Microsoft's home console maintained a significant sales lead over the PlayStation 3 and even showed some signs of life in Japan, a territory it had failed to perform well in for years. Its New Xbox Experience brought new excitement to the console and its internal publishing arm continued to produce some of the best games of the year, as it has for quite some time. But it couldn't catch the Wii.
The PC gained a gaming alliance and hosted the biggest launch of the year, for "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King." What became increasingly clear is that high-spec games just aren't performing on the platform. But casual games and mid-spec games succeed. Those who saw EA's decision not to make sports games for the PC this year as yet another sign of the platform's allegedly looming demise can now look to that publisher's expected 2009 return of its sports games to the platform -- possibly using a new micro-transaction-enabled economic model -- as a potential turning point in how big publishers support the most widely owned gaming platform on Earth.