Some bold predictions come true, some fail spectacularly. What we don’t always realize is how often a failed prediction later finds its way back from the abyss. Welcome to a special, decade edition of Bold Predictions, 2020! Before we race onward with wild claims about the next 12 months of gaming, let’s look back at some of the past predictions of the decade.
The hacker community will find tons of uses for Project Natal hardware and it will live on as an underground sensation well after Microsoft cancels production on the hardware.
Staygold: I had to comb the internet archive to find out what Project Natal even was—it’s the Kinect. Discontinued in 2017, it still has lots of unique and interesting uses in niche applications. For instance, it has a large following in the 3D-modeling world as a cheap/accurate scanner. Pyroman was spot on.
One of the digital distro houses will fall in 2011, due to the simple fact that there's a lot of competition and not enough consumers to go around. Could be Impulse—the PR disaster of Elemental will haunt Brad Wardell for years—or it could be GamersGate. Doubtful that it's Direct2Drive, since it's sitting on that fat IGN cash. Spoiler Alert: It won't be Steam.
Staygold: Direct2Drive still appears to be up and running, but I'd bet it doesn't rank in the top-20 when someone asks "Hey! Where online can I go to purchase game X?" Impulse folded in April 2014 after being acquired by GameStop in 2011. And Brad Wardell is
still a disaster.
Gritty, survivalist games will be the next genre to explode this year, followed by the same crash we saw with World War 2 games and zombies. We won't be sick of it this year though.
Amoebic: Years later, we’re finally starting to feel a little fatigue, but nothing close to a crash. People really seem to love this stuff.
Nintendo will buy CD Projekt RED. The Witcher 3 will become a trading card game… but not *that* trading card game
Felix Threepaper: Well, erm, Witcher 3 came out on Switch… close enough?
Nintendo will announce that their next console is a handheld system that plugs into a dock that will allow you to play games on your television.
Amoebic: Nailed it!
Nintendo NX will feature a controller that doubles as a mobile touch screen gaming device, blurring the lines between living room and on the go platform. Kind of a REALLY fancy Dreamcast controller. The logical evolution of the Wii-U gamepad. New Zelda will launch for Wii U and the NX with a few extra features
Staygold: Just have to point out how prescient Shawn was in 2016! The man flat out predicted the Switch a year too early.
Nintendo Switch will do well despite everyone's dour predictions! They will get their act together this time.
Amoebic: Even though my prediction wasn’t very bold, I’m calling this one a win!
In spite of their assertions to the contrary, Nintendo will announce or release a LABO-based, VR platform which consists of cardboard helmet that holds the switch three inches from the player’s face. It will cause nausea.
The Monster Hunter Movie will actually be pretty good.
Doubtingthomas396: Too soon to tell, but I stand by it.
- Everything will become the Netflix of games over the next ten years. Even Netflix.
- Project Alyx not only releases on time, but it also contains a hidden Half-Life 3 teaser that is uncovered almost instantly. And, to be as bold as humanly possible, Half-Life 3 is announced shortly after and suffers no further delays.
- Though Microsoft seems poised to "win" the next generation, their new device stumbles out of the gate by being prohibitively expensive. Despite its technical inferiority, the PS5 wins in early sales, until another data breach at Sony sends the company spiraling into a PR disaster that sets up 2021 as Microsoft's year.
- They put the Goose in Smash. Then, in a surprise twist, they add a new level to Untitled Goose Game where the village is inhabited by every character already in Smash. This is the start of the Singularity.
- Waluigi is revealed to be a real person who exists in the real world.
- A fifth character is added to Slay the Spire. The class is called "American Dad" and is just an American dad who went to sleep one night and then woke up in the Spire. This new class can not look at the map and refuses to ask for directions. All of the cards are based on bad puns.
- It will be revealed that the delay of Cyberpunk 2077 is a direct result of scrambling to pull staff for Witcher 4. After the smashing success of the TV show, CDPR will announce it at some big trade event in 2020.
