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

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Avatar image for Intrakitt

What I was trying to get across with that message is that Halo might not be realistic but that doesn't mean it's goofy. It is an extraordinary FPS game. I've played them all and watched their progression over the ages, and no other game comes close to being nearly perfect multiplayer-wise as Halo does. Even the largest games don't feel too cluttered, unlike some other games (cough cough Resistance 2 cough Killzone 2).

Avatar image for Intrakitt

Mac11: You can say all that stuff about any shooter. I think CoD 4 is tacky and not realistic at all, though that seems to be what a lot of people like about it. You can't just spam grenades in reality, nor can you just shank someone while your running and keep running. If a shooting game were realistic, it would be a tedious game of duck and cover and peek out to shoot, miss continuously, keep taking cover, reload, rinse and repeat. It would be the most boring game ever. The average death would occur like every 20 minutes.

Avatar image for JRod1981

anybody else here think battlefield bad company online is better than cod. i think it is way better. the best multiplayer game i have ever played. good to see it on the list.

Avatar image for SpideR_CentS

bizuit - "People play Rianbow Six 3 still? That game almost got me kicked out of college....back in very early of 04!" Yeah, I played this game like a pheene for years. I still pop in on every once in a while and still people are playing.

Avatar image for SpideR_CentS

Good to see one of my fav games of all time on any list in 2008. That would be Rainbow Six 3.

Avatar image for StarlightHunter

im supprised cod4 isnt at the top because most people on my friends list are either on that or world at war. not that its of mijority. i must disagree with your views on halo 3, yes its tacky and the graphics and engine are lack luster but its a fun game to play. lets hope halo odst is better.

Avatar image for cookie857

whats wrong with rainbow six 3? yeah but what i cant believe is counter strike

Avatar image for aag360360

"My opinion: Halo 3 is a tacky, unoriginal, albeit pretty shooter and I can't believe so many people play it, played it, or still play it. There, I said it. I could criticize it more, don't want to." Amen to that.

Avatar image for weezyindamuluva

I think it was obvious that halo and cod would be up there. they have been there since second one and there was nothing in their way. both have beastly online. halo just has a bigger fanbase and bigger appeal imo. MC will live on 4ever in my heart...no homo

Avatar image for JaredTrotterboy

can't wait for Halo Recon

Avatar image for Mac11_Fanboy

How is GOW2 in there? surely it couldn't rack up that many UNIQUE players in the 7 weeks of 2008 it was out? Same with world at war. I smell some spin over those figures. My opinion: Halo 3 is a tacky, unoriginal, albeit pretty shooter and I can't believe so many people play it, played it, or still play it. There, I said it. I could criticize it more, don't want to.

Avatar image for Shimowini

halo 3 its easily the best shooter of the moment. Bungie its making a great job supporting the game in many different ways that makes the game even a better expirience. halo 3 its the only system seller game right now in my opinion and clearly diserves to be Nº 1 in this list

Avatar image for RSA13

halo 3 RULES!!

Avatar image for buffdaddy69

As much as i hated the campign mode and story in Halo 3, I still love the multiplayer. Team CTF and Team Snipers are always gonna be vicious.

Avatar image for cod4_MADDOG104

halo 3 is awsome

Avatar image for bizuit

People play Rianbow Six 3 still? That game almost got me kicked out of college....back in very early of 04!

Avatar image for bennae66

ssf2thdr for the arcade flag! my god, you wouldnt want to have to say that fast 3 times with a gun to your head.

Avatar image for CursiveSaturn

Good to see Call of Duty 4 was in there. Halo has earned its first place position by having such a big fan base while Call of Duty 4 has so many fans just because of multiplayer. If CoD had more of a continuing storyline instead of seperate wars with completely different characters, they could attract even more gamers.

Avatar image for StJimmy15

no matter what ppl say, halo = what video games should be.

Avatar image for Trogeton

No surprise, I mean this game has been out, and has won more xbl players than any other 360 game, call of duty coming in second is like a promise.. thats an awesome game too

Avatar image for SatansBFF

Long live the Master Chief!

Avatar image for dkjjabs

Halo is still one of the funnest games i've played and still go back and play now and then and still love sticking them or just waiting for the headless chicken's that run around wanting to beat down, still so much fun

Avatar image for irsoccer05

Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3 have to be among the greatest games ever made

Avatar image for dkdk999

lol i still play battlefront with my lil bro. :P

Avatar image for thenephariouson

I still play Frontlines FOW, i know its not the best game technically but its great fun online, thats what its all about : )

Avatar image for seriousjoker93

woot Battlefront II still kicking!!!

Avatar image for enix165

Woo, CC is on top for the Arcade games!

Avatar image for unklekraker

I agree with zig star, a cs for 360 actually sounds like a good idea. But Halo 3 deserves the top spot.

Avatar image for death919

How is Uno higher than Castle Crashers on the list that includes all games, but Castle Crashers is higher than Uno on the list that contains just xbl arcade games???

Avatar image for ThAdEa82

Bungie does do great support I gotta admit COD WaW has taken some people away from COD4 to knock it down to 2...=( The only reason the Too Human Demo made it on the list is because everyone who played it fell asleep simultaneously and they logged their numbers like that...

Avatar image for JOKER677

thought gears 2 would be 2nd but i guess bugs and laggy online ruined it

Avatar image for brian_13un


Avatar image for FROZEN_FLAPJACK

thats sad when a demo beats the actual game

Avatar image for malfarf15869

part of the reason Halo 3 is #1 is because of the support from Bungie... look how many map packs were released compared to Call of Duty 4...

Avatar image for malfarf15869

Halo 3 and CoD 4 were both great games... to bad we couldn't have more games like those this year.

Avatar image for zig_star

they shuld make a counter strike for 360.

Avatar image for zig_star

oh shut up, halo 3 isnt the best, all you're doing in its multiplayer is running out in the open getting killed or killing people. CoD and Gears they make it easy to hide so your still killing but using your head. Halo 3 is $h!T basicaly.

Avatar image for trw534

gears of war is awsome

Avatar image for jknight5422

Nice to see Too Human made the list. :)

Avatar image for teh_phix

kinda surprised to see forza 2 make it in this list considering how hard it is to find races.. usually i either can't get in, they kick you out when you do, and ppl rarely join when you make your own race

Avatar image for ShadowJake

i can see how halo 3 tops the list but my most played games have recently been: 1. Left 4 Dead 2. Gears of War 2 3. CoD World at War. As far as my most played games this year, Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Unreal Tournament 3, Shadowrun (PC Version), Fallout 3 (PC Version), and Rock Band top my list. CoD 4 and Halo 3 are tied in 6th. Thats how 2008 went for me

Avatar image for Velazkid

Halo 3 FTW!!

Avatar image for Media_Mind

still good

Avatar image for trickyspider

HALO 3 FTW!!!!

Avatar image for eric_ds

Are people actually dissing Halo for being unrealistic? Really? Halo is science fiction.... it's not supposed to be realistic. Anyway Halo is on top, where is should be, best game I have ever played.

Avatar image for dlind70

TF2 should be there. Other than that, it's a great list. All those arcade games are quality titles.

Avatar image for Futil1ty

acsam12304: You, sir, are a FAIL. Please tell me what game(s) resemble the brilliance that is Team Fortress 2, because there are none that I know of; I could play that game forever.

Avatar image for Futil1ty

Hmm...A Kingdom for Keflings...I still need to buy that. I'm very suprised it actually got 4th place. Crazy.

Avatar image for NAVYBABY

Dont see Y errbuddy finds HALO 3 so boring its been the addiction n TOP