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10 Bold Predictions for Video Games in 2019

+ an autopsy of everything I got right and wrong in 2018

I’ve been doing these for so many years, and yet my 2018 predictions were my best yet. So I’ll try and top them this year, but all I really want is a new Katamari game. That’s it. Just make that, and I’m happy.

With 2017, I went 7.5 out of 10. So let’s dive in and see how I did for 2018, shall we?:

1. Indie games have a weird year (WRONG)

Yeah, no, indies had a stellar year. I continue to live in the past and think that it’s unattainable for developers to hit the peak they did in 2013 where Gone Home, Stanley Parable, Papers Please, and Kentucky Route Zero all came out, and while we haven’t gotten there narratively, we did with gameplay.

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Celeste, The Messanger, Dead Cells, Into the Breach, Return of the Obra Dinn, and Guacemelee 2 all crushed it, and many of those were legit GOTY contenders. I will continue to never underestimate indies ever again, and just love and enjoy them like always.

2. More and more trade shows really start to morph into something else we do not recognize, and we are all scratching our heads by the end of the year. (CORRECT)

I’m going to go ahead and give myself the point for this since we saw the turn happen, crossed the Rubicon, and are never going back. E3 is open to the public, Sony tried and failed to do something weird, they quit E3 and cancelled PSX, Nintendo had less Directs than ever before and dedicated their entire E3 showing to literally 45 minutes of nothing but Smash Brothers, and Microsoft had that thing in Mexico City and it didn’t work at all. Trade shows are dead, RIP convention halls and live events.

3. We get an all-time blockbuster in sales this year (CORRECT)

Ironically it might not be Red Dead Redemption 2, it could actually be that Spider-Man PS4 bundle. Or, if you want to count downloads and money earned, Fortnite ended up being an unprecedented phenomenon. So one of those counts, I’m sure. Smash Bros. Ultimate sold like hotcakes, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is impervious to criticism or down votes, and World Cup fever made FIFA 19 a hit. Go figure, people worldwide like soccer that much.

4. The industry will begin to self-regulate loot boxes (CORRECT)

Not out of legislation, because EA told Belgium to go fuck itself, but out of fear and pressure to backlash and poor optics and bad PR. Thank goodness, some games even advertised on them not including loot boxes aka gambling for children.

5. A significant number of high and low profile games will star women this year. (CORRECT)

Off the top of my head, I count:

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Celeste, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Octopath Traveler, Florence, Donut County, and Moss all starred or prominently featured women at the forefront. I count that as a success, and I see no reason why the industry should stop in 2019.

6. The Nintendo Switch begins to stall (HALF POINT)

It certainly didn’t stall in terms of sales, but the lineup really only had Smash, and some ports, and some indies. It’s a strong library, but we all knew it wouldn’t be getting Metroid Prime 4 or Bayonetta 3 or Animal Crossing or something else cool. Just Mario Tennis and Mario Party and a Pokemon game that some people like. Eh.

7. Battle royale games are FUCKING EVERYWHERE (CORRECT)

Image result for plankton correct gif

8. The return of the Dark Souls clone (CORRECT)

Ashen, Below, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, God of War, Dead Cells, and Death’s Gambit all took inspirations or ripped off the Souls games, and then we actually got Dark Souls Remastered which was cool too. It was a lovely year to fight using the shoulder buttons, parry, and pick up currency where you last died. Hopefully 2019 gives us Nioh 2. And Sekiro rocks our socks. I am so fucking ready for those games, you have no idea.

9. We finally see get teases for… (HALF POINT)

Here is what I wrote last year:

“Cyberpunk 2077, Borderlands 3, The Division 2, a new Diablo, a new Bioshock project, Halo 6, Ghost Story and Ken Levine’s new game, and the return of a very classic franchise. I think Splinter Cell or Crimson Skies or Perfect Dark, but maybe Left 4 Dead? Who is to say, honestly, I don’t know. It won’t be Half-Life 3, though — sorry everybody, that ship has sailed. We also finally hear more about The Last of Us: Part 2, and Kingdom Hearts 3, and the Final Fantasy VII remake, and Shenmue 3, and they are all 2019 or later. Not one of those things is close to this calendar year.”

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By my count, that’s good for halfsies. So I’ll give myself partially credit.

10. Sony finally announces PSN name changes (CORRECT)

Finally. Even though they did it in the worst way possible that made it seem not appealing whatsoever.

So all in all, I scored 8 out of 10, which is better than the last few years. Progress! I want to shoot for 8.5 or higher this year, so let us get to it! Here are the my predictions for video games in 2019.

