2019 has gone and passed. We’ve had a number of major headlines dole out throughout the year; the highs of the unexpected success of Apex Legends, to the lows of the fallout from the Blizzard/Blitzchung debacle. But the past is the past, and we now head on to the year 2020, which is aiming to be one of the most exciting for the gaming industry.
Here are the headlines that you should expect for gaming in the year 2020:
An onslaught of GOTY contenders
2019 has been a quiet year for gaming. Yes, we had spectacular games in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Resident Evil 2 Remake, and even ones that caught us by surprise like Disco Elysium. But the fact of the matter was that there weren’t many big-budget video game titles that came out during the year. Not the case for this year.
This year will feature a big blowout of highly anticipated AA games that will be releasing one after another. The first out of the gate is Doom Eternal on 20 March, a game that was meant to be released in 2019 and is eagerly anticipated by fans of its predecessor.
This will be followed closely by Resident Evil 3 Remake, a late surprise announcement last year that will be coming out 03 April. On its heels is Final Fantasy VII Remake, who recently announced a delay from its launch, now being slated for release on 10 April.
However afterwards two significant GOTY contenders are finally out for the public to play. The first, Cyberpunk 2077, has been hailed by many news outlets to be a revolutionary entry to the RPG genre — bolstered not least by Hollywood A-lister Keanu Reeves who makes an appearance as a central character in the story. It comes out on 16 April.
Next is The Last of Us Part II, the sequel to a game which many outlets have deemed to be the game of the previous decade. Developer Naughty Dog has established themselves to be one of the top game developers in the industry, and them continuing the story of such a beloved video game will no doubt see them again as one of the talking points for Game of the Year.
This is all without mentioning the multiple big games like Watch Dogs: Legion, Dying Light 2 and Ghost of Tsushima which have no release date as of yet that are planned to come out later down the year. Suffice to say that 2020 leaves little breathing room to consume all these major releases.
Welcome to the next generation
Talk of the new generation of consoles is not new, with rumours and speculation popping up as far back as 2017. Last year, however, marked the confirmation on when these devices will be released — holiday 2020.
Microsoft had got people excited by formally revealing it first as Project Scarlett in E3 2019 before firing another salvo by not only announcing the name of their next-generation console, Xbox Series X but also what the final product will look like at The Game Awards back in December last year. The tower-like construction of the system is a departure from the design conventions from previous consoles and has got many people talking up the device.
In contrast, Sony has been mostly subtle in its approach for its new system, the PlayStation 5. Rather than indulge in big reveals, they have instead opted to quietly release details through exclusive interviews with the publication Wired to whet people’s appetite. Only recently have they actually revealed the logo in CES 2020 before promising more information in the coming months ahead of its end-of-year release.
Full reveals for both consoles are earmarked to be held before their eventual public availability, with Sony predicted to hold a special event in February just as they did for the PlayStation 4 while Microsoft will either follow suit with their own event shortly after or leave everything for E3.
It has been a wild ride throughout the cycle of the eighth-generation of consoles, producing many hours of entertainment for us during its seven-year period. Now it is time to bid it farewell and usher in the excitement of its successors.
New Switch Model
The Nintendo Switch has proven to be an overwhelming success since its release in 2017, with many people loving the aspect of being able to take your favourite games on the go instantly.
Nintendo has already released new SKUs in its Switch series last year, with the all-new handheld-only Switch Lite joining a recent revision to the hybrid home console in the line-up. Both improved upon one of the major issues that plagued the original Switch release, battery life, and again brought about big sales for the gaming giant.
However, these devices are thought to be not more than minor revisions, and Nintendo plans to bring about something more drastic in 2020 to compete with the upcoming new generation of consoles.
Dubbed the “Switch Pro” tentatively by media outlets, the system is meant to be a more powerful update to the original. Rumours have swirled since last year that it was initially supposed to be launched alongside the Switch Lite but was delayed due to production issues. Additionally, it was stated that improvements to the Tegra chipset and display panels would deliver a device capable of showing better visuals and higher resolution.
Right now, this remains mere speculation with no hints of its existence given by Nintendo. But with so much news about it channelling through, it seems almost certain that it is indeed real. After all, there can’t be smoke without fire.
One last throw of the dice for E3
E3 has historically been the biggest event of the year for gaming. Millions of people get together and watch as the biggest gaming companies announce the latest games to be excited for in the future.
Lately, that narrative has changed for the worse. Last year saw a fall not just in viewership numbers, but also in attendance for the event. Numerous more gaming-centric events like Gamescom are also becoming more popular not only with visitors, but game companies as well for showcasing their latest products.
Sony also set a precedent for discussions about whether E3 is actually needed when they revealed that they would not be attending the 2019 edition of the event — further comments coming from the then Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios Shawn Layden about how it was not worth the expense to showcase what they had. Likewise with 2020, they will be absent again, fueling the hot debate.
With so much talk about E3 becoming more irrelevant, the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), who are the event’s organisers, surely must be thinking of a way to attract back the crowd. This could mean a change in how the event will be presented, whether it is by attracting more companies to attend or mixing up for the audience experience.
Of course, they may yet choose to stick with what they have done for many years. After all, they still attract millions of eyeballs, and with this year being the lead up to the new generation of consoles, they already have a carrot to dangle with. But for the sake of securing their long-term survivability, they might take this year as the test-bed to gamble everything they have.
Visuals courtesy of Sony, Microsoft, CDProjekt RED, Square Enix and Nintendo