GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

Halo 3 tops XBL activity in 2008

Microsoft dubs Bungie's sci-fi FPS as most-played online Xbox 360 game; Castle Crashers crowned Arcade champ.


About this time last year, Microsoft was profusely apologizing for extensive outages to its online hub, Xbox Live. Luckily, Xbox Live's holiday 2008 performance was not a repeat of last year, giving Microsoft leeway to tout the most-played Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on the service throughout the year.

Microsoft and Bungie Studios' Halo 3, a commercial and critical powerhouse released for the Xbox 360 in September 2007, landed in the top position for 2008. Through November, the game had shifted 5.4 million units in the US alone, according to the NPD Group. The game's first full expansion, Halo 3: ODST, is expected to arrive for the Xbox 360 this fall. Another holdover from 2007, Activision and Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4, scored the runner-up slot, followed by Rockstar's top sales performer Grand Theft Auto IV.

The three best-selling Xbox Live Arcade games, oddly enough, were all released within a month of each other. The Behemoth's long-in-the-making beat-'em-up Castle Crashers sold the most units in 2008, with Bizarre Creations' Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 placing second. One of the top-rated games for the year, Jonathan Blow's Braid, rounded out the top three as measured by units sold.

Mimicking the Xbox 360's chart, Microsoft and Bungie's Halo 2 scored top honors for online activity for the original Xbox. The game, first released in November 2004, was the top-performing game on Xbox Live up until November 20, 2006, when it was ousted by Epic Games' Gears of War. Gears of War placed just behind its 2008 sequel on the Xbox 360 chart, with the pair falling into fourth and fifth according to Microsoft's accounting.

The top 20 Live games of 2008, broken down by platform, are listed below.

Xbox 360 Top Live Games
1. Halo 3
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
3. Grand Theft Auto IV
4. Gears of War 2
5. Gears of War
6. Call of Duty: World at War
7. Guitar Hero III
8. Battlefield: Bad Company Demo
9. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo
10. Rock Band
11. Fable II
12. Mirror's Edge Demo
13. Madden NFL 09
14. Battlefield: Bad Company
15. Rainbow Six Vegas 2
16. Uno
17. Castle Crashers
18. Call of Duty: World at War Multiplayer Beta
19. Forza Motorsport 2
20. Too Human Demo

Top Arcade Games (based on full-version purchases)
1. Castle Crashers
2. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
3. Braid
4. A Kingdom for Keflings
5. Uno
6. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
7. Fable II Pub Games
8. Duke Nukem 3D
9. Bionic Commando: Rearmed
10. Worms
11. Soulcalibur
12. Portal: Still Alive
13. Doom
14. 1942: Joint Strike
15. Bomberman Live
16. Mega Man 9
17. N+
18. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3
19. Marble Blast Ultra
20. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Original Xbox Top Live Games
1. Halo 2
2. Fable
3. Star Wars: Battlefront 2
4. Counter-Strike
5. Fable: Lost Chapters
6. Doom 3
7. Conker: Live Reloaded
8. Splinter Cell Chaos
9. Star Wars: KOTOR
10. Star Wars: Republic Commando
11. Star Wars: Battlefront
12. Burnout 3
13. Guilty Gear XX #Reload
14. Gauntlet Seven Sorrows
15. Call of Duty 3
16. Ninja Gaiden Black
17. Crimson Skies
18. MechAssault 2
19. Call of Duty 2
20. Rainbow Six 3

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 235 comments about this story