From Kinect to Angry Birds — the biggest video game stories of 2010

During 2010, we wrote about 1,100 stories on the video game industry — and the year isn’t over yet. But here’s a look back at what we thought were the biggest stories of the year. For fun, here’s a link to our story from a year ago, when we deemed that the biggest story of 2009 was that the industry discovered that video games weren’t recession proof.

VentureBeat's top ten video games of the year (vote for your favorite)

Game publishers aren’t thrilled that video game sales are down 5 percent year to date. But for gamers, it’s been an awesome year because 2010 saw the debut of some of the best games ever made. From skinning cougars in Red Dead Redemption to shooting birds at pigs in Angry Birds, there was never a dull moment. The year’s biggest hits drew huge numbers of gamers much like the opening weekends of blockbuster movies, redefining the definition of a blockbuster game far beyond a mere 1 million units sold. If there was any weakness in the year, it was that the middle thinned out, with games falling into either the blockbuster bucket or the dud bucket.

Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer blows away other video games on engagement

When a video game like Call of Duty Black Ops debuts, it’s hard to measure its true impact. The latest installment of the modern combat game series has sold more than 5.6 million copies and could very well top 20 million units sold by the end of January or so. With the game selling at $60 each or more, those unit sales generated revenues of $360 million on the first day and could yield $1.2 billion in revenues in the first three months.

VentureBeat's picks for the 10 best video games of the holiday season

We’ve unveiled VentureBeat’s picks for the 10 best video games of the holiday season. And this year’s picks really show how much the $20 million U.S. gaming market has changed in the past year. The growing influence of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and mobile gaming experiences such as the iPhone are clear to see. These games have great single-player experiences, but many of them also have excellent social sharing and multiplayer experiences too, a factor that’s becoming increasingly important in this market.

Review: Call of Duty Black Ops shows games can beat the drama and action of movies

One of the best things about the Call of Duty Black Ops video game — this year’s phenomenal blockbuster that pulled in $350 million in its first day of sales last week — is that it has a great story. Much of the plot has twists and turns taken from brainwashing movies such as The Bourne Identity. But there are enough original elements to make the game more than a knock-off.

Robbers steal 100 copies of Call of Duty Black Ops

Call of Duty Black Ops is likely to be the biggest video game of the year. Activision Blizzard said so in its earnings call last week. And it got some additional validation Saturday night, as armed robbers made off with more than 100 copies of the highly-anticipated game in a heist at a GameStop Store in Baltimore.

Review: Why Medal of Honor didn't do its duty for EA

Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello trumpeted the success of Medal of Honor this week, saying the game generated more revenue than the much-talked-about movie, The Social Network. The Afghanistan war combat game has sold 1.5 million copies and generated $100 million in revenues, he said. Riccitiello made the comments in an interview on Fox Business Network.

With Call of Duty Black Ops, Treyarch steps out of Infinity Ward's shadow

When the founders of game studio Infinity Ward were fired in March, fans wondered if they would ever see another installment of the $3 billion Call of Duty combat game franchise that the game studio had created. But parent company Activision Blizzard is demonstrating that it has a pretty good backup plan with Treyarch, the one-time second-string game studio that is now fully stepping out with a premiere Call of Duty game for the fall.

Full interview with Treyarch's Mark Lamia on making Call of Duty Black Ops

With the launch of Call of Duty Black Ops this fall, Activision’s other combat game studio, Treyarch, is stepping into the spotlight. Treyarch has more than 300 people working on the game which releases on Nov. 9 and is the latest in a series that has generated more than $3 billion in sales. In the past, Treyarch was overshadowed by Infinity Ward game studio, which launched Modern Warfare 2, the most successful game in history, in November. Infinity Ward has lost its leadership in a nasty battle with the parent company, and so now Treyarch has to prove that Call of Duty still has legs. We talked with Mark Lamia, studio head of Treyarch, about this challenge. Here’s a transcript of our interview.