THE XBOX 360 COMETH
At the beginning of 2005 no one had even heard of the Xbox 360, let alone imagined it would be in homes by Christmas. In fact, at the turn of the year, the main concern for Microsoft was the crippling stock shortages that were affecting the original Xbox.
But it wasn’t long before the news got out. MCV discovered in February that the reason for the lack of Xbox stock was because a new console would hit before the end of the year. And in March, Microsoft revealed the system in all its glory with a star-studded show on MTV, featuring the likes of Elijah Wood and The Killers.
The machine, complete with HD gaming and a hard drive, arrived in Europe in December – over a year before PS3. Games available at launch included Quake 4, Call of Duty 2, Perfect Dark 0 and FIFA.
PS3 FIRMLY ON THE HORIZON
Nintendo and Sony revealed their own next-gen consoles at E3 2005. The PS3 was shown off in all its sleek, high-definition glory, and the firm also announced Metal Gear Solid 4, GT5, Devil May Cry 4, Killzone 2 and Warhawk.
Nintendo’s ‘Revolution’ appeared at E3 too, but the all-important controller wasn’t shown until the Tokyo Games Show later that year. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed the device and told the press: “The feeling is so natural, as soon as players use the controller, their minds will spin with the possibilities.”
SHOW COLLAPSE SHAMES INDUSTRY
The consumer and trade show war that blighted 2004 caused the collapse of several major video game events, including Game Zone Live and the long-running ECTS. Later in the year, another consumer games show set to take place in Birmingham – State of Play – also fell through.
At the time Nintendo’s UK boss David Yarnton told MCV: “I just can’t understand it. It’s a poor reflection on the UK.” A viable alternative to ECTS never surfaced and the UK trade now use Germany for all their event needs.
The handheld market exploded in 2005 with the arrival of Nintendo DS in Europe on March 11th. The machine stole a six-month lead over PSP, which hit shelves in September, and was released at a wallet-friendly £100. But it wasn’t until 2006 before it began to pull away from Sony’s portable.
But there was more. The controversial Gizmondo appeared on March 13th, the GBA Micro landed in September, and when Gamepark announced the GP2X for October, we asked: ‘Is there room for one more?’ No, was the answer.
SCi SWOOPS FOR EIDOS
The losses were piling up for Tomb Raider publisher Eidos as we headed into 2005, and a buy-out was soon on the table.
Elevation Partners, which is part-owned by U2 frontman Bono, tabled a bid of £71 million. Yet hours later stakeholder SCi swooped in with an offer of £76.1 million, and bought the firm.
Costs were cut and redunancies were made as SCi attempted to bring Eidos back to profitability. However, it was only a short-term fix and Square Enix eventually bought the company in 2009.
HOT COFFEE CONTROVERSY
Hot on the heels of Manhunt, Rockstar hit the headlines again after a PC mod unlocked a sex mini game in GTA: San Andreas. The game was re-classified Adults Only in the US and Take-Two was taken to court, after the firm came under heavy fire from politicians including senator Hillary Clinton.
2005: The Key Games Releases
GTA: Liberty City Stories - Rockstar
The PSP’s killer-app didn’t arrive until November, but it became an instant hit, with eight million copies sold.
God of War - Sony
The action/adventure became one of the most acclaimed releases on Sony’s PS2, and a brand new franchise was born.
SingStar - Sony
Although out in 2004, SingStar reached the milestone of 2m units sold in 2005, boosted by SingStar ‘80s and Pop.
Lego Star Wars - LucasArts
It may have missed out on the Top Ten, but Lego Star Wars went on to become a mega franchise for Traveller’s Tales.
Nintendogs - Nintendo
The pet-based DS franchise has sold 21.67m units since it launched in 2005, spawning plush toys and trading cards.
2005: UK’s Best-selling Games
1. FIFA 06 (EA)
2. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (Konami)
3. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA)
4. Gran Turismo 4 (EA)
5. Star Wars III: Sith (LucasArts)
6. FIFA Street (EA)
7. Star Wars: Battlefront II (LucasArts)
8. GTA: San Andreas (Rockstar)
9. King Kong (Ubisoft)
10. The Sims 2 (EA)