Games in Time – Grading My 2017 Game Industry Predictions

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game industry predictions

It’s January 3rd, 2018 and here’s what’s happening in games! Amazon hints at an upcoming Nintendo Direct, Microsoft stops selling its Kinect adapter, and I revisit my game industry predictions from 2017. The video game industry changes every day and your time is important. Let’s get you caught up, starting right now, on Games in Time!

HEADLINES

Amazon Hints at Upcoming Nintendo Direct

It is highly expected that Nintendo will release a new Direct video presentation this month for the company’s plans for 2018, but Amazon may have let the cat out of the bag on how soon this may be arriving. Eighteen Switch game placeholders appeared on Amazon on New Year’s Eve – 14 of which could be preordered and some of which were at a $99 price point. While these have since been taken down, it’s notable that these were using a thumbnail placeholder that said “Just announced at the Nintendo Switch Event, Box art coming soon.” Furthermore, over at the ResetEra forums, members there say that they have heard that this Direct could take place as soon as Thursday, January 11th. This would be one day removed from the anniversary of last year’s Switch live stage presentation in Japan.

Coincidentally, Nintendo also starred in Amazon’s list of best-selling games of 2017, taking 7 out of the top 10 spots. The list of games bought through the retail giant included Super Mario Odyssey at the top, followed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (on Switch), Horizon Zero Dawn, Call of Duty: WWII (on PS4), Call of Duty: WWII (on Xbox One), Splatoon 2, Pokémon Ultra Sun, Pokémon Ultra Moon, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (on Wii U).

PS Plus and XBL Gold Games for January 2018

Over the holiday break, we received confirmation of January 2018’s free games that were coming to subscriptions of PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. On the Sony side of things, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Batman: The Telltale Series are the standouts on PS4. On PlayStation 3, there’s Sacred 3 and The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. PlayStation Vita receives Uncanny Valley and Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness. And another free PlayStation VR game is thrown in as well, continuing that trend – this time it’s StarBlood Arena. All of these games are available now.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s staggered free game releases include The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 3 on Xbox One and Tomb Raider: Underworld on Xbox 360 – both available now. Starting January 16th, Zombi is available for Xbox One, as well as Army of Two on Xbox 360. All titles are playable on Xbox One, due to backwards compatibility.

Microsoft Stops Selling Kinect Adapter

Microsoft has ceased sales of a USB conversion adapter for its Kinect camera, effectively ending future support for the device on Xbox One. Kinect support has been in doubt ever since the Xbox One S launched without the specific proprietary camera port in August 2016, even though Microsoft had a promotion for several months where you could receive a Kinect USB adapter for free. Up until recently, the adapter was still available from the manufacturer for $40. Of course, Kinect and its games still work on Xbox One for those that own them, but it’s clear that the device’s commercial future is over. With the discontinuation of this converter, Kinect and its supported games have become yet another relic in video game technology history.

IGN Fires Editor-in-Chief

And finally, IGN has parted ways with its editor-in-chief Steve Butts, following an internal investigation of alleged workplace misconduct. It is suspected that this is related to November 2017’s story of reported sexual harassment between co-workers and how it was handled inside the company. As a result, Peer Schneider has been named interim editor-in-chief, telling Polygon that he will be in that position for “however long it takes to get it right.”

GRADING 2017 PREDICTIONS

  • Nintendo Switch launches at $249 on March 17th, with Super Mario Switch as its best-selling, non-bundled launch title
    • NO. Nintendo Switch launched on March 3rd, 2017 at $299. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild currently sits at an estimated 4.7 million units sold, well ahead of Super Mario Odyssey’s 2 million.
  • Xbox’s Scorpio model has a price point of $499 at its fall 2017 launch
    • YES! Xbox One X launched on November 7th, 2017 at a $499 price point.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 gets delayed to 2018
    • YES! Red Dead Redemption 2 has an undetermined 2018 release date, for the time being.
  • Ubisoft is bought out by Vivendi
    • NO. In late November, Vivendi made a statement that it “does not intend to file a public tender offer for Ubisoft shares nor to acquire control of the company.” For now, anyway.
  • Sucker Punch reveals a new IP at E3, along with Bluepoint remastering an Infamous collection
    • NO. Sucker Punch revealed their new IP – Ghost of Tsushima – at Paris Games Week 2017. Bluepoint’s remaster of Shadow of the Colossus was announced at E3 2017 and is due out this February.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has the highest Metacritic score at the end of 2017
    • YES! Although, it shares this honor with Super Mario Odyssey, with scores of 97. It was an incredible launch year for the Nintendo Switch.
  • Halo 6 is announced at E3 2017, for a 2018 launch
    • NO. All quiet on the Halo 6 front last year. Maybe this year.
  • An Overwatch port for Nintendo Switch is announced
    • NO. Instead, new characters were released for game and the Overwatch professional esports league begins soon.
  • A Star Wars world is confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III, which still does not launch in 2017
    • NO. The new world announced last year was Toy Story, as Pixar will finally join the collection.
  • Koei Tecmo announces Fire Emblem Warriors for Nintendo Switch
    • YES! This announcement was made within weeks following the prediction and it was remarkable to see. Fire Emblem Warriors launched on Nintendo Switch and New 3DS on October 20th, 2017.
  • A new Sony handheld device is announced as a successor to PlayStation Vita
    • NO. Sony is looking at Switch’s success with interest, but there seems to be no intent to rejoin the handheld market.

MAILBAG

ZeroRanma: “Do you think Kingdom Hearts 3 will actually come out in 2018 like they said or do you think some delay will occur?”

So, I suppose this is a kind of prediction in itself. From what I’ve been reading and listening, I would imagine that there is an imperative from Disney to have Kingdom Hearts III release in fiscal year 2018. Holiday 2018 seems to be the most ideal time and it would be another big fall third-party win for PS4, regardless of whether or not the game actually comes out on Xbox One. However, it would not be outside of the realm of possibility for a slight push into Q1 2019 to occur, just before the fiscal year deadline. I’ll chalk this up as another case like Final Fantasy XV. I’ll believe it when I see it and I think the game will need a last-minute slight delay – this time, it’s into 2019. But when the game finally comes out, I think all of the development time will have been worth it.

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