the co-op LIVE experience. But this isn’t about one case, it’s about a trend. We see both the same polish and variety in XBLA titles as we do their Xbox 360 counterparts, be they remakes or original titles (Battlestar Galactica and Wing Commander Arena excluded, of course).
Frankly, I’m a lot more excited about the PS3’s future as a media hub than maybe any electronic device on the market today. But Microsoft matched what may have been Sony’s biggest attack of the year: DivX and XviD support. As of right now with limited but decent movie downloads and new codec streaming capabilities, the 360 has found a respectable balance in the ecosystems of most home theaters (even if the DVD playback quality has been panned).
Why DIdn’t I Pick the DS??
The DS has won sales and invigorated the public. But as a gamer (technically a “hardcore” gamer maybe, but not nearly the level of some) I can appreciate that the stuff that drops your jaw, turns your stomach and makes you spaz out to friends over—that content is found on the full-sized consoles. And XBLA fills some of those casual gaming gaps and 2D arcade action to round out the experience. Besides, I’m not saying that you should ONLY play the Xbox 360, but I am saying that if you could only play one system in 07, the 360 was probably your best bet.
Why Didn’t I Pick The [Fill In Console I Own]
I clearly hate you, your family and your dog.