January 11th 2010 12:39 am PT

The Top 20 LIVE Games of 2009


After a few days of number crunching, here are the most popular games on the LIVE Service for 2009 based on connectivity.

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

1    Halo 3
2    Call of Duty 4
3    Modern Warfare 2
4    Call of Duty: WaW
5    Gears of War 2
6    GTA IV (Purchase and download the full game)
7    Left 4 Dead
8    Halo 3: ODST
9    FABLE II Episode 1 (of 5)
10   バイオハザード5」デモ (BioHazard 5 -  Resident Evil 5)
11   Halo Wars – Demo
13   Fallout 3
14   UFC 2009 Undisputed Demo
15   Left 4 Dead 2 – Demo
16   Gears of War
17   1 vs 100
18   Guitar Hero World Tour 
19   Guitar Hero III

20   FIFA 09


Top Arcade Titles (Full Versions purchased)
Click a title to send a free demo to your Xbox 360 download queue

1    Battlefield 1943
2    Castle Crashers
3    Trials HD
4    Hasbro Family Game Night **
5    Shadow Complex
6    Marvel vs. Capcom 2
7    Magic: The Gathering
8    UNO
9    Worms
10   Peggle
11   Worms 2: Armageddon
12   Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
13   ‘Splosion Man
14   A Kingdom for Keflings
15   3 on 3 NHL Arcade
16   The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
17   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Classic Arcade
18   Marble Blast Ultra
19   Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
20   Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

**Combined sales of all Hasbro Family Game Night titles

The above arcade list is based on full versions purchased.



Top Original Xbox Titles (based on UU’s)

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


Top Indie Games (Full Versions purchased)

1    I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1
2    Avatar Drop
3    RC-AirSim
4    Headshot
5    Miner Dig Deep
6    Rumble Massage
7    Who Did I Date Last Night
8    Kodu Game Lab
9    Avatar Golf
10    Aquarium HD
11    myFishtank
12    Head Shot 2
13    DrumKit
14    A Perfect Massage
15    The Impossible Game
16    Inside Lacrosse’s CL2010
17    ZP2K9
18    ezmuze+ Hamst3r edition
19    The Drinking Game
20    Physics Sandbox



Top Games For Windows LIVE (based on UU’s)


1    GTA IV
2    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
3    Fallout 3
4    Shadowrun
5    Street Fighter IV
6    Halo 2 (PC)
7    Batman: Arkham Asylum
8    Resident Evil 5
9    Gears of War (Windows)
10    Red Faction Guerrilla
11    Battlestations: Pacific
12    Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
13    DiRT 2
14    Section 8
15    Quantum of Solace PC
16    FlatOut UC (PC)
17    Fuel
18    Viva Piñata
19    SWTCW: Republic Heroes
20    Juiced 2: HIN


These lists are based on global unique users connected to the Live Service during 2009 or in the case of Arcade and Indie Games, full versions purchased during the year.


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

  • HsitH

    Halo 3 #1 YEAAAHH!

  • o0I H I0o

    Well deserved halo 3!

  • Mcmax3000

    Very interesting to see MW2 only make third place.

    Congrats to Battlefield 1943 for being top XBLA game. Very well deserved.

  • AriesDog

    Thanks for finally Top Games for Windows LIVE.

  • Pemalite

    Glad to see Halo 3 and Battlefield 1943 take top spot, great games.
    My only issue with Battlefield 1943 is the lack of maps… Playing those 3 maps gets a wee-bit tedious sometimes! But it’s still an awesome game. :)

  • AriesDog

    Great list! Just a couple of nitpick items. In the Xbox 360 list did the American and Japanese versions of RE5/Biohazard5 need to be listed seperately? And did we need to have the demos for Halo Wars, UFC, and L4D2. That took away spots that reveal all sorts of interesting info.

    For instance, Guitar Hero World Tour and GH3 beat out Rock Band 1&2, Beatles Rock Band, and even Guitar Hero 5? Crazy.

  • Biff Tanner

    Can we get 20 top lists from now on :p

  • A Place for Us

    Gears of War 1 there. :D

    Would be good to have a spreadsheet of say top 100 just for curious minds. :P

  • tj sumpthun

    @Mcmax3000 why is it interesting modern warfare 2 has only been out two months while the games above it had been out all year

  • GamingTailor

    Too bad that there wasn’t more love for Leave Home. I was a bit surprised that the indie game didn’t make to the top 20.

