After two years of pretty damn successful predictions, 2017 was the year I got it all wrong. Nvidia didn't announce a GeForce exclusive game. Valve didn't learn out to count for three. And the Nintendo Switch certainly didn't fail to get third-party support. Whoops. Still, 2014 and 2015 had a high hit rate for me, so it's time to get back to winning ways. We've put our minds together and come up with our gaming predictions for 2018.
Cyberpunk 2077 is AWOL
We’ve all heard the rumours of unrest at CD Projekt RED. Whatever the veracity of those stories, one thing is looking increasingly likely - Cyberpunk 2077 won’t be with us for good while yet. Anyone hoping for Cyberpunk 2077 is being obscenely optimistic. I admire your glass half full attitude but no, it’s not happening.
Xbox One X Flatlines
The core selling point of the Xbox One X is raw performance. And, well, I’m sure the dedicated Xbox faithful lapped it up at launch. The problem is, Microsoft’s diehard fanbase must be vanishingly small. Of the big three console providers, Microsoft’s well of nostalgia is worryingly dry. While Nintendo and Sony can whip their audience up into a frenzy with a tease of a new Zelda or the promise of a new Crash Bandicoot, Devil May Cry or Syphon Filter, Microsoft has… what? Halo? Gears of War? Forza? Again and again. Microsoft’s unwillingness to invest in new, inventive IPs is likely going to come back and bite it hard this year, and I believe sales of the Xbox One X are going to suffer without a roster of unbelievably great exclusives that can’t be played anywhere else.
VR finally gains momentum with affordable headsets and announcement of wireless VR
VR hasn’t so much had a stuttery start as it’s struggled to find second gear at all. The potential in it is obvious to see, but there are too many hurdles to making it a mainstream gaming device in its current incarnations. Despite this, a few million VR headsets have still been sold, and traction is only going to grow should there would be price cuts, better headsets, and even potentially wireless VR solutions. There will always be a camp of people that needlessly oppose VR though, usually worried that it’s a threat to normal gaming. Hint: it’s not. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time in VR can attest that virtual reality is not a replacement but an alternative way of doing things. It suits different games and genres and the two will surely coexist. Winning these people over is the next big challenge for Sony, Valve and Oculus though, and 2018 could be the year where it happens.
Value of Bitcoin continues rising. Causes mining of other cryptocurrencies to increase, raising prices of GPUs throughout 2018.
Love it or loathe it, Bitcoin doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. With limited supplies and intense computations required to mine new coins though, it’s no longer anywhere near cost efficient to mine Bitcoin. As a result, demand for alternate cryptocurrencies is surely going to surge. Eager miners are going to be tapping into every fledgling source they can find, buying even more graphics cards to get ahead of the curve. We don’t think demand for GPUs is going to drop at any point in 2018. Either Nvidia or AMD drastically improve supplies, or we’ll continue paying over the odds for the next 12 months.
Advancing AI in games becomes a top priority for developers
AI and Deep Learning has become a heck of a huge focus for the likes of Nvidia, AMD and Intel. Its benefits are many and far-reaching, often for far loftier goals than souping our digital battlefields. That knowledge will trickle down though, and with AAA games striving for ways to stand out from the crowd, improving AI is the logical choice. No more NPCs standing around in the same spot for hours, or running through a fixed routine. We could have genuinely dynamic AI that has its own wants and needs, behaving as we would expect a real person in these worlds to behave. Imagine a Battlefield game in