It's January and that means it's time to make some big, bold and quite possibly totally off the mark predictions for the coming year. What will 2018 have in store for gamers, the gaming community and video games writ large? What new and devious schemes ...
It's January and that means it's time to make some big, bold and quite possibly totally off the mark predictions for the coming year.
What will 2018 have in store for gamers, the gaming community and video games writ large? What new and devious schemes to separate gamers from their hard-earned cash will the publishers think of this year? What crazy controversies will blow up out of nowhere? And what will be the best and worst games of the year?
I honestly have no clue, but I'll prognosticate anyways, just for fun.
Here are 42 video game predictions for 2018.
A whole bunch of predictions for 2018 in video games.
1. 2018 will be the year when loot boxes start to become normalized. Giant oversteps like Star Wars Battlefront II and Destiny 2 will be walked back and "it's just cosmetic" will become largely viewed as acceptable and OK with Overwatch hailed as an example of how to do it right. EA, Activision and other publishers will learn from 2017's mistakes---but they won't roll back loot boxes, just make them less controversial.
2. Politicians here and abroad will make noises about how loot boxes represent gambling but little will actually be done about it. The slack will have to be picked up by journalists, YouTubers and gamers themselves, as well as sites like OpenCritic. It will be an uphill battle and we will be distracted constantly by faux controversies that take our attention away from shoddy business practices and focus it squarely on Twitter drama, accusations of various kinds of awfulness, etc.
3. Games like the new Battlefield, new Call of Duty and Anthem will all have loot boxes. These will become increasingly common and we will all look back at things like day-one DLC with fondness and nostalgia. Loot boxes, however, will pay back diminishing returns as every game tries to be a service and gamers wallets simply can't keep up---let alone our attention span.
4. Speaking of Call of Duty, the next one is coming from Treyarch so it's likely going to be another Black Ops game. I wager it'll be set in near-to-modern times or, like Black Ops II, divided between a modern(ish) storyline and a historical one. It's also possible the game will mix in modern and futuristic, but I just can't imagine Activision releasing another futuristic game after the success of WW2.
5. Another upcoming shooter, Far Cry 5, will be as excellent as the past two games in that series. It will also, unfortunately, feel very similar to the last two games in the series. That's great as far as gameplay goes, but a little disappointing given that FC3 and FC4 were already too much alike. Still, it's set in my home state of Montana so it basically has to be amazing.
6. Bungie will continue to fall from grace, unable or unwilling to fix the problems fans have with Destiny 2. Partly this will be because they are only willing to take half-measures to fix the Eververse and its loot boxes and partly this will be because the game itself has deep flaws that would require enormous reworks that Bungie is probably not able to fix. People will still play the expansions, but unless this game's version of 'The Taken King' is magically able to turn everything around, hype for any future Destiny releases will be at an all-time low.
7. PUBG will release on PS4 and be an unstable buggy mess. By then it will be much more stable on Xbox One and PC. People will buy it and play the hell out of it regardless.
8. There will be many, many more PUBG imitators. Here's what Newzoo analyst Tom Wijman told me on that front:
Any successful game is followed by a number of similar games or even just clones. We can expect many games to either add a 'battle royale' mode to their game, or new games developed entirely around the premise of PUBG. For example, several battle royale games on mobile phones have already been announced for release in 2018 by Chinese publishers.
We can never be sure about this, but it wouldn't be surprising if Call of Duty (and other popular shooters) added a battle royale mode to their upcoming releases. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if battle royale becomes a game mode that's simply expected in multiplayer shooters in the coming years, similar to death match, capture the flag, and point defense-type game modes.
If CoD adds a battle royale mode, it would likely adapt the formula slightly to reflect their type of fast-paced shooter action. This is similar to how Paladins adapted the formula (by adding classes) and Fortnite (by adding a building element) to match the essence of their existing games.
PUBG may not be that original itself, but it's a game changer nonetheless and will continue to be. The genre will grow rapidly but, in true meta fashion, slowly the winners will dominate the losers and only some will survive the market glut.
