And leading nicely on from mentioning third parties on the 360, now would be a good time to discuss the frankly stupid amount of brilliant multi-format games we’ve seen, most of which Microsoft’s machine has played host to the best versions of. Call Of Duty 4 is one of the best console FPS we’ve ever seen. Virtua Fighter 5 took hardcore fighting online in a move previously thought impossible. Guitar Hero 3 brought the best party game in the history of all things back with a flourish. Rock Band gloriously took music games even further than that. Assassin’s Creed turned out to be both beautiful and great fun to play despite early fears.
And let’s not forget Xbox Live. The service that started social online play in console games has gone from strength to strength this year, hitting a total of 7.1 million registered members by this summer and adding a whole load of new functionality. More Live Arcade games than ever have been pouring out of it, along with HD movies, TV, and now Facebook-style social networking too, meaning that like the Wii, the 360 is seriously gunning to be more than a console and become the focus of family entertainment in your living room in the years to come.
All things considered, the Xbox 360 was at the very core of gaming this year. Nintendo expanded the market, Sony showed strong potential for the future and the PC was as startlingly eclectic as ever, but the 360 just kept throwing out the quality, month after month, to the point where we could now dam a large river with the back-log of 2007 games worth playing. It’s been a stunning year all round, but for the purely hardcore gamer, the 360 has shined the brightest. Hats off. Hats off all round.