Sales are pretty much the be all and end all of a game's success. If a game sells well it's done well, if it fails miserably at retail it's done poorly. In our minds there's something more important than pure sales though. In this age where hardware sales seem to mean everything, a game that can sell systems is worth its weight in gold. With that in mind we've put together our Top 10: Guaranteed System Sellers. We've included any game on consoles or PC (something that'll make you upgrade) that has been announced, but shunned any game which is likely to primarily appeal to existing console owners. Games like Resistance 2 and Gears of War 2 will be massive, but we don't think they'll sell as many systems to new people as the games listed below.
10. SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals Confrontation
SOCOM might not be a household name in Europe, but it's a big deal for PlayStation 2 gamers in North America. The first two games in the series have sold approximately five million units between them and they easily rank as some of the best online games available for the system. With a strong sales pedigree giving the series a large fan base the PS3 game is sure to tempt a few online marksmen still undecided over Sony's latest console. 32-player online matches and PSN Trophy support should be enough to see fans dropping their Dual Shock in favour of a Sixaxis (or Dual Shock 3) when the game comes out this October.
9. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
After Mario 64 came out gamers braced themselves for a plethora of brilliant platformers for the system, but the reality was very different, with developers struggling to reach the heights achieved by Nintendo's iconic plumber. There is but one exception. Rare's Banjo-Kazooie, released in 1998, two years after Super Mario 64, is remembered by fans as the only platformer able to stand up to Mario. It's for that reason, and because we haven't seen a proper Banjo-Kazooie game since 2000's Banjo-Tooie, that Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is likely to convince lapsed platforming fans to take the plunge and shell out for an Xbox 360 later this year.
8. Killzone 2
Right. We're not big fans of Killzone. We know it has fans, but it seemed like a stretch too far for the PlayStation 2 on its release in November 2004. For us it seemed like an over ambitious FPS game engine with some basic AI and a lot of glitches. It had potential though, which is one of the reasons why developer Guerrilla Games is still held in high regard by many PlayStation gamers. Killzone 2 is probably the most hyped PlayStation 3 game the console has on the horizon, which all stems from the controversial pre-rendered trailer shown at E3 2005. Whether it's good or not may not matter in terms of selling systems, but we hope Guerrilla finally shows us what it can do, and we're sure there's plenty of Killzone fans who haven't forked out for a PS3 hoping for the same thing.
7. Fable 2
We've heard some people claim that Fable 2 isn't a big deal, but it really is. The original is reported to have sold in excess of three million units, a figure that makes it one of the original Xbox's most successful games. It's got a lot of loyal, vociferous fans and the sequel's arrival on Xbox 360 will without doubt tempt those people to finally buy Microsoft's latest console. It'll also be Peter Molyneux's first next-gen game. He has his detractors, yes, but he's an industry legend who effortlessly generates excitement and anticipation about the titles he's working on. Fable 2 will shift Xbox 360s.
6. Street Fighter 4
Right. We love Street Fighter. Always have done. Always will. While we didn't stop gaming when Street Fighter started adding hundreds of extra words onto its title, we know loads of early 90s beat 'em up fans did. Street Fighter 4, with its Street Fighter 2 style gameplay and next generation graphics looks like it's going to rekindle the glory days when young school boys pretended to be Ryu or Ken in the playground and performed dragon punches and fireballs on each other's chins and chests. Street Fighter 4 will convince an army of lapsed Street Fighter 2 gamers to not only get a next generation console, but get back into gaming, which is nice.
5. Resident Evil 5
It's hard to describe how much we love Resident Evil 4. In our eyes it's one of the greatest games ever made and many people agree. Capcom worried a few people when the new direction for the game was revealed, but the changes were for the better. Sadly, other than ports of Resi 4 and Resi side projects like Umbrella Chronicles, we haven't had a proper Resident Evil game in a long time. That time of sorrow is almost over though, with Capcom readying Resident Evil 5 for Xbox 360 and PS3. As the series' debut on the current next-gen consoles any Resident evil fans sitting on the next-gen console fence will finally have to take the plunge.
4. God of War 3
Is there a more exciting series in gaming right now than God of War? Whereas Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden seem content to fight over who has the most complex control scheme, God of War is happy to simplify things for the sake of a spectacular game everyone can enjoy. There's no doubt that the first two games were phenomenal achievements on the PlayStation 2, and the PSP exclusive Chains of Olympus could only quench our thirst for a short while. Given the power of the PS3 and the incredible talent Sony has at its Santa Monica studio we can only imagine the kind of epic levels we're going to be playing through. If you love God of War you're going to want a PS3 for God of War 3. Simple as that.
3. Diablo 3
This isn't a console exclusive list, because gaming isn't exclusively reserved for the consoles. If ever there was a game that will convince PC owners to take the plunge and splash the cash on a new graphics card, it's a new Diablo. And, following on from the internet-melting announcement from Bizzard two weekends ago, that game is here. There are enough Diablo fans still pumping hours of their free time into the first two games and their expansions to invade a small country. For many, this is the only game they play, indeed the only game they want to play. And so, the PC running it doesn't have to be a wallet burner. But now that Diablo 3 is finally coming, it's time to raid the piggy bank, re-mortgage the house and dump the expensive girlfriend. Sure, it'll be no Crysis when it's finally released, but, for the Diablo legion, pushing all those graphics sliders to the max will be well worth an upgrade.
2. Starcraft 2
If there are still enough active Diablo players to invade a small country, there are still enough active Starcraft players to take over half the world. Just look at South Korea, where playing Starcraft is part of the national curriculum (this may not be true). And, like Diablo, Starcraft will run at max settings on a PC bought at any point this century. For those of you who live and breath Blizzard's science fiction RTS and ignore everything else, there's been little reason to upgrade. Now that Starcraft 2 is on the gaming horizon it's time to think again. Have you seen the gameplay movies? Have you cast your eyeballs over the screen shots? This game looks like it's being made in heaven on a PC beamed in from the Star Ship Enterprise. If you're not convinced, just look at our video versus where we compare Starcraft with Starcraft 2. Start saving now RTS fans.
1. Final Fantasy XIII
This list only has room for 10 titles, but Final Fantasy XIII is practically in another league when it comes to system sellers. We still don't really have any idea when Square-Enix's highly anticipated PlayStation 3 RPG will arrive in Japan, let alone the US and Europe, but you can bank on one thing: PlayStation 3 sales during the week of Final Fantasy XIII's release will be a record high for Sony. While FF fans have been able to get their fill of titles on the DS and Wii, it's the PS3 game that's the big deal. If you thought Metal Gear Solid 4 was a system seller, you 'aint seen nothing yet. Now all we need is for the bloody thing to come out.
Agree? Disagree? What games do you think are guaranteed system sellers? Let us know in the comments section below.