Which console will win 2010?

As of this writing, we’re already three weeks into 2010. The “new” year is already practically ancient, and pretty soon we’ll have run out of time to make wild, erratic, entirely factual predictions about things that will happen over the next 11 months. So with January nearly over, we’re going for the jugular and answering the question that’s on everyone’s mind: between the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC, which gaming platform will claim victory by the end of this year.

Above: It’s anyone’s game at this point… or is it?

We don’t just mean in terms of sales, of course; if our premise was as boring as that, we’d just say “Wii” right here and that’d be the end of the article. Instead, to give each console (and yes we know PCs aren’t “consoles,” shut up) a fighting chance, we’re going to pre-emptively choose a victor based on what we think they’ll be able to offer users over the course of this year. And to ensure a fair fight, we pulled together four editors, each with a vested interest in a different platform, to make five arguments for why their machine of choice will stomp its competitors into paste this year.

Obviously, we could end up being fantastically wrong – there’s still a lot going on this year that hasn’t been revealed, and likely won’t be until E3 in June – but based on everything we know right now, here’s how we think the next round of the console wars is going to play out:

XBOX 360

1. Project Natal is the future…

You may not think so, but by the end of this year, the rest of the world probably will. Microsoft’s motion-sensing, face-recognizing, voice-commanded new peripheral is exactly the kind of gee-whiz technology that the mainstream media loves to cover, that Best Buy loves to set up in the front of its stores and that the casual audience loves to buy in holiday-frenzied droves. If priced and marketed right, Project Natal could replace Wii as the industry’s most popular and most desired toy.

And what if it’s not a fad? What if hardcore cynics are proven wrong, and Project Natal delivers on the hype? Maybe driving with an imaginary steering wheel, or kicking an imaginary ball, will actually be fun. Perhaps signing onto Xbox Live via a facial scan, talking to teammates without a headset or moving through menus with the swipe of a hand will actually be possible. Milo and Kate – the first game designed specifically for Natal, in which players interact with an A.I. child or dog using familiar, real-world actions – could actually revolutionize the industry, or at least pioneer an incredibly accessible and appealing new genre.

Microsoft certainly seems to believe in all of the above, with officials insisting that Project Natal is integral to the Xbox 360’s future, and rumors swirling that Project Natal will eventually replace the console. If either proves true, 2010’s victor is clear.

2. Halo: Reach. Need I say more?

This point should be painfully obvious, but just in case you doubt or deny the power of Microsoft’s most famous franchise, here’s a quick rundown of the numbers. According to VGChartz, the original Halo sold nearly 6.5 million copies, while its sequel sold 8.5 million. Master Chief’s third adventure, and the first on Xbox 360, moved nearly 11 million copies in just over two years. Even ODST, widely considered a subpar spinoff, managed to sell 4.5 million in the past four months. Compare to Sony exclusives like Uncharted 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, with sales (so far) totaling just 2.7 million and 4.5 million, respectively.

Halo is a remarkably reliable moneymaker for Microsoft in any year, but 2010 should be especially good for the company and for the series. Although Reach remains a mystery overall, glimpses at the concept art, teaser trailers and a single screenshot have gamers hoping for a major evolution to the familiar formula. If the multiplayer beta this spring confirms those hopes, prepare yourself… 11 million will soon sound like chump change.

3. The other exclusives

Halo: Reach not enough to convince you of Xbox 360’s dominance? That’s okay, since the console will be home to plenty of other, hugely anticipated exclusives as well. Fable III promises to lead the way on Project Natal innovation. Crackdown 2 could easily end up the best co-op experience of 2010. Splinter Cell Conviction marks the return of an iconic gaming hero – Sam Fisher – while introducing tons of new tools to his repertoire. Alan Wake is finally scheduled for release, and if worth the wait, could steal the survival-horror crown from increasingly less frightening franchises like Resident Evil or Silent Hill.

Don’t forget Mass Effect 2, in stores next week, and already a shoo-in for RPG of the Year… unless that goes to Final Fantasy XIII, of course, which is on Xbox 360 too.

Yes, I realize that many of these games will also be on PC, but that doesn’t really hurt Microsoft. Yes, I realize that Sony and Nintendo have their own exclusives, but stuff like Last Guardian and Heavy Rain (on PS3) aren’t known brands yet, and stuff like Metroid and Zelda (on Wii) aren’t completely confirmed yet. That leaves God of War III and Mario Galaxy 2, up against everything I just listed above.

4. The best online community gets better

By now, every gamer has heard of Achievements, Gamertags and Xbox Live. Trophies, IDs and PlayStation Network? Maybe not so much. Friend codes? Don’t make me laugh. Microsoft was the first company to make online a priority – an integral component – of their consoles, and the results of that head start are still readily apparent. Nintendo has practically yielded the field at this point, and while Sony gets closer each year, stupid little decisions continue to trip the company up. You have to pop a special disc in your PS3 every time you want to stream Netflix? Really?