9. Star Citizen won't launch in 2018. (See a list of games that will right here.) In fact, Star Citizen will continue to just be a weird meta-game that we're all supposed to puzzle out. Why are people paying thousands of dollars for digital ships that can't even be played yet? What's up with the feud between Chris Roberts and Derek Smart? How come a game that hasn't even released has its own convention already? These questions are all part of the puzzle---and that puzzle is the actual point of Star Citizen.
10. Also no Half-Life 3. Because Valve.
11. Speaking of Valve, Steam will only get worse in 2018, though I predict more half-measures will be introduced to "fix" Steam Direct (itself a half-measure designed to "fix" Steam Greenlight.) This will mean two things. First, tons and tons of shovelware and asset-flipped games will clog up Steam's pipes. Second, we'll get some funny Jim Sterling videos out of it. You decide if that's an even trade.
12. Red Dead Redemption 2 will be the biggest game of the year, even if it is delayed which seems entirely likely given Rockstar's track record. And that's fine. What worries me more is how much priority is put into Red Dead Online. I don't want another instance of support for the single-player game falling off entirely while the online portion gets all the love. I'm looking at you GTAV.
13. That being said, a Red Dead Royale would be pretty cool. And I'm honestly more interested in playing an online RDR2 than I am an online GTAV, simply because there are far fewer cowboy games in general and I'm a huge fan of all things Western.
14. Speaking of big online multiplayer games, Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is likely going to launch in the summer. It won't be as big as Pokémon GO in part because it's Harry Potter and not Pokémon and in part because the novelty has worn off a bit. That being said, it's still going to be huge and hopefully more interesting and polished than Niantic's last game. For those of us who consider ourselves bigger Potter fans than Pokemon fans, it should be a nice change. I never could get into Pokémon GO.
15. The Last Of Us Part 2 will be pushed into 2019 (well, it hasn't even gotten a release time-frame so "pushed" may not be accurate, but you get the point). It'll be worth the wait and more.
16. That's okay because PS4 owners will have lots more to choose from. Spider-Man will be amazing. Days Gone will be a surprise gem. God of War will be divisive and that kid is going to be super annoying, but it won't be bad. Ni No Kuni II will be awesome.
17. Microsoft, on the other hand, has slimmer pickings for Xbox One owners, partly due to big cancellations (Scalebound, Fable, etc.) and partly due to the fact that Microsoft just hasn't had the big emphasis on exclusives that Sony has. Sea of Thieves will be good but nothing extraordinary; Crackdown 3 will be a mess; State of Decay 2 will be great but not a huge success.
18. Nintendo is trickier to predict. There aren't many big Switch exclusives slated for 2018, though it's possible games like Metroid Prime 4 will end up coming out this year. Nevertheless, the Switch will continue to sell like gangbusters. I imagine we'll get some big announcements for games coming out this holiday season, and a steady trickle of smaller titles and indies to keep us satiated.
19. The 3DS will still see some new games release, though fewer and fewer as the Switch gains momentum.
20. Nintendo will launch the mini Nintendo Gamecube Classic Edition with 15 games on it for $79.99 and they'll sell out of pre-orders even before Nintendo makes the announcement somehow. Retailers will do their best to prevent scalping but it won't be easy because the demand will still far outstrip supply no matter how hard Nintendo tries to keep up.
21. Ubisoft will continue being one of the biggest surprises in modern day gaming. In 2017 we saw the company and its developers truly step up to the plate, supporting old games like The Division and Rainbow Six Siege with excellent updates; releasing new games like Assassin's Creed Origins that took an old and aging franchise and made it new and exciting again; and just being a good, stand-up publisher all around. I suspect the trend will continue in 2018.
22. Vivendi may buyout Ubisoft. That's been the French conglomerate's recent video game acquisition effort (after Activision bought its independence from Vivendi in 2013) and would be, in my humblest of opinions, a major setback for the game industry. Vivendi owns the 30% stake in Ubisoft required to initiate a takeover. Still, the latest word from Vivendi is that they won't attempt that---at least in the short term.
23. Regardless, we won't see a new Assassin's Creed entry until 2019. The success of Assassin's Creed Origins is too hard to ignore, and the extra year of development time and all the TLC that brought to the game made such a huge difference. I can't imagine Ubisoft will want to squander the good will they've earned on a rushed release.
