A Decade of Christmas Number Ones

Ben Parfitt
A Decade of Christmas Number Ones

2009 is nearly at an end and with it comes the end of the games industry’s most successful ever decade. While each year brings with it a myriad of titles to be won for bragging rights, the Christmas Number One crown remains one of the most coveted.

So what better time to check out who have been the big winners of recent festive chart battles?

2000 – Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Eidos (PSOne, Dreamcast, PC)
2001 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, EA (PSOne, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PC)
2002 – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rockstar (PS2)
2003 – Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, EA (PS2, Xbox, GameCube)
2004 – Need for Speed: Underground 2, EA (PS2, Xbox, PC, GameCube, Game Boy Advance)
2005 – Need for Speed: Most Wanted, EA (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, DS, PC, Xbox 360)
2006 – FIFA 07, EA (PS2, Xbox, PC, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, DS, PSP)
2007 – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, DS)
2008 – FIFA 09, EA (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, PS2, PC)
2009 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Obviously if there’s one single trend to pick out it’s the dominance enjoyed by EA, which can lay claim to an impressive six number ones in the past decade. The publisher will also be pleased to see that its six victories have been shared amongst four separate IPs, with FIFA and Need for Speed both emerging victorious twice and single crowns awarded to Medal of Honor and Harry Potter.

It’s a stark contrast to the decade before, though EA was equally as dominant in the ‘90s. EA’s FIFA franchise dominated the festive charts throughout that decade, with an unbroken run of five consecutive UK Christmas number ones, all thanks to its football series (FIFA International Soccer – 1993; FIFA Soccer ’95 – 1994; FIFA Soccer ’96 – 1995; FIFA 97 – 1996; FIFA Road to the World Cup 98 – 1997). It took the might of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to break the winning streak in 1998.

Eidos and Activision are the only two publishers to dent EA’s run this decade, with popular TV licence Who Wants to be a Millionaire delivering the goods in 2000 and mega-franchise Call of Duty: Modern Warfare claming the 2007 and 2009 titles.

With FIFA and Call of Duty alternating crowns in the last four years – and with Modern Warfare 2 now on a two-yearly dev cycle – could the trend that has defined the last half of the noughties end up shaping the next decade? Time will tell.

Information courtesy of GfK-ChartTrack

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