2013 was a great year for the video game industry. Two next-gen consoles hit store shelves, and a number of awesome titles were released to entertain millions of gamers. We look forward to what 2014 has in store for gaming fans, but first let's celebrate five of the most important gaming moments of 2013.


1. The launch of the Xbox One

Microsoft’s long-awaited next-gen console hit store shelves on Nov. 22 as the successor to the popular Xbox 360. The $500 system sold 1 million units during the first 24 hours of its availability and went on to move 2 million units in the first 18 days after its release. As the third addition in the Xbox family, the system’s development was announced on May 21, 2013, with potential titles like the Xbox 720 or the Xbox Infinity.

Capcom’s “Dead Rising 3,” which launched exclusively for the Xbox One, has moved 600,000 SKUs since its debut. Though Microsoft’s latest endeavor launched one week after Sony’s PlayStation 4, the consoles are closely matched in sales and ratings, and only time will tell which system is truly superior.


2. The release of Grand Theft Auto V

The most recent title in the popular series, "Grand Theft Auto V" features open-world gameplay much like its well-known predecessors. Launched on Sept. 17 for the PS3 and Xbox One, the title took almost five years to create and required a hard-working team of nearly 1,000 people. "GTA V" follows the lives of Franklin, Michael and Trevor, three criminals whose stories connect as they complete various missions and goals. Each character can perform a set of eight skills, such as shooting and driving. The online multiplayer option is a prominent bonus feature of the game and allows users to participate in a world that is constantly evolving. Up to 16 players are given free range over a single-player setting, allowing individuals to enter lobbies to take on tasks that are cooperative and competitive. "GTA V" earned a score of 97/100 from Metacritic, and GameRankings rated the title as the third best Xbox 360 game of all time. Within 24 hours of its release, the title sold approximately 11.21 million copies, grossing more than $800 million worldwide.


3. The launch of the PlayStation 4

Like Microsoft’s Xbox One, Sony’s latest console endeavor also sold 1 million units within the first 24 hours of its release. Gaming site Kotaku praised the next-gen system as “lighter and sleeker” than its predecessor, while Gamespot.com called the system “the gamer’s choice for the next-generation.” The PlayStation 4 had moved more than 2.1 million units as of Dec. 3, just more than two weeks after its launch date on Nov. 15. Sony is also offering exclusive upcoming titles like Naughty Dog’s “Uncharted 4” and Sucker Punch Productions’ “Infamous: Second Son.”


4. Valve Announces Steam Machines

American video game developer and digital distributor Valve announced the development of a range of products called Steam Machines. During September of 2013, Valve, the creator of popular PC titles “Half-Life” and “Portal,” officially stated it was entering the console business, saying, “Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014.” Though the products have not been fully developed, Valve shipped out 300 units to Steam users for testing, giving players access to nearly 3,000 of the platform’s available titles.


5. The Wii U Stays in the Game  

While Sony and Microsoft battle it out over which system has a better game library, which will outsell the other and which has more fans, Nintendo is attempting to maintain its loyal fan base by quietly churning out brand-exclusive titles for the Wii U, like 2012’s critically acclaimed “New Super Mario Bros. U.” Highly anticipated upcoming games include “Bayonetta 2,” “Mario Kart 8,” “Super Smash Bros.,” “Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze” and “The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors.” The Wii U, which launched in November of 2012, is also backwards-compatible and available for $300, $100 cheaper than the PS4 and $200 cheaper than the Xbox One. Though many gamers argue that Nintendo’s console is unnecessary and that the brand has lost the market, the Wii U sold 119,000 units during December 2013.

As 2013 draws to a close, we wonder what new games 2014 will bring. What new advancements will be announced? How will the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U evolve? Looking forward to seeing any new titles or developments in 2014? Leave a comment below.

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