Top Five Gaming News Stories of 2008

2008 was another interesting year in news for the gaming industry. The video game console war is heating up more than ever with three giants going at it for you gaming dollar. Gaming has never been more popular than in 2008. Here are the top five gaming news stories of 2008.
5. Gaming Companies Going Under

The gaming industry grew exponentially in 2008 thanks to record-breaking sales. So it is a surprise to learn that many video game companies performing poorly or, even worse, closing shop all together. This is because of the rising cost of developing games, especially for high-definition systems like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Publisher Midway is facing bankruptcy while developers Factor 5 (Star Wars: Rogue Squadron) and Free Radical Designer (TimeSplitters) had to shut down.

4. Death of Third Party Exclusives on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360

For the same reason as above, third-party exclusive games are all but gone on high-definition video game systems. In 2008, we saw Final Fantasy XIII heading to the Xbox 360 in addition to Bioshock heading over to the Playstation 3. With higher development costs for high-definition games, video game companies simply can’t neglect the millions of users on either the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 (not to mention the PC as well).

3. Xbox 360 Price Drop and Re-imaging

Microsoft was in the crossroads for most of 2008 regarding its Xbox 360 gaming system. It was being outsold by the Playstation 3 for most of the year and many were calling for a much overdo price drop. Microsoft finally dropped the price of the Xbox 360 in the fall.

That’s not all they have done, however. Microsoft also decided to give a significant facelift to the Xbox 360 firmware via the New Xbox Experience. Not only are the menus slicker, the update also includes Netflix streaming support in addition to hard drive game installation.

Because of these changes, Microsoft managed to re-energize the Xbox 360 in 2008. As a result, it was able to waltz through the Playstation 3 is sales during the holiday season.

2. Rise of Independent Games

With games getting more expensive to make, it is hard for small gaming company to survive in this landscape. Fortunately, they have an outlet in the form of downloadable services on the Nintendo Wii (WiiWare), Playstation 3 (Playstation Network) and Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade).

2008 is the breakout year for independent games with the launch of WiiWare and XNA Community Games, maturity of the Playstation Network and the continue success of the Xbox Live Arcade. In fact, some of the best games (Braid, World of Goo and PixelJunk Monsters) of 2008 were independently developed.

1. Nintendo Wii Domination

The Nintendo Wii has been breaking sales record since it launch in late 2006. Many thought that it will be a fad and, therefore, slow down in 2008. The exact opposite happened instead as the Nintendo Wii broke many sales record month in and month out. Despite dramatically increasing supply, Nintendo still couldn’t meet the tremendous demand. The Nintendo Wii is well on pace to surpassing the Playstation 2 as the best selling video game system of all time.