Matthew Roszak

In The Press Blog

VentureBeat’s top ten video games of the year (vote for your favorite)

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Game publishers aren’t thrilled that video game sales are down 5 percent year to date. But for gamers, it’s been an awesome year because 2010 saw the debut of some of the best games ever made. From skinning cougars in Red Dead Redemption to shooting birds at pigs in Angry Birds, there was never a dull moment. The year’s biggest hits drew huge numbers of gamers much like the opening weekends of blockbuster movies, redefining the definition of a blockbuster game far beyond a mere 1 million units sold. If there was any weakness in the year, it was that the middle thinned out, with games falling into either the blockbuster bucket or the dud bucket.

The relatively nascent social network and smartphone platforms have begun to challenge the consoles and the PC. But rather than siphon away players, these platforms are helping games reach new players. With the list below of the year’s top game releases, you can begin to see how these new forces are reshaping the industry. Nintendo had some decent hits but failed to produce a game that resonated with everybody. By contrast,Angry Birds was a phenomenal success, with more than 50 million downloads. Never before has an iPhone game climbed so high on everyone’s favorite list. The progression is clear: iPhone gaming has hit a major milestone with its first blockbuster hit. And the games are getting better and better.

The common thread between the traditional console games and the emerging titles on the iPhone is that the best games keep players engaged, but also leave them the option of playing for a short time. These games give you the option of playing for 10 minutes or three hours. They can hold your attention because the quality is outstanding. The duality of quality and time efficiency makes games more accessible and more likely to draw in the millions of people who profess not to have the time to play. Even the longer games — such as the 30-hour Red Dead Redemption — can be broken down into shorter missions. As long as games focus on quality, engagement and accessibility, they will keep gaining a larger share of our entertainment time.

Check out the list and vote for your favorites in the poll at the bottom. Also, please leave comments explaining your vote. I’ve also included in the poll other titles that were popular this year.

For a complete list of Venture Beat’s top ten video games of the year:

http://venturebeat.com/2010/12/15/venturebeats-top-ten-video-games-of-the-year-vote-for-your-favorite/

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