2019 is nearly over, so let’s look ahead to what awaits the video game industry in the first year of the new decade. Informed opinions and hot takes abound.
As 2019 draws to a close, so does this console generation. New gaming platforms from Microsoft and Sony await us in the coming year, and Google Stadia, which launches this month, will still be in its infancy.
Although the 2020 gaming industry will likely revolve around those tentpole hardware releases, they won’t be the only big changes. I’m no clairvoyant, but I have followed the video game industry for years and can deliver informed opinions and piping hot takes in equal measure.
And so I give you four perfectly reasonable and two absolutely ridiculous 2020 video game predictions.
Nintendo Releases a More Powerful Switch
This is, admittedly, low-hanging fruit when it comes to video game predictions. If there’s one constant among Nintendo’s recent handheld devices, it’s that the original models are eventually replaced by new ones featuring improved hardware. An advanced Nintendo Switch is about due.
To be fair, the company leaned in that direction earlier this year when it released the Switch Lite, a non-dockable Nintendo Switch that offers a lower price, a much-improved d-pad, a smaller body, and non-removable Joy-Con. Expect a full-bodied update Switch with more powerful guts to appear in the new year.
Amazon Buys Discord
Amazon wants your gaming dollars. The company formed a video game development arm, Amazon Game Studio, in 2012 and leapt into the livestreaming game by purchasing Twitch in 2014. Based on that history, Amazon’s next obvious gaming step would be to toss its big dollars at a gaming platform that boasts more than 250 million unique users: Discord.
The communication tool has its own built-in money-making systems, with people forking out cash for new games in the Discord storefront or signing up for the Discord Nitro subscriptions that offer animated avatars, big file uploads, and profile badges. A Discord acquisition would also be a way for Amazon to stay a step ahead of Microsoft, a company that’s been making moves by signing former Twitch game streaming stars like Ninja and Shroud to exclusive, guaranteed contracts to stream using Mixer.
PS5 Gives the 4K Blu-ray Format a Big Boost
For true cinephiles, the Ultra HD Blu-ray format is a technological godsend that enables film studios to release movies that look and sound deliciously good (the Apocalypse Now and Wizard of Oz remasters truly display format’s benefits).
Unfortunately, 4K Blu-ray sales lag behind vanilla Blu-ray and even DVD sales. Certainly, video-streaming services play a role in the format’s slow adoption, as an increasing number of people have abandoned physical media for digital convenience.
Still, Sony’s PlayStation 5 could dramatically boost the UHD format’s single-digit percent market share if the console puts up sales numbers similar to the PlayStation 4’s 100 million unit mark. The upcoming console will contain a UHD drive, which is something the PlayStation 4 lacks (and the Xbox One didn’t adopt until the Xbox One S console revision). After all, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 served as many people’s first DVD and Blu-ray players, respectively.
Capcom Announces a New Marvel Game
There’s only one fighting game developer with several excellent crossover fighting games under its belt: Capcom. Despite Street Fighter V’s utter lack of guest characters, Capcom has a long history of crafting wonderful fighting games featuring licensed characters. In fact, Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 remain two of the most beloved games in the genre’s history.
Unfortunately, the track record was sullied by Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, a fighting game that lacked mutants and focused on MCU characters-allegedly due to Marvel Studios’ film license beef with Fox.
But the all-encompassing Disney blob purchased Fox’s movie division in 2019 and now has the film rights to X-Men (and Fantastic Four). So, expect a new Marvel vs. Capcom 5 announcement that plays up Wolverine, Magneto, and Cyclops as playable characters.
Are you ready for some completely ridiculously hot takes? Here we go.
Google Kills Stadia
Google Wave. Google Buzz. Google Health. Google Desktop. Google Reader. The search engine giant has a long, rich history of bringing a product to market and taking an axe to it a while later. It also has an uneven record when it comes to hardware, with the Nexus Player and Nexus Q (among other things) making early market exits.
I predict that after failing to amass an audience due to people not gleaning satisfaction from streaming games via America’s questionable internet speeds, the Google Stadia game streaming service will join many other interesting and somewhat-interesting products in the Google Graveyard.
Plus, there will be zero first-party games from the Google Stadia Games and Entertainment development team at launch, which is a huge strike against the system; you can purchase the launch games elsewhere.
Nintendo (Finally) Kills the 3DS
Shortly after E3 2019, Nintendo stated that it had no plans to finally discontinue the nearly decade-old 3DS handheld. In fact, Nintendo president Doug Bowser said the company will support the 3DS “as long as there is demand.”
Considering that the $299 Nintendo Switch is moving like hotcakes, and the $199 Switch Lite brings the system to an even more affordable price point, the Switch is soon going to be in damn near every Nintendo fan’s hands. As a result, 2020 will be the year when Nintendo announces that the 3DS will be no more.
Now that my analysis and takes are out in the wild, I want you to hold me to them. Please return to this article the same time next year to praise my Amazing Kreskin-like mental abilities or pan me for being a total hack (though, to be fair, I suspect one of these actions will happen without my prompting).
Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com on November 8, 2019.