The PlayStation 3's Really Good 2013 Line-Up Is No FlukeS

I don't know what the term is for what happens to a console in the year its successor console comes out. What is it, a lame duck session? That's not quite right, because a system like the PS2 winds up getting support well after the year the PS3 comes out. The PS2 simply isn't Sony's newest console anymore. So let's call the year these changes happen "displacement years."

This year is the PS3's displacement year, and, what do you know? It's getting some promising games. In fact, the PS3 line-up looks so good that you might not think it is a console in decline. It turns out that displacement years tend to be good for the displaced console...most of the time.

I'd thought that the PS3's strong line-up this year was a fluke. In the same year that'll be capped with the release of the PS4, we've already gotten a new Sly Cooper and a new God of War on PS3. We're getting the much-anticipated The Last of Us later this spring, the ambitious Beyond: Two Souls beyond that, the quirky Puppeteer in September and maybe more.

I expected a quieter year, but maybe that's just because the previous displacement year—2012's displacing of the Wii by the Wii U—was pretty pathetic for the Wii. Nintendo console owners got, primarily, a new Rhythm Heaven, region-delayed releases of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story, a Kirby collection and a handful of third party games topped by a new Just Dance.

Late last week, my colleague András Neltz flipped through the pages of Wikipedia to see just how good or bad most major consoles' displacement years have been. His research used North American release dates. Here are the results (apologies in advance if we omitted a game or two):

Sony Displacement Years

Major PSOne games in the year of the PS2's North American debut (2000)

  • Ace Combat 3
  • Breath of Fire IV
  • Chrono Cross
  • Dino Crisis 2
  • Fear Effect
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Front Mission 3
  • Incredible Crisis
  • Legend of Mana
  • Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
  • Mega Man Legends 2
  • Parasite Eve II
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
  • Resident Evil Survivor
  • SaGa Frontier 2
  • Spec Ops: Stealth Patrol
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon
  • Syphon Filter 2
  • The Legend of Dragoon
  • Vagrant Story
  • Valkyrie Profile
  • Wild Arms 2

Major PS2 games in the year of the PS3's North American debut (2006)

  • .hack//G.U. vol. 1//Rebirth
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War
  • Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny
  • Black
  • Bully
  • Destroy All Humans! 2
  • Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories
  • Drakengard 2
  • Driver: Parallel Lines
  • Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires
  • Final Fantasy XII
  • Flatout 2
  • Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers
  • God Hand
  • Grandia III
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Just Cause
  • Justice League Heroes
  • Kingdom Hearts II
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
  • Monster Rancher EVO
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
  • Okami
  • Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams
  • Phantasy Star Universe
  • Shadow Hearts: From the New World
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army
  • SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals: Combined Assault
  • Sonic Riders
  • Steambot Chronicles
  • Suikoden V
  • Tales of Legendia
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
  • Wild Arms 4
  • Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra
  • Yakuza

Nintendo Displacement Years

Major NES games in the year of the SNES's North American debut (1991)

  • Adventure Island II
  • Battletoads
  • Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones
  • Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom
  • Nobunaga's Ambition II
  • Star Wars

Major SNES games in the year of the N64's North American debut (1996)

  • Kirby Super Star
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
  • SimCity 2000
  • Street Fighter Alpha 2
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Terranigma
  • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Major N64 games in the year of the GameCube's North American debut (2001)

  • Bomberman 64
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day
  • Dr. Mario 64
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Major GameCube games in the year of the Wii's North American debut (2006)

  • Baten Kaitos Origins
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy

Major Wii games in the year of the WiiU's North American debut (2012)

  • Just Dance 4
  • Mario Party 9
  • Rhythm Heaven Fever
  • Kirby's Dream Collection
  • Skylanders: Giants
  • Xenoblade Chronicles
  • The Last Story

Microsoft Displacement Year

Major Xbox games in the year of the Xbox 360's North American debut (2005)

  • Advent Rising
  • Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
  • Burnout Revenge
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
  • Conflict: Global Terror
  • Conker: Live and Reloaded
  • Dead to Rights II
  • Delta Force: Black Hawk Down
  • Destroy All Humans!
  • Doom 3
  • Far Cry Instincts
  • FlatOut
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • Gun
  • Half-Life 2
  • Indigo Prophecy
  • Jade Empire
  • Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
  • Medal of Honor: European Assault
  • Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
  • Ninja Gaiden Black
  • Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath
  • Operation Flashpoint: Elite
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
  • Psychonauts
  • Serious Sam II
  • Shadow the Hedgehog
  • Sid Meier's Pirates!
  • Sniper Elite
  • Spartan: Total Warrior
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando
  • Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  • The Punisher
  • The Suffering: Ties That Bind
  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Tony Hawk's American Wasteland
  • True Crime: New York City
  • Ultimate Spider-Man

All in all, these displacement years aren't so bad. I guess that's one more reason not to rush out to buy a new console. Be aware, of course, that the PS4 won't play PS3 games, not right away. Keep on enjoying that PS3. There's life in it yet.