For all of the compelling things that happened in video games in 2018, many signs point to 2019 being an even more fascinating year for the gaming industry. With its beautiful games and hardware price drops, 2018 could easily be seen as the year that the big consoles hit their stride as the generation begins to wrap up. Though 2019 has many promising games in its various release windows, buzz has begun that we might possibly get a gander at what’s in store for the future of hardware gaming. However, don’t get completely caught up in the alluring whiff of new consoles, because the impending games look pretty darn good. The future is hard to predict, but here’s a short list of things that might or might not happen in the 12 months to come.
2019 Gaming Predictions for ’Fortnite,’ Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and BioWare
It might be a great year for Nintendo Switch owners while ’Fortnite’ players might get bored
BioWare might not survive as a studio
One of the early releases for 2019 is BioWare’s Anthem and the future of the once legendary game studio might depend on its success. The last game released by the KOTOR and Dragon Age studio was 2017’s Mass Effect: Andromeda. It was so poorly received due to its many bugs and the lackluster story that production on its follow up DLC was canceled. In fact, the game was so bemoaned that many in the industry thought it put the studio’s future in jeopardy. Seeing as how Anthem, a service-based, multiplayer, sci-fi shooter (a la Destiny), is so far outside of the norm for BioWare’s story-heavy, RPG past, questions have floated around about how well the studio can handle such a divergent product. While it plays amazingly well, there is already a crowded market out there for service shooters, and if Anthem fails to capture an audience, BioWare might not survive. We will see what happens when the game releases on Feb. 22.
We might learn what the hell 'Death Stranding' is
There currently is no release date for Death Stranding, one of the four games Sony trotted out at E3 2018, but 2019 might be the year we can learn at least what the hell is going on in Hideo Kojima’s newest, bonkers-looking project. Though Kojima, booted from Konami and his Metal Gear series, has dropped several trailers for Death Stranding over the past few years, many, many, many questions still remain about the game. What is a baby doing in Norman Reedus’s mouth? What’s that flashy robot backpack so upset about? Why do people age so quickly? Is this game merely a parcel delivery simulator? Why is Troy Baker wearing a golden skull mask that turns mud people into a giant medusa lion? What is happening? I have no idea what the answers are to any of these questions. While my trust in Kojima is solid, my patience is not. I’m very much hoping we might get a few answers, a release date and maybe even a game in 2019, though we’ll probably only get two of those things.
We might learn what Microsoft’s many projects are
Microsoft, the solid second of this video game generation, has been busy. At this point, the gambler’s bet for when we will get new console generations is set firmly on 2020, and some details about Microsoft’s Xbox One follow-up have already trickled out. The names Project Scarlett, Project Scarlett Cloud and Project Lockhart emerged in the waning days of 2018. Scarlett and Scarlett Cloud are thought to be the codenames for Xbox One/Xbox One X successors. Rumor is they will be aimed toward different markets, equivalent with the current Xbox One and Xbox X split. Project Lockhart, on the other hand, is rumored to be a disc-less discount that will support only the current generation’s game and is positioned to come out in 2019. But, again, nothing is confirmed. What is certain is Microsoft is hard at work on the next generation, as Xbox Chief Phil Spencer said as much at the close of the company’s E3 press conference this year.
We might get frustrated with Sony
Sony somewhat shocked the industry when it announced it would not be present at E3 2019. Given that Sony also failed to hold its previously annual PlayStation Experience this year and that, again, it only brought four games to 2018’s E3, it’s possible to draw a few probable conclusions.
- Sony is backing away from the mainstream shows because it’s not ready to show anything new.
- This is most likely because it has shifted a large number of resources and studios into developing for the next console iteration.
- Sony wants to unveil these at its own pace.
- We probably won’t hear any new details from the generation leader in 2019.
My reasoning for number four is that Sony would definitely be present at E3 if it had any hardware to sell in 2019, and it wouldn’t want to distract from any holiday sales by announcing any new products that would make the current generation obsolete. In 2019, we’ll probably get price drops on the PlayStation 4/Pro, at least three of the four games shown at E3 2018 and not a lot more out of Sony itself. The frustration could very well kick in when there’s very little on the horizon for the millions of PS4 owners and the market leader closes out the year with silence.
We might get bored of 'Fortnite'
I have absolutely nothing against cultural behemoth Fortnite. It’s an evolving, fun game, it facilitated competition to emerge in the Steam monopoly and it taught kids how to dance. And yet, I still foster this deep, morbid curiosity about just how long it can hold onto its grasp on video gaming. I’ve written a lot about what the future of Fortnite might be for the game, but it is near-impossible to predict what it will be for the audience. Gaming is built on flashing shiny new things at our attention-lacking eyes and there simply is no way of knowing whether the way Fortnite changes over the next year will keep its players buying next season’s battle pass. With more than a billion dollars in new investments and a rabid fan base, 2019 may not be the year that a new champion rises up to take a victory royale over Fortnite, but you never know what’s going to happen in this volatile industry.
Nintendo might have another incredible year
Compared to 2017’s barrage of high-tier Nintendo games, many believe that the big N had a somewhat lackluster 2018 (despite the glory of SMASH on Switch). However, with what we know about Nintendo’s upcoming titles, 2019 could match 2017’s high-water mark. So far, the company has announced it is working on an Animal Crossing game, a core Pokémon game, Bayonetta 3, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Pikmin 4 and Metroid Prime 4 for the Switch. If the stars align and Nintendo can push out even half of those games out in one calendar year, then it could very nearly match 2017’s Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey days of glory. And given that we know more Wii U ports like Kirby’s Epic Yarn and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe are on the way, it already looks like 2019 will be a stellar year for Switch owners.
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