  • KP ScuzzyBunny

    People are strange…saying, in any way, that Halo 3 is “better” than Modern Warfare 2 because it is higher on this list is insane. MW2 was out for 51 DAYS in 2009 (launched 11/10) and ranked as the third most played game for the YEAR. Halo 3 was a good game when it launched, as most big-budget games are, and it remains popular (especially with the younger demographics, as parents are a little more forgiving on “cartoon” violence and killing aliens than the realistic stuff in the COD series), but I think if you extended it to the “fiscal” year, there would be a much different picture.

    And I am a bit surprised as well…I do understand that a free demo will always be more popular than the $60 game, but I can’t believe that Borderlands didn’t make the list! But with 5 of the 20 being free, and three more being games that are around $20 (and have been for most of the year), I guess it makes some sense. Also a little shocked at the lack of RB titles, since to play the DLC and downloaded songs from track packs you are technically playing RB1 or RB2.

  • DeFFeR

    This should prove the point that BFBC:2 holds no chance to knock off the CoD series of games…

    CoD4 and CoD5 are both top 5, MW2 is top 5 with only 51 days… meanwhile, BFBC is not on the list. I really enjoyed BFBC, but I do not expect that the sequel will blow me away…

    Anyways, good job Major. It’s always interesting to look at these statistics. I’m assuming that they are MS only, and not for public consumption? I’d be interested to see the actual numbers associated with the games, just to get a general feel for the vitality of XBL.

  • trickybuz93

    Congrats to both Halo 3 and FIFA 09 for making the list truly great games. Battlefield 1943 also made a good stand as the best selling arcade game

  • stststststq

    kanugopt – Agreed about Leave Home. It’s a great game. MS could do with putting an “Indie Game of the Week” thing on the Spotlight channel to help some of these devs (and themselves) out, or do more occasional features on them.

  • Captain Clipx

    Sweet! I’m so happy to see Halo 3 back at number one where it should be, and ODST make it to the list as well. Well done Bungie! Show Infinity Ward how its done.

  • Captain Clipx

    O nevermind. Lol, I thought it was top 10 for this week. just notice the 2009…oh well. lol.

  • Jack Scallion

    Sorry, but I cant believe that Halo is on the first place. I think there were a lot more people playing CoD4(now MW2) than Halo.
    But its important for MS, to see their own nr.1 franchise at the top of the list.


    “Fifa 09 truly a great game” really, why? what makes it any better than any other soccer game?

  • aStrangeDisease

    It’s awesome that a two year old game is still #1. Not surprising though. Halo sets the standard for FPSs. I always go back to Halo’s flawlessly balanced multiplayer when I want kick some virtual ass. Halo 3 will return to its usual #1 weekly position until Reach is released because mature gamers prefer the best.


    Great to see 1 vs 100 made it in the top 20. Bring on more live game shows!

  • Twilight Miasma

    Aww Final Fantasy XI wasn’t on the list. :(

  • Spargo CXVII

    I own 16 out 20 of those games. I think I play too much….Noooo I don’t. Oh and go Halo!!!!!

  • rastansaga

    Good to see that Taito’s attempt to rip people off with their bug-ridden XBLA crap didn’t work.

  • mchiefvs360

    Halo 3, MW2, GOW2, RE5, ODST, Halo Wars = FTW

  • UNSCleric

    A 2+ year old game beats a brand new game for highest unique users.

    Halo 3 – Game of the Year for 2007, 2008, & 2009.

  • Searing Wave

    Halo 3 will only be beaten by Halo: Reach. Well earned and deserved.

    Especially pleased with the Games for Windows Live list! Please continue it with the weekly updates!

  • M1chl

    Congratulations for man, who made game “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1″


    Good to see Shadow Complex at no.5, that game is epic.

  • yolarrydabomb

    this is better then top weekly thing.

    can you do this the same each week. please top 20 week

  • VILIUS169

    Thank you Major for the top 20.To be honest i didnt expect Halo on the top spot,i was thinking cod waw or mw2

  • MisterBigMack

    well done halo 3 – deserved – haven’t played it in like few months but awesome nights spent on valhalla and epitaph

  • Gonzo345

    Hohohoho! Incredible Halo3 and incredible Gears2, one of the laggiest games ever seen but a good game.

    Continue with the weekly top ten (please, top 20 ~.~)!

  • MeS FEAR

    major this list is really nice thx…but we want a weekly top 20 list too…we hope that u let it happen…thank you

  • Ganon255

    Thanks for the “Games for Windows Live” list.