- 2020 will be the rise and revival of video game movies and television; love to see it. Unfortunately, vocally active, fringe "gamers" scathingly review enough of them that public opinion begins to cool relatively quickly, and showrunners move on to far less picky demographics (see: Sonic). 2020 is also the fall of the revival of video game movies.
- A tweet thread happens between Norman Reedus and Keanu Reeves about making the game that almost was. The fandom catches wind and loses its collective mind with wild speculation.
And then Norman and Keanu kiss.
- Nintendo, having established itself as a pillar in handheld ingenuity, will announce another peripheral hoping for the same success as Labo or RingFit. Third time isn't a charm; it is notably lackluster.
- One of the digital distribution platforms announces they will no longer have “sales.” Instead, games will just decrease in price by $10 every 4 months. If you subscribe to their game-subscription service, it will be a $12 reduction every 3 months for you. People are confused. I’m confused. There’s a poor graph with bad axes and a non-descriptive title to try and alleviate confusion. It’s probably EA.
- Microsoft announces a new major Halo, Minecraft, and Fable games as launch titles.
- Blizzard will not release any new games this year. Instead, they will double down on milking the last dollars from their existing franchises. They will launch their own version of Stadia/GeForce Now. World of Warcraft and all the expansions will be included as Free-to-Play. The service is called BNet, and it instantly becomes the dominant player in the game-streaming marketplace.
- Ubisoft announces a “multi-verse” game at E3. Combining all their open world titles into one massive game. It’s part Street Fighter X Tekken, part Marvel, part Mario + Rabbids Kindgom Battle. It's actually good.
- Beyond Good and Evil 2 releases in October and is #4 on the GWJ GOTY.
- Ubisoft becomes the first major game publisher to allow their developers to unionize.
- Seeing the critical success of the Witcher, Netflix signs a deal to make a TV series based on Control (one can dream, right?).
- Cyberpunk will sell well but get middling-to-bad reviews, as the genre will become played out before release.
- Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles will swap places in the console wars, with Microsoft pulling ahead of Sony with its cheaper base model and a proven track record in backward compatibility. This all but guarantees another console generation by 2026.
- In spite of early year denials, Nintendo will announce a new Switch SKU that upgrades the processor. It will have worse battery life than a launch switch, but will run Doom Eternal in a way that humans would actually want to play it.
- Doom Eternal will not be released this year, because games with synonyms for ‘forever’ tend to be in development for at least that long.
- Google will shut down Stadia. They will not offer refunds to the people who have bought content on the system, and the resulting class action suit will get each claimant three dollars or a four-pack of gamer fuel.
- The Xbox Series X will launch in 2020 as scheduled and usher in the Netflixification of games. Everyone will think this is great, until a high-profile title has a poor opening two weeks and Microsoft abruptly pulls it, explaining that the user data showed that most players didn't make it past the tutorial.
- Sony will announce that the PS5 will be backwards compatible, for users who buy an additional accessory: a PS4 that you plug into your PS5 with a proprietary $150 cable.
- Nintendo will release a model of the Switch that you construct yourself entirely out of cardboard and paper clips. It will be the best-selling console ever, as countless YouTube videos pop up of people unboxing, building, then destroying the cardboard Switch.
- Bethesda will drop a trailer that surprise-announces the release of The Elder Scrolls 6 in late 2020. It will be set in Valenwood, home of the Wood Elves, and feature extensive town-building, like in Fallout 4. However, the thing that wows fans the most is the bombshell revelation that Bethesda has hired one additional voice actor to help voice the 700 NPCs in the game.
- Wasteland 3 will contain a single line of dialogue that refers to an orange man, who was a bad leader in the past. This will unleash a torrent of angry words from Capital-G Gamers about how it’s necessary to keep politics out of games set in worlds that have suffered societal and ecological collapse due to nuclear war.
- Cyberpunk 2077 will not release in 2020.
- U2’s next album will be released as a Beat Saber level, pushed out as a compulsory patch. No one will notice.
Now it’s your turn! Announce your predictions to the world in the comments, or peruse bold predictions of yore and share the gems we missed. As always, we’ll lock the thread in a few weeks to prevent ninja edits. Enjoy!