2013 was an interesting year for video game enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes.  First off, it was the last annual fiscal stretch to not be dominated by 8th generation consoles (with 2014 shaping up to be the year of the PS4), which should definitely count for something.  Last year was also marked by many big-budget series continuations, with each development studio eagerly churning out their best feature-laden, incremental progress-driven title.  There were also some big, unforgettable hits which landed, instantly garnering incredible commercial success.  We present to you, the 5 best-selling games from 2013 with their (unit) sales numbers attached…

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) – 26 million

No other game on this list is quite as important (from a market perspective) as GTA V.  Rockstar games thoroughly demonstrated their developmental prowess with this latest installment to the fabled open-world franchise.  Aside from its stellar visuals and trademark “scaling” gameplay (from foot to vehicle and switching characters on the fly) the incredibly large map is infinitely fun to explore, knowing full well that you can simply jump into a new mission any time you like.  What really turned this one into a mega hit of course was the fact that it sort of marked a return to the formula established in their previous effort, GTA: San Andreas, although with elements found in GTA IV being added along with radically updated graphics.

To be honest however, GTA V is its own beast, an uncontrollable animal which seems to resent the fact that there are rules to be followed.  That’s basically what this title does for the gamer – it pushes you toward emotional extremes which blur the line between humor, disgust, anger and grief, all while you’re having the time of your life exploring its giant sandbox world.  It is this schizophrenically-minded design which makes GTA V such an irresistible experience, where absolute chaos can break out at any moment.

Call of Duty: Ghosts – 12 million

Most critics and gamers thought that Call of Duty: Ghosts was doomed to be a lackluster title, not quite capturing the audience like previous games from the series.  To make a long story short, they were all wrong.  “Ghosts” ended up being an unexpected mega hit for 2013 after it was all said and done.  The formula developed here for this game by Infinity Ward has apparently transformed added another branch to the ever-expanding franchise.  It’s even been suggested that this particular title helped to dramatically bolster console sale across the board.

FIFA 14 – 8 million

Released across an incredibly diverse array of platforms (including Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PS2, Wii, and PC) FIFA 14 was, and is, pretty much what everyone expected from EA.  Apt to regularly produce a new annual edition which incorporates the incremental advances from the previous years, the FIFA series continues to be the best football (soccer) franchise around, offering the most in-depth and realistic experience and visuals.  Those who have had the chance to play around with the next gen version of the game (for Xbox One and PS4) have been dually satisfied as those versions possess the more advanced engine, visuals and A.I.

Pokemon X&Y – 7 million

If you owned a Nintendo 3DS in 2013, “Pokenmon X&Y” were more or less the games to have.  Yes, that’s pluralized for a reason – this isn’t just one title release, it is in fact, two.   Both of course are overhead RPG’s which afford you the opportunity to take on adventure as a young trainer in search of elusive Pokemon.  At its heart, this game is a classic JRPG and utilizes familiar leveling mechanics as well as the 3DS’s connectivity features (allowing you to trade with other real players).

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – 4 million

Ah, what can we say about the wonderfully immersive Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag from Ubisoft which you probably don’t already know?  To put it bluntly; it’s a brilliant game which builds upon all the mechanics found in the previous titles (in the series) and tosses them into the open oceans of a pirate-filled Caribbean.  There’s not really any other game on the market like ACIV to tell you the truth.  The undulating lifelike pulse of the sea, the ability to freely command a fully-weaponized sailing vessel, and the sheer wealth of activities / missions to complete make this game truly one-of-a-kind.