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Most of the heated “Which system is better?” debates I’m a part of usually end up as dissections of software libraries. First-party exclusives and third-party blockbusters are ultimately what drive console sales. A healthy system maintains a consistent stream of both. This year’s debates have been much different. Most start with someone saying something along the lines of “PlayStation 3’s hacking scandal puts it in last place” or “Xbox 360 wasn’t hacked so it wins.” While console services have been a part of the equation for years, this is the first year that they’ve carried significant weight in the debates. From Sony's struggles to protect its user data to Steam's dominance in the digital download space on PC, a good online service is just as valuable to gamers as its software library.
As you are probably well aware, most “My system is better than yours” arguments can last for hours, or end with someone saying or doing something they end up regretting. What would you say if you were only given 140 characters for your response? I asked gamers on my Twitter account which system they thought had the best 2011. Truthfully, I expected most people to send back a joke about PSN getting hacked, followed by their choice of “Xbox 360” or “PC.” Despite PlayStation 3’s struggles this year, the console was still held in high regard, mostly because people thought it delivered on the software front.
Here are all of the Twitter responses I received for the question “Which gaming system had the best year and why?”
@Casey_Malone: I think Xbox wins this year, just by virtue of having games (over the Wii) and not giving away people's credit card numbers.
@Mray091: PS3. Not only the third party games, but stuff like LittleBigPlanet 2, Killzone 3, inFamous 2, etc.
@TooTruw: Nintendo 3DS. Nothing can beat Steel Diver, or any of th other stunning and exemplary titles for the 3DS this year.
@FuriousFura: xbox... ps3 skyrim problems. Enough said
@ZBurmeister: Xbox, because Live wasn't down for 5 weeks...
@cybert00thtiger: Vita. Can you say ANY bad games came out for it this year?!
@glamgeekgirl: Hmmm. Interesting question. I think the Kinect secured its position in 2011. And so did smartphones.
@CEOTMorehead: PS3. Uncharted exclusivity.
@Wifemomtwinsfan: Probably PS3, cause my kids Xmas lists are requesting all games be purchased for PS3 only with the exception of Zelda.
@Gordon17freeman: Wii because of LoZ and the other systems didn't have any spectacular exclusives. Xbox had GoW 3 and PS3 had Uncharted 3.
@NJDevilNYGuy: 360, hands down. Continuing to adapt, evolve & overcome the competition. Plus, no major security breaches lol.
@juiceboxlegend: im gonna have to say Xbox. With Gears, Call of Duty and with Playstations awful hacking problem, not much could compete.
@buddyacker: I'd say 360. Much more content.
@H_McCullough: PS3 - two great exclusives (InFAMOUS 2 and Uncharted 3) and passed the Xbox in worldwide sales, despite early PSN crash.
@_w4lly: Xbox, because it's not made by Sony. :)
@taulpaul: Xbox. Kinect finally has games that fully push the hardware.
@Carl_Jones: Xbox won...ps3 stays the same but Xbox evolves and it just got even better this year
@tullmetalhans: Xbox 360, this a really personal opinion, Halo:anniversary
@Ercoman: PS3 had better exclusives, although I still played my Xbox 360 more since I prefer it for multiplatform games.
@simopaulakoski: gears and forza 4 is the main reson i think xbox had a great year for me , well skyrim tops everything
@Muitnorts: PS3, because games. Mainly Uncharted 3. But Infamous, Resistance 3 etc were good backups. 360 only really had Gears.
@myquirk: 3DS went from zero to hero this year. I don't own one, but I sure want one now.
@Aerohead17: PC. Because it's PC.
@Ellimem: 360, it was online the whole year.
@digyman: pc. Complete resurgence. Havent wanted a gaming pc this bad in years.
@CarlTheHuman: PS3 2011. Still didn't overtake 360 in sales, but on the software front they dominated.
@allenbandido: I'd say Xbox 360 due to the PS3's online crisis.
@njoystic: The 3DO, because everyone had finally forgotten about it 'til I brought it up just now. Bazinga!
@BigDawgAug: Provably Wii. Xbox and Playstation cancel each other out exclusive-wise with Uncharted 3 and Gears 3, but Wii had a new Zelda.
@modeps: This year? PC because of indie gaming.
@gamedog2408: it's hard the 360 and PS3 both had awesome years. IMO PS3 exclusives gives it the edge RE3, UNC3, ICO HD and better Portal2
@Pushaman55: I would definitely say Xbox 360 just because of XBLA's Summer of the Arcade. of course you have Gears 3 but Uncharted and Zelda Skyward Sword, battled that. SO definitely a big contribution from XBLA made the Xbox 360 see success out the 3
@willstrib1996: PS3. Because of so many great exclusive releases. And they have @TheKevinButler that's a win bu itself
@Voleki: pc: Skyrim, Witcher 2. Yes they are on other platforms, but on pc & ultra, they are amazing.
@waudad01: I would say 360 because it was up all year and actually released games unlike the Ps3 and the wii
@TheOnlyRalphie: XBOX 360: Skyrim, Batman, Battlefield 3, MW3. All that needs to be said.
@JosePasillas: PS3 would of had the best year if not for the hack in the begining of the year
@TimShelton: Not even close, PS3 had a PR nightmare, Wii is all but dead and Xbox 360 had exclusives, a new dashboard, and new features.
@ShadowAuthor: Probably 360. It's negligible though b/c of all the cross-platform titles. 360 had more exclusives though, AFAIK.
@xXDanteHicksXx: 360. XBL wasn't hacked, continued innovation with Kinect & new dash, Gears 3, XBLA had several great games, etc.
@YouveBenHacked: Xbox 360 because of their success with Kinect and their ability to avoid pewee grade hacking attemps..unlike Sony and the PS3
@Firmly_Grasp_It: It was incredibly even. I'm a PC guy myself, but i'd say that Sony had the most must-have exclusives (despite PSN failing).
@ctplante: PC had the best 2011. Minecraft ended the "is pc dead" discussion, while Facebook games evangelized millions.
@Alienhunter95: ps3 cuz of hack. Free stuffs!
@HattoriZangestu: PS3, had much more exclusives, and you can see more games coming, 360 looks like only have Kinect for kids and halo. :(
@DaemonGildas: I'm gonna have to give it to PS3. Simply because it had Demon Souls exclusively until Dark Souls came out.
@Jedi_Marcos: Easy, PS3 hands down.Aside from solid 3rd party stuff,1st party games were amazing...and were critically acclaimed.
@DualChiet: Ps3 had the most games year round and they were all great quality(except for Socom 4 and PsMove Heroes).
@ODESSA_Z: Obviously XBOX - PS3 got hacked - could you make an argument for Sony that it was a good year?
@CircularPastry: Xbox reason: Gears of War 3 (srsly, xbl improvement, sales, games)
@styx971: Ps3 while the whole psn hack was bad they still had a good few exclusives.. and my 360 finaly died again so yeah
@smiley1651: Ps3 because of Uncharted 3 and Killzone 3
Feel free to post your own analysis of the systems in the comments section below. If you want to adhere to the 140 character rule, feel free to do so, or, if you have some time on your hands, give me your full assessment.
Email the author Andrew Reiner, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.