Meanwhile, the Xbox 360’s online community continues to improve. In late 2008, we enjoyed a complete dashboard overhaul, new avatars, a truly instant Netflix component and much more. 2009 saw the debut of 1 vs 100, Facebook, Twitter, Zune and Early 2010 will give us Game Room, a customizable social environment full of retro arcade machines and decorative items, and late 2010’s update could very well start implementing Project Natal’s motion-sensing, face-recognizing and voice-commanding capabilities.

Where does that leave Sony and Nintendo? Playing catch-up, once again.

5. Value shoppers

In case you hadn’t noticed, the economy sucks, and will most likely continue to do so for the remainder of 2010. During times like these, the average consumer doesn’t care about the differences in graphics, exclusives or online communities. What we can argue about for weeks and months at a time are relatively insignificant to parents shopping for their kids, or newcomers shopping for their first system.

They look at the price, and how much they’re getting for that price. The basic Xbox 360 is currently $100 cheaper than the basic PS3, and the exact same price as a Wii. If Microsoft drops the price even lower sometime in 2010, that may be the only difference that matters.

Next page: five reasons PS3 will win

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  • Stealtheffect2005 - March 5, 2010 10:06 p.m.

    this article seems a bit too biased to me.
  • Jose22 - February 10, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    pse3 will triumph i have 360 and ps3 but i like better ps3
  • OrionOnyx - February 4, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    I think Project Natal is the main reason why the 360 is going to win... I mean come on, it looks totally kick ass.
  • kikingbird - February 3, 2010 2:14 p.m.

    I personally think that Sony will win. All other systems have their advantages and are fun, but Sony has this year by far.
  • austinite04 - February 3, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    Gamesradar is totally bias... They are in someway controlled by Microsoft so it's no surprise they picked Xbox360.. If you want my honest thoughts on which console will win 2010.. I have to say PS3, for one, the service is free (for now) and not to mention we have exclusives Xbox'er idiots would LOVE to have.. Not to mention we only ever need ONE disc.. 2 or three for Mass effect?? PUHLEASE!! I would rather get the STEAM version on my pc.. At least there on my pc I can play my games in 1080p.. but back to consoles, I am no fanboy of PS3, I did at one time own all current consoles. Now I'm just down to a ps3, simply because I can't live without Netflix and blu-ray's. I hope XBox gets a Blu-ray.. more power to them.. more money for Besides most xbox360 components are in someway or another a sony product.. so we are really just gonna have to go with a all in one with the next gen console, have nintendo,xb720,and ps4 all in one box.. I would pay $2,000 for it... I want all the developers to put console partisan politics aside.. We need to cut costs in this downswing economy.. Sony spent 2 trillion bucks on the ps3.. xb360 came close but not close enough since they still red ring.. the wii is a joke by it's self.. it needs the other consoles. I dream of a day where I can just turn on ONE console and pull up different User interface's.. say I want to play Halo reach I login to the xbox console from a directory system.. and if I want to play Gran turismo, on the fly I should be able to press the menu button (guide,or Home) button and jump right over to the ps4 partition. the same with wii 2.. Whats more, the ps3 is really a beta model for the ps4.. Once the ps4 comes out we will have James Camerons: AVATAR (movie) like game graphics.. It's no pipedream.. 3d was a dream just last year now it's possible. I want an all in one console SO BAD..
  • PharonicDawn - January 31, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    You know, it will be a really close call. I own a Wii and a PC. I do own a PS2 and an original Xbox, along with an N64. For PC, the gameplay will be the ultimate thing. I love my PS2, and have played a PS3. Their wide choice of games is brilliant and fun to choose from. Xbox 360 has some famous games correlated to it, such as the Halo series. Although you can get Halo for PC, Halo: Reach will bury it's competitor's 6 feet under. Nintendo's huge brand name of Pokemon and Mario will put other competitors washing away down the river once their games come out. My winner: PC. The PC, if you have the right equipment for it, will dominate for it's large amount of graphics capacity, game choice, and gameplay. I own MW2, L4D2, the half-Life and Half-Life 2 series. They are all great games with amazing graphics. I can't wait until Starcraft II and SupCom2 come out. Civ IV also dominates for PC. Although Xbox 360 has great brand names, Nintendo great gameplay and brand names, and the PS3 has an amazing graphics, PC wins for me.
  • kallukoras - January 29, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    The wii was an epic fail caus stupid games come out for it and its juts lame, x-box 360 hell yeah but cheap the 3 rings of death, PS3 is there anything that breaks on that? caus i dont remember hearing anything about it..... But i would vote for PC caus those i can fix.
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 29, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    The way I see it for people who are primarily PC gamers (like myself), a 360 is pretty much a pointless aquesition, since most of the games on the 360 end up on pc, and very few of the ones that don't are actually all that desirable (in my opinion), especially in regards to AAA titles. The PS3 however has a fair few titles that aren't and will never be on the pc and are probably better played on a console.
  • teke367 - January 28, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    Uh, was one of the points for the Wii "the opposite is true" of only Nintendo brand games do well? There might be a couple, but the story has consistently been, with few exceptions, that only Nintendo makes money on the Wii. The way I see it, Xbox has Mass Effect 2, Halo reach, Splinter Cell and Fable 3, PS3 has God of War 3, GT5, and heavy rain that will be big hitters. Of course the Wii has any Mario or Zelda game that will be sure to be a big hit. Wii wins if the status quo remains. Xbox wins if they close the gap to #1 in sales (a decent percentage). PS3 wins if they close the gap to Xbox (or sells more for the year at least)
  • twewy13 - January 28, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    Both PS3's and x-box's attempt at motion control will fail and wii motion plus won't. you entered too late in the game sony/microsoft, and natal will suck because you must hold stuff while playing a game, simple as that ( well, if your punching and kicking it wont matter i guess, but shooting and driving...),
  • twewy13 - January 28, 2010 1:57 a.m.