  • Blue Thunder28

    I know it’d be great to have this every week but judging by the “after a few days of number crunching” I think it’d be too much work every single week ahah… especially on convention weeks like CES and the ones coming up. Thanks a lot for the list though Major you rock.

  • ShaggyB

    not to take anything away from hasbro family game night…. but shouldnt you look at unique ids and not combined sales on the games in it. If i bought all what 8 games, would that be 8 sales of the game for this list…. If so then it should be considerably lower. If I buy one of the games thats me buying the game. (at least in part) If i buy a second game thats not me buying hasdro family game night again, Ive already got it. So I think you should look at those numbers based on unique id’s buying the game. I doubt its as high up, not getting into the it wasnt good or wasnt over priced arguments… but the game shouldnt count as 8 sales to one person. If 1 million users bought it and bought all 8 games, thats not 8 million people buying the game.

  • wolfzero01

    amazing that Halo 3 was the top game in 2009 considering the hype and launch numbers of MW2. it sucks that Rock Band 2 & Beatles Rock Band aren’t on the list while the crappy Guitar Hero games did. & where’s the love for Borderlands, it really shocking that its never in the weekly top ten list nor is it on this list either.

  • AKU

    Does anyone know how this list was constructed? How is Modern Warfare 2 on top of World at War? It just came out in November.

  • Computerdude103

    This was in place of a show? What a buzzkill!!

  • Thiago123

    So…pretty much EVERYONE in Japan that owns an Xbox played RE5.
    Really the biggest surprise to me is Shadowrun still up there in PC list. Way underrated game. But since I haven’t played it in a while and it supports cross platform play, if I were to fire it up I’d be getting crushed by some mouse and keyboard guys! lol.

  • VVho Cares

    I sure hope the top 20 list is here to stay!


    I’d be willing to bet if you combined all UU’s from all the CoD’s that they’d heavily outnumber all the games on the list. Activision has basically split users across different games with their annualized release schedules. That’s not a bad thing because now there’s a CoD for everyones tastes, but anyone thinking that Halo is kicking ass only needs to look at how many CoD games are on the list breathing down it’s neck.

    Had WaW never launched, CoD4 would likely have held the top spot.

  • BHZ anakinjmt

    Wow, impressive that Modern Warfare 2 took the #3 spot after only two months in 2009. Also interesting to see CoD4 BEAT MW2.

  • Matu Flp Krawfe

    Halo Wars…demo!

    Sweet. This is the sort of interesting trivia that we wouldn’t get from the older system. Long may the top 20 list reign.

    Still, the top 2 games being from 2007 does worry me a bit. The community is becoming so sedentary that even the newer titles like MW2 are falling to their predecessors out of, more than likely, complacency with the old. The new quite simply isn’t enough to move the masses from their monotonous mires of all too familar gameplay and so the future of gaming, unless serious force is applied to social inertia to utterly change the direction of the community, is suspect because if even a direct and all too familiar sequel isn’t enough to wrest the long reigning kings from their top slots then nothing short of a complete revolution will. Consiquently, we can then look only to stagnation in any real probability because it is the path of least resistance for all concerned.

  • Carg0

    that’s impressive that the DEMO for Halo Wars is in at #11, ahead of both RE5 and Fallout 3.

  • Velete

    Pretty depressing to see battlefield 1943 at the top of the arcade list since recently the devs finally admitted to the community that their will never be any new content DLC released for it – the reason being they want us to buy battlefield bad company 2 ( this is literally what they said )

    the 3 maps got boring months ago:P

  • CaptainCaterpie

    Ahh, the king lives on.

    2010 prediction: MW2 is #1, simply because Reach won’t be out until late.


    well first off..you cant really compare halo 3 to modern warfare 2 yes they are the same type of game as in first person shooter but that is where the similarities end..MW2 is a simulator where as halo is a si-fi shooter..cartoonish yes but also requireing more skill than MW2’s point and shoot and it dies..i can’t stand MW2…all you need to be good at it is good hand to eye and reaction time..thats pretty much it..with halo it takes knowledge of the weapons and which combination takes out ur enemy fastest..great teamwork helps in both games but in my opinion halo 3 is the better skill based game of the two


    @ ShaggyB: The individual games are technically considered “add-ons” (or DLC if you prefer), so they can’t be counted separately on the Arcade list. Now if there was a Top 20 Add-ons list on here too (like I’ve been requesting for months now), you’d be able to see how each game sells individually. Until that happens, Hasbro Family Game Night is going to keep being listed as lumped together like that.


    >>>BOO BEE LUVR<<<

    This guy needs some professional help.