24. The new game from FromSoftware will be a PS4 exclusive but it won't be a sequel to Demon's Souls or Bloodborne. The biggest mistake FromSoft made was making numerical sequels to Dark Souls instead of just trying new ideas out within the basic framework of that series, its mechanics, etc. I would like to see them continue to try new things. The leap from Demon's Souls to Bloodborne was fairly massive, even if both games share much in common. I want the next game to be just as different. And so yes, this prediction is largely wishful thinking as well.
25. BioWare's game Anthem will be excellent but it won't feel like a BioWare game. Instead, it will feel a lot more like BioWare's take on a shared-world shooter like Destiny. It will also have loot boxes and turn into a massive controversy despite being really good.
26. Medieval open-world game Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be both really amazing and kind of a disappointment. The concept, the world-building and so forth will be great---a real non-magical Skyrim of sorts---but the writing, acting and animation will all leave something to be desired.
27. Virtual reality will continue to grow, but also continue to show its limits as a video game technology. Its advocates will point to the many new games releasing as examples of its potential, and better headsets will continue to release, but by and large it will remain incredibly niche.
28. Some big game announcements in 2018 predictions - not necessarily for release in 2018:
Battlefield Vietnam 2
The Wonderful 102
Elder Scrolls VI
Dragon Age IV
At least one new Star Wars game
29. YouTube will continue to be massively controversial, and in 2018 we'll start to see alternatives crop up that actually matter. Some big YouTubers may even start to switch over to these new services. Amazon/Twitch will be at the forefront of this migration but other services will also become more viable.
30. Speaking of YouTube, get ready for more silly controversies both great and small. PewDiePie will almost certainly be part of at least one of these and it will be massively overblown.
31. Speaking of silly controversies, #GamerGate will once again be in the news for some stupid reason. Like maybe some unwitting tweet will bring the house down around our heads again and everyone will be up in arms over the years-old controversy again. It will get everyone all worked up and people will take the opportunity to make themselves look good and their political/cultural opponents look bad on social media. Oh boy!
32. E3 will be even more chock full of "content creators" and "influencers" and more cringey than ever because of it. The only press conference worth going to will be Devolver Digital's. Publishers will spend an enormous sum of money on these outrageous pressers and the various shenanigans surrounding them. I will watch from the comfort of my home this year instead of attending.
33. By the end of 2018 we still won't know what the heck is going on in Death Stranding (which won't release until 2020.)
34. The Nintendo Switch will sell like crazy but the PS4 will still be the best-selling console of the year overall with the Switch a close #2.
35. We won't hear anything substantial about PS4 or Xbox One-Two or any future gaming console from the Big Three.
36. The new Atari console will be "meh" and not make much of a splash.
37. We will see our first Switch imitator, possibly from Sony or Microsoft, but it won't be a totally new console. It will just be a version of the PS4/Xbox One that's handheld and dockable. PS4 GO!
38. Nintendo will announce a new version of the 3DS, somehow, for some reason, because it's Nintendo.
39. Many of the gaming industry's biggest problems---from a lack of royalty payments to developers, to crunch time, to tax shelters---will be glossed over and largely ignored.
40. The mobile industry will continue to grow rapidly.
41. Chinese video game companies will continue to grow rapidly and the Chinese market will be more important than ever.
42. Speaking of things growing, my video game backlog will continue to grow to truly epic proportions and I will have a really hard time keeping up with 2018 releases, let alone the games from 2017...2016...and so forth that I'm behind on and keep saying I'm going to play but...then life happens.
Okay this feels like enough predictions, though I'm sure I'm forgetting something. What are your predictions for video gaming in 2018? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.
Also, check out my predictions for 2017. I actually did pretty well though obviously not everything was completely accurate. Still, not too shabby... I figured I'd do much worse.
Finally, here's my big list of upcoming video games for 2018 if you're curious about what's coming out this year, as well as our Best Video Games of 2017 list.
Read more: Forbes - 42 Video Game Predictions For 2018
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