    i seriously thought nintendo would win, thats what i say at least!!! REDSTEEL 2, TVC, AND GALAXY 2!!!!! INCROYABLE!!!!
  • robotechandnarutosucks - January 27, 2010 11:13 p.m.

    funny how you're all fighting over pieces of colored plastic that can play games!
  • familiarrealms - January 27, 2010 9:16 p.m.

    HA HA, its quite funny watching you people bikker about which console is gonna come out on top. If im honest i dont think it really matters which one does. I have a 360 + a PS3 and quite frankly im happy with both. i only got my PS3 the other day and i think this is a factor about why maybe the PS3 might prevail in the end. Xbox have a better game selection, better online community and a better enjoyment factor ( i think). The PS3 however, is getting slowly cheaper. People who wanted one when it was first releases have probably postponed their perchase until the last few months and in the future of this year. The sales are going to rise. Not only that, when Heavy Rain gets releases i think it might well be revolution in the way we look at games. Theres a chance that game might go down in history. I suppose if your happy with your console then your console wins!!
  • 8bitBaby - January 27, 2010 3:39 p.m.

    i'm rooting for 360, but i'm afraid that the wii will come out on top. i just got back from my friends place and both she and her sister just dropped a ton of money on nothing but wii merch. US games AND they bought Japan only games on wii ware. "sigh" i feel betrayed by nintendo.
  • boyverygood011 - January 27, 2010 3:36 p.m.

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  • Kytl - January 27, 2010 3:55 a.m.

    I care about the games not made by Nintendo, but enough of that. I actually starting to think 360 owners might get something cool with Natal, I worry about those children AI and the "interaction" with them. Microsoft, please don't make them too realistic.
  • Yeager1122 - January 27, 2010 3:25 a.m.

    @CLEIP Your taking what i said MUCH TO LITERALLY. I was really just saying that i like both the 360 and ps3 and want wii gone.
  • theBlackKnight - January 27, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    Oh and by the way, how would you aim with a gun that doesn't exist to have a rail or anything?
  • theBlackKnight - January 27, 2010 1:20 a.m.

    Oh my God NO. Natal is just a gimmick to attract the casual gamers which will definately not work, because they all already have the Wii, and nobody actually wants to be waving their arms around on actual games. Also, none of their exclusives will even compare with the PS3's gigantic number of good exclusives. And when they say the Xbox is cheaper than t Ps3, it is NOT. online is 60$ a year. if oou keep it just two years, the Ps3 is already worth the money and you get a Blu- ray player.
  • g4m3rk1dd - January 26, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    i know this has been read but i have added on to it if project natal was given a hardcore game to work with *coughgearsofwarcoughhalocough* that would truely be revolutionary in gaming...hell in technology period on the other hand if nintendo suddenly decided to, as read in an earlier article, go "online" with a game like pokemon...that would VERY rapidly outsell possibly ANYTHING known to man >.> just imagine and and others walking through tall grass finding pokemon or attempting to "raid" and/or capture the more legendary. im willing to bet that even WoW couldnt compete with that is they did every thing right the main thing that i can say i want a PS3 for is if they were to make a FF7 remake...there i said it...its a good counsle with good features but i just cant get myself to buy yet another counsel so i can play the "best" games when alot of the older games for sega gen and sega saturn and others were much better =/ those games are the forefathers of all games and without those we wouldnt have squat