Kikizo Games' 2005 Review
So it's been a pretty decent year for games, all things considered, right? It's certainly been exciting one. Kikizo takes a brisk month-by-month look back at 2005.
January: In a year that was dominated by new hardware, it's fitting that it started off with the excitement surrounding the PSP. While the portable had already launched in Japan a month earlier, January saw Sony pull into the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to show off the PSP and some of its expected US launch games.
Later in the month, the company officially announced that the portable would make its western debut in March. Europeans were expecting good news too, especially since Sony had promised earlier that it would not drag its feet between launches, but January's dearth of details for the European launch was just the beginning of a nine-month ordeal.
Not to be outdone by Sony, Nintendo held a swanky launch event in Paris to announce its plans for the DS. It was also in January that the first inklings of what would become WiFi Connect, Nintendo's DS online infrastructure, started leaking out.
The growth of the games industry is nothing new, and there are oftentimes comparisons with Hollywood. Solid numbers out of the US, released at the end of January, showed that in 2004 the games industry brought in more money than Hollywood did at the box office. There's still a long way to go until the industry catches up with Hollywood as a whole, though, as DVD sales still dwarf those of games.
February: The early days of February saw Sony officially confirm the launch line-up for the PSP in the US, giving Europeans hope that the portable would be coming soon. They were wrong. But there were other reasons to be excited in February.
For starters, EA revealed that it was working on a video game adaptation of Francis Ford Coppola's mobster classic, The Godfather. The game was originally slated for release at the end of 2005, but inevitable delays during the game's production messed all that up.
It was also in February that the seeds of the global Xbox 360 launch were sowed, as Microsoft hinted that it would have Xenon, as it was then being referred to, in stores by Christmas. Few believed the company would actually pull it off.
Microsoft also scored its first coup in February, signing Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi to make exclusive games for the Xbox 360. Sakaguchi would soon be joined by other heavyweight Japanese creators, including Tetsuya Mizuguchi (of Rez and Sega Rally fame) and Yoshiki Okamoto (Street Fighter, Resident Evil).
March: March was a good month to be a Nintendo fan. The company brought touching to the masses, launching the twin-screen DS to a rabid audience. When the dust had settled, Nintendo's portable had become the fastest selling video game system ever in the UK, selling 87,000 units in its first weekend. The record would not stand for very long.
The annual Game Developers Conference also took place in March, and it was here that Nintendo and Microsoft truly parted ways.
While Microsoft's J Allard hammered home the company's self-declared HD Era, to be heralded by the Xbox 360, Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, started to drop hints about the Revolution - a console designed to bring in casual gamers and those who hadn't played games before.
Iwata would take to the stage again later that month in a separate conference and again focus on Nintendo's new drive of making games simple and approachable. It would not be the last time that Iwata would reiterate Nintendo's new mantra.
Meanwhile, things were heating up for Sony, as it prepared to launch the PSP in the US. March also saw Resident Evil 4 for GameCube. The game was received well by the press, but coming out as it did on GameCube, it didn't sell quite as many copies as it could have.