With a new year already in full swing, I want to give some predictions I have for 2018
1. The US Economy Will Continue to Improve
2017 was a great year for the economy and was a big reason for the stellar Black Friday. Trump’s presence in the White House drove business confidence encouraging investment into the US. With the passage of the tax bill, the economy will further improve. The theory of Supply Side Economics (which is what I subscribe to) argues that supply creates its own demand. Thus, the government should just get out of the way. With Trump and the Republicans lowering taxes and peeling back regulations, the business sector has more room to grow. 2018 will see a rising stock market and businesses continuing to invest in more products and services. I expect this year will be bigger than 2017.
2. Nintendo Switch Will Be the Best Selling System of 2018
Not surprising, really. Nintendo had a stellar 2017 and system usually do better their second year than their first. The video game industry is momentum based, so a strong start means Switch will continue to sell well in 2018. Nintendo President Kimishima is expecting to ship 20 million over the next fiscal year (4/1/18 – 3/31/19). I foresee Nintendo releasing numerous big hitters. Much has been said about Pokemon (which I think will be out in 2018), but titles like Animal Crossing and 2D Mario will also help drive the install base. I could see the Switch selling 18-20 million worldwide this year if the games are there.
3. Software Sales will Increase but Hardware Sales will decline (in the US)
All three systems benefited from an improvement in the US economy, but I expect 2018 will be down for hardware.The PS4 is nearing the end of its life span. XBox isn’t doing anything and the 3DS is deader than a doornail. Nintendo Switch will light up the charts but it won’t be enough to offset the decline in the other systems. That said, software sales will continue to be strong thanks to both the Nintendo Switch and the strong US economy.
4. Rumors of the Playstation 5 will begin to circulate
I don’t expect the Playstation 5 to come out until 2019, but I think we’ll start hearing rumors about it around this E3. I expect some analyst will throw their hat into the ring for when the system will come out and what it will be.
5. VR will continue to be a disappointment
VR is today what 3D was at the beginning of the decade. It’s a gimmick that seems like it’s going to be the wave of the future but will ultimately be phased out. VR didn’t do great in 2017 and I expect the same thing in 2018. The problem with VR is it takes you out of the real world. I don’t think the human mind is really good at dealing with a VR world. If you’ve ever played a VR game, there is a very real disconnect between what you are doing and what’s in the game. You can see things right in front of you but you can’t physically touch them. I also don’t think the casual consumer (who doesn’t log hundreds of hours into games) will be interested in going into a virtual world. VR has a fundamental problem that I don’t think will be corrected. While a topic for another time, I see Sony doing what Nintendo did with the 3DS.
6. Activision Blizzard will be burned on Microtransactions
In 2017, we saw companies going crazy with monetization and we saw EA get burned. I expect more companies will be burned in 2018 with Activision Blizzard being the biggest one. Activision’s problem is that whenever they find something that works, they drive it into the ground. They filed a patent for matchmaking encouraging microtransactions purchases and the current fiasco with Destiny 2. While EA took their lumps this year, I think Activision will suffer in 2018.
7. Publishers will copycat Player Unknown’s Battleground
The video game industry is notorious for playing copy cat. During the NES days, everyone tried to make a 2D platformer. During the XBox days, everyone tried to make a space marine shooter. When World of Warcraft was hot, everyone tried to make an MMO. Often, publishers and developers follow the herd. With the rise of Battle Royal style games, I expect more publishers will try to jump into the fray with their own titles. Don’t expect them to taker over though.
I hope you found this interesting. If you have any comments or if you disagree with my 2018 predicitions, please leave them below. You can also reach me on Twitter at @Spoogymonkey