So we've heard from the record-breaking Nintendo, and they were pleased with 2008. How about Microsoft? Just how pleased were they?
Quite a bit, in fact, as not only was Xbox marketing dude Jeremy Hinton keen to remind us they're still outselling the PlayStation 3, but he was pretty chuffed with how many of you bought Gears of War 2 and Fable 2.
Also of note, some cryptic hints about additions to Xbox Live in Australia. Could it be - at long last - the fabled Video Marketplace? Or Netflix? Or perhaps some more appropriate holiday-themed avatar clothing?Here's the full email exchange:
Kotaku: How was 2008 for Xbox and what are your expectations for your Xmas sales? Jeremy Hinton: This year was great for Xbox and has cemented our position as the number one HD console in the country. This Christmas will be the biggest for Xbox to date, and for the gaming industry as well. Xbox 360 will reach the half a million console sale mark just in time for Christmas and consumers are loving our blockbuster titles like Lips, Fable 2 and Gears of War 2. With the global financial crisis affecting many Australians, we're seeing more and more families opting to stay in for a "staycation" this holiday season. Xbox 360 is the cheapest next-generation console in the market and offers the best value for families and gamers this Christmas. Last week alone Australians bought over $100 million worth of gaming products, setting a record for the largest week ever in the history of Australian gaming.
Kotaku: What were your highlights for 2008? Jeremy: There were major highlights for Xbox this year. The success of highly anticipated titles like Fable 2 and Gears of War 2 is something we're very proud of. This year also brought a completely new interface for the Xbox 360, making it more user-friendly, better for connecting with friends and easier to navigate and find thousands of pieces of content including premium downloadable content, game demos, trailers and much more.
The launch of the Xbox Sounds events was also a great highlight for us. Our first event with the Pussycat Dolls at the Sydney Opera House was a great way to kick off our series of music events in iconic locations. We're really looking forward to the next one.
Kotaku: What were your lowlights? Jeremy: It's hard to think of lowlights for a year that was so great for us. We've sold almost four million games in Australia alone. Our sales are up on last year and higher this Christmas than last. We've now sold 25 million consoles worldwide and there are over 14 million members on Xbox LIVE all over the world.
Kotaku: How would you grade the Xbox 360's performance over the whole year (where A = stellar, surpassing all expectations and F = terrible, we should just give up)? Jeremy: B++ - we are extremely happy with 2008, surpassing a lot of our expectations on sales and performance. We're giving it a B++ because we think there's always some room for improvement - and we're sure 2009 is going to be an A+ year.
Kotaku: What do Aussie gamers have to look forward to from Microsoft next year? Jeremy: 2009 is going to be a big year for us. We've got some significant titles to launch in the first half, including the latest instalment of the popular Halo franchise, Halo Wars. We're confident Halo Wars will do for real time strategy games what the Halo series did for first person shooters - entice PC gamers onto a gaming console. Still in the Halo universe we have Halo 3: ODST, which will focus on the legendary ODSTs or "Orbital Drop Shock Troopers" as they drop into the ruined city of New Mombasa, looking for clues behind the Covenant's catastrophic attack on the city.
We've also got two movie games coming up - fans of trivia will love Scene it? Box Office Smash with new Avatar functionality and everyone can literally get into the movies with You're In the Movies - a game that lets you create your own B-Grade movies.
We're also hopeful there will be some additions to Australia's Xbox LIVE functionality in the New Year, which we are excited about.