The year 2005 is ending on a down note for many videogame companies. Electronic Arts and Activision both announced that fourth-quarter earnings would be well-below expectations. Take Two’s The Warriors failed to deliver the sales the company had hoped. Microsoft shipped far fewer X-Box 360s than expected. And the year’s ten best-selling titles were almost exclusively holdovers from last year – this year had no mega-hits to compare with 2004’s best-selling Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
But a purely financial focus would blind us to all that was good about 2005. We all got addicted to Lumines even though none of us pronounced it the same. Then we wove action and story together in Indigo Prophecy, the best adventure game in years. We found a new best friend in Nintendogs and found old friends on the X-Box Arcade. What ties these disparate products together is their collective broadening of the audience for games; their offerings of gameplay that can be enjoyed in sixty minutes rather than sixty hours. New ways of thinking about genre combined with new uses of technology to make games more accessible rather than more… of the same.
And of course, 2005 was the year we launched The Escapist. In the past six months, we’ve grown to over 100,000 monthly readers and brought out 25 issues, with over 200,000 words of feature content from some of the best voices in the industry. As the game industry matures and grows, game journalism must mature and grow with it. It’s our hope here at The Escapist that we have contributed to this growth, and can continue to do so into 2006 and beyond.
I’d like to give thanks to our faithful readers, our inspired writers and contributors, our savvy editorial staff, our diligent production team and our progressive advertisers. Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2006!