January 4th 2009 6:00 pm PT

The Top 20 LIVE Games of 2008

Last year was a great year to be an Xbox 360 gamer as is evident by the quality of titles that Xbox LIVE members were playing. After a few days of number crunching, here are the top games for 2008 based on Xbox Live connectivity.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles
(based on UU’s)

1 Halo 3
2 Call of Duty 4
4 Gears of War 2
5 Gears of War
6 CoD: World at War
7 Guitar Hero III
8 Battlefield: Bad Company Demo
9 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo
10 Rock Band
11 Fable II
12 Mirror’s Edge Demo
13 Madden NFL 09
14 BF: Bad Company
15 Rainbow Six Vegas 2
16 UNO
17 Castle Crashers
18 COD: World at War Multiplayer Beta
19 Forza Motorsport 2
20 Too Human – Demo

 Top Arcade Titles (Full Versions purchased)

1 Castle Crashers
2 Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
3 Braid
4 A Kingdom for Keflings
6 Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
7 Fable II Pub Games
8 Duke Nukem 3D
9 Bionic Commando: Rearmed
10 Worms
12 Portal: Still Alive
14 1942: Joint Strike
15 Bomberman Live
17 N+
18 Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3
19 Marble Blast Ultra
20 Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

The above arcade list is based on full versions purchased.


Original Xbox Top Live Titles (based on UU’s)

1 Halo 2
2 Fable
3 Star Wars: Battlfrnt 2
4 Counter-Strike
5 Fable: Lost Chapters
6 Doom 3
7 Conker: Live Reloaded
8 Splinter Cell Chaos
10 SW: Republic Commando
11 Star Wars: Battlefront
12 Burnout 3
13 Guilty Gear XX #Reload
14 Gauntlet Seven Sorrows
15 Call of Duty 3
16 Ninja Gaiden Black
17 Crimson Skies
18 MechAssault 2
19 Call of Duty 2
20 Rainbow Six 3



Xbox 360 By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • ck2875

    So i can only assume that the top arcade titles will be added to Arcade’s Greatest Hits now? ;-)

  • http://Halonascar.org Will

    Thanks for the list. It would be cool if you had an iphone optimized site.

  • http://www.joystickradio.com barrios1992

    thanks for the list major

  • OMG Aero

    Is Halo 2 supposed to link to Halo 1 on the marketplace?

  • http://brilli.am/writes Brilliam

    A shame N+ is so much lower than some of those other titles, it’s the best game of 2008 (in my opinion)!

  • Teddy

    Not sure i like the concept of having a top title by unique user. Just because more people tried a game, doesnt mean it should be considered a top title..


    Is a game considered a failure if the demo shows up and not the full retail version like battlefield bad company?

  • ScarboroughKID

    Battlefield, is Number 14

  • ScarboroughKID

    Battlefield is Number 14

  • Zeouterlimits

    3 cheers for Bungie!
    Certainly a good year for all, and it pleases my heart to see Geometry Wars 2 in 2nd place.


    Oh, missed it. how about too human.

  • Radical R

    how can uno be 5th on the xbla chart but the highest on the “all games” chart? that is just confusing? :S

  • DarkDude98

    @ Radical R. More people played it this year than bought it, I assume the XBLA only includes people who purchased those titles in 2008.

  • A Place for Us

    Glad to see the love for Braid.

  • Matu Flp Krawfe

    Woohoo! R6: Vegas 2 is up there!

  • Matu Flp Krawfe

    ….Strange 3 demo’s were up there without the corresponding full versions, though.

  • Spargo CXVII

    Fallout 3 didn’t make it????? uh!!!!

  • LouSCannon

    Might be interesting to compare standings with release dates also?

  • XyGeN

    Looks like people are getting sick of the buggy Gears of War 2 and going back to the Original…no surprise.

  • Teh Samuel

    im amazed gears 2 got up that high considering how late it came out

  • Anon 5

    i knew cod waw wouldn’t be on top for long multiplayer is a disapointment to me.

  • Azwethinkweiz12

    Castle Crashers FTW!

  • SlimDogg95

    WoW… very interesting. Quite a few demos on there, with the game nowhere to be seen. And where is fallout 3 ?

  • Lieutenant Bran

    what the hell? Too Human demo? Seriously?

