Of course, it wasn't the earlier availability alone that made it such a stunning success. Questionable decisions from Sony and Nintendo with their own PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles, in addition to early commitments by Microsoft to bring scores of fantastic games to the 360, made it the obvious choice for enthusiastic gamers around the world. In fact, not only did Microsoft manage to score several popular third-party franchises that had previously only appeared on the competition's hardware, but they also arranged publishing deals which resulted in the creation of brand new and amazing titles you could only experience on the Xbox 360. Speaking of amazing games, we went ahead and included a few examples of those below. So, read on for a look at 12 of the finest reasons to have ever owned an Xbox 360.
What made PGR 3 so remarkable was that developer Bizarre Creations had taken all the advancements of the fantastic second installment, most notably the exceptional Xbox Live implementation, and further polished the experience to a brilliant shine. They took full advantage of the powerful new 360 hardware to create one of the best looking racing games available at the time. Furthermore, they were one of the first studios to implement an ultra-realistic and (most-importantly) easily-playable, fully-modeled cockpit racing view in a console game. All of these elements combined to make Project Gotham Racing 3 an unparalleled racing experience that you could only find on the Xbox 360.
One of the best of these higher quality titles was the 2009 "metroidvania" platform-adventure game, Shadow Complex. The game follows the adventures of a man forced to infiltrate a secret underground complex and rescue his captured girlfriend after unwittingly stumbling upon it during an innocent spelunking excursion. Largely inspired by the popular classic, Super Metroid in particular, Shadow Complex was also notable for being scripted by an award-winning comic book writer. The game was a hit on release and actually broke all the sales records for XBLA titles at the time.
Yes, Turn 10 definitely got it right with Forza 3. Not only was it the best looking Forza game to date, but it also included several fantastic new tracks, hundreds of the hottest cars imaginable, and several key features that allowed it to stand apart. By taking a cue from PGR and finally offering a much-needed cockpit view (that they had bizarrely decided to leave out of Forza 2), as well as including the popular rewind feature (and Le Mans race track) from the equally impressive (Race Driver) Grid, Turn 10 was able to make Forza Motorsport 3 into the finest racing game around.
2013's BattleBlock Theater was a hilariously-narrated, somewhat-horrifying puzzle-platformer about a character named Hatty Hattington and his friends who are shipwrecked during a storm. After washing ashore, Hatty becomes possessed by an evil hat, while his friends get captured by villainous cats who force them to navigate dozens of deadly stages for their amusement. With plenty to offer, including single-player and co-op (in addition to several versus modes), and even a level editor, BattleBlock Theater is about as off the wall brilliant as they come. It also came out the same year that the Xbox 360's successor, the Xbox One launched, which made it one of the last great games to come out on the 360 (XBLA or otherwise).
What all of these factors led to was a great number of people owning 360s. 360s that were home to what was oftentimes the best version (despite the PS3's more-powerful though more-complicated hardware) of some of the best games around. Unfortunately, for the 2013 debut of their follow-up console, the Xbox One, Microsoft essentially took the entire 8 years of good will that they had built up with the 360 and threw it directly into a flaming dumpster. They have since corrected course and made efforts to repair their reputation but the damage had already been done. But that is a discussion for another article (perhaps in about 8 years time). The Xbox 360 will always be remembered as one of Microsoft's crowning achievements and nobody can ever take that away from them.