When 2013 came to a close, Microsoft found a contender in the game industry with its Xbox One console, but couldn’t quite keep up with Sony in terms of pricing, availability and accessibility, since most consumers were “stuck” needing to purchase a motion-sensitive Kinect device with their console – even if they didn’t need it. But by the end of 2014, Microsoft turned around its success, and is now giving Sony a run for its money heading into the New Year.

After providing the option to purchase bundles that didn’t include the Kinect device – and also came with an alluring set of pack-in games including Sunset Overdrive and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Microsoft’s slump in sales quickly went away. People began buying the special bundles in droves, and, as a result, the system has now sold over 10 million units, almost caught up with Sony’s system.

Not only that, but Microsoft showed its fans that it truly cares about them with a number of key exclusives. Sunset Overdrive turned out to be one of the year’s biggest surprises, a colorful action romp that has received universal acclaim with both critics and fans. Forza Horizon 2 easily topped the original in terms of both quality and control, becoming a hot-seller for the Xbox One in no time flat. And the multiplayer shooter Titanfall was an immense success, as there’s word that EA is already considering ideas for a sequel, although it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

That said, Microsoft’s year hasn’t quite been as easy as it was hoping. The company still struggles to make an impact in the Japanese game market, as the Xbox One sold fewer than 100,000 units with its debut there. And some games have run into their fair share of problems, including the key release Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which launched with a number of online issues – and considering how popular that game’s multiplayer components are, many fans were let down as a result.

Regardless, Microsoft managed to bounce back and retain its piece of the video game industry, and, heading into 2015, it has its own fair share of promise coming up, including a forthcoming beta for Halo 5: Guardians (which starts today) and various exclusives sure to be announced at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo – including a game streaming service that could be better structured than Sony’s PlayStation Now.

Microsoft has definitely come out ahead in 2014, and this coming year could be its best one yet – provided it stays on task with big hits like Halo 5 and keeps showing its love for its gaming fans.