  • Lieutenant Bran

    oh my bad, that’s the whole year

  • Ark Hunter

    Those stats just make no sense.
    LIVE games
    16 UNO
    17 Castle Crashers

    Then in Arcade
    1 Castle Crashers
    5 UNO

    How can games that just came out in Nov/Dec. be up near the top of the list as well?

  • Ark Hunter

    Is this not total plays/connections for the year? Or is it Highest Number of Connections/users at one time?

  • MostSpartan 14

    It’s nice to see Rock Band on the list. It’s a shame that the Bad Company demo was played more than the full game because it was actually a really good game IMO.

  • Mcmax3000

    Ark Hunter, the first list is based on number of Unique Users that played those games throughout the year. The second list is based on number of Sales (full versions), hence the difference between some of the rankings in the lists.

  • Red Eyes Metal

    Wooohooo! Vegas 2 made the cut! It’s still a loved game :)

  • Mcmax3000

    As for the list, I’m not really surprised by anything on it. My three favourite games of the year (Burnout: Paradise, Rock Band 2 & Left 4 Dead) are all missing which sucks but there’s some great games on the list.

  • DurarRoc

    I don’t see how you can call this the top games of 2008 list. Considering for the count, if I only had 1 IP address the whole year – you would only need to have been connected to Live and played the game once. I am surprised there aren’t more demos on the list.

  • Goldneye00Agent

    I’m really happy to see Battlefield: Bad Company on the list. It really is a great game and mostly has been underated in 2008.

  • D3NNIS60

    Glad to see Halo 3 still on top, when it’s an ’07 game; that game has most replayability I had ever seen.
    Too bad Burnout: Paradise wasn’t on there though.

  • TSA jpicard

    Its interesting The Demos of game titles that were going to big did better then the final product, most likely due to the fact people played the demo and thought man this game is not so good as i was hoping.

  • Digita1 Panda

    So many on there make me go :O

  • Knuckles MetalMind

    Ouch, surprised not to see Rez or Ikaruga up there, although it has many masterpieces like Castle Crashers, Braid, Megaman 9…

    I just canĀ“t wait to see the XBLA titles of the next year ;D

  • Atheist Primate

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Halo 3 and COD4 remained at top 2 or 3 throughout 2009 as well =) And when COD6 is released in november, alot will play that too. And Halo 3: ODST which’ll be out in september/october probably.

  • Combo90

    Lool fable 2 flopped ..but still, it did come out late october….and the games lacking abit :S

  • AutomaticOcelot

    Fascinating! Thanks Major.
    The fact that 25% of the top-20 titles are demos should be useful metrics for publishers. I don’t think it’s a telling concern if the final retail version doesn’t show up. By definition the top-20 samples people playing while connected to Live, where you actually download the demos. I’m sure a large number of people buying and playing discs don’t bother to stay signed in all the time.

  • David

    Where is the Xbox Live Activity fo this week?

    Perhaps chosen not to show it this week as Gear 2 likely dropped even further down the list.


  • Lemon 5

    Cool list. Not too shocking except people are still hella into Halo 3? Everyone i know keeps telling me how bad it is, and just never play it (never did though).

  • Anon

    Wait a second. How is Halo 3 the top live game of the year when CoD 4 was at the top of the weekly live reports for most of the year and was only recently knocked down?

  • Bartews

    GOW 2 in 1 month >>>>> GOW 1 in 12 monts?

  • Sébastien

    Halo 3 Own

  • Rdeal

    There’s something fishy there COD:waw has been above Gears 2 every week except the first and its below it overall

  • rogXue

    I love how everyone complained about braid’s price yet paid it. Am I the only one who held true to boycotting $15 arcade games?

  • Herblaw

    @Spargo CXVII

    You don’t have to sign in to live to play fallout 3 so i’m guessing that would be why it isn’t up there.

  • The 7raveler

    Lemon 5: The people you talk to are sorely mistaken. At least give the multiplayer a try.

    THIS LIST IS BASED ON UU’s. Every time a different IP logs into one of the games, it is recorded.
    The arcade list is based upon how many purchased full versions were played, where the overall list takes into account the fact that demos are played too.

  • Smell007

    Halo 3 is still King

    *flails arms*