1. Sony caves in, and brings more games like Rocket League and Fortnite to cross-play

I never thought they would do it, and I was wrong. Hell, we were all wrong. But the cat is out of the proverbial bag now and soon more games will come to their “beta” and be cross-play compatible with Xbox and Switch and PC and iOS and Android. Minecraft and various shooters seem like obvious candidates.

2. A new console and streaming service enters the fray

Something will get announced by some poor schmuck and it will not go over super well. Amazon, Google, somebody else, Soulja Boy, who knows! But I expect an announcement and some vague promises, but honestly, nobody should be doing this. Just misguided, especially since we are getting a new Playstation and Xbox sooner than we think. A streaming service is slightly less misguided, but it’s so likely and I really do not see anything making a dent.

3. Big time games go free-to-play, including Overwatch and Fallout 76

Fallout is absolutely getting an apology tour this year, no question. Bethesda will have to do something with no new games on the horizon, and a giant turd on their hands. A turd that makes one of the most valuable IPs look like dogshit. I expect an expansion and free shit and new updates and a massive overhaul to save face before Starfield starts to ramp up, mark my words.

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I also imagine that Blizzard will be forced to do something to expand their eSports audience, with Activision looking to squeeze profits out of every square inch of that greedy conglomerate. Overwatch is the last remaining big title to reasonably go free, after Counter-Strike did it last year. Rainbow Six isn’t quite there yet, but honestly that could go free-to-play and I would still get this prediction right. Maybe even Halo goes free, who knows! Maybe PUBG, gaming is crazy and I expect nothing short of madness, pure unadulterated madness!

4. Digital stores go for Steam’s jugular

Blood is in the water. Unexpectedly, after Valve decided years ago to sit on their asses and do fucking nothing about new games or fixing Steam or their business, EA manned up and told them to go fuck themselves. Ubisoft is not allowing The Division 2 to go onto Steam, and will continue that trend going forward. More uPlay for us! And the Epic store is just getting started, and they won’t slow down, especially with all the free capital they’re getting from Fork Knife. Maybe Microsoft and Sony rev up on PC, maybe Nintendo gets aggressive (probably not), but Steam will get caught slipping and if they don’t right the ship they’ll be on the ropes soon enough.

5. No big price cuts or new SKUs, no mini-Switch or major revisions, and no new console talk this year (sans leaks, I don’t count those, those are inevitable)

I don’t expect any new consoles in 2019, or any talk of new consoles. No announcements, no news, no half-step upgrades or new SKUs. No major price cuts, no new Switch model, nothing. Just leaks, and lots of build-up for 2020. The flood gates open then, but not now. Now we just wait for the future.

6. First looks at the following…

I don’t know how I’m going to score this one, but fuck it, here is what we get gameplay footage from:

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Borderlands 3, Watch Dogs 3, A Splinter Cell reboot/sequel, A Bioshock reboot/prequel, Titanfall 3 and Jedi: Fallen Order, Diablo 4, Warcraft mobile, Halo: Infinite, that Square Enix/Marvel Avengers game, that Battletoads thing, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 3, and many more games that have been announced but not shown off yet. Like Ken Levine’s game, I want that so bad. Ghost Story, give it to me now damnit!

7. You can tell Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are holding back the good stuff, because a shit ton of stuff is slipping into early 2020

Delay city, all abord! Next stop: Delay City. Nothing surprising is coming this year, nothing out of left field. The games announced for PS4 currently are the ones coming out in the fall. Gears 5 and a new Forza are spearheading the Xbox lineup. Nintendo will not suddenly have a bombshell to drop on us, we will get Animal Crossing and like it.

And boy will this be the year of broken promises, as everybody wants to save their big guns for new consoles in 2020. I would not be shocked if Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, Halo Infinite, Metroid Prime 4, Bayonetta 3, and others get pushed to make the Xbox Scarlet and PS5 look better at launch. Some of those will come out, but not all of them. No way no how.

8. A major acquisition is incoming and we are not prepared for it

Somebody big is buying somebody else soon, and none of us can stop it. Late stage capitalism is coming for us all, and it will devour the world until there is but one company standing and every dollar in the world’s economy is sucked dry. So either a platform holder buys a legit studio, or two companies merge, or Tencent purchases everyone with all the money they earn under the table. Most likely Microsoft buys an indie team or mid-level studio to satisfy the fanatics out there.

9. Valve announces work on a new game

It happens: #Half-Life3. No, not really, but I think they ramp up the teases for something new, maybe DOTA or VR related, maybe something new, maybe a Counter-Strike thing, or a new Left 4 Dead. That would be great. This also does not include Campo Santo, who they bought a while back, I will not count that.

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10. The Game of the Year has not been announced yet

Mystery game wins December 2019, you heard it here first!

Bonus: every video game movie coming out will be bad

Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog, does not matter, they’ll all suck. I’ll see you in 2020 if the world doesn’t end by then, to see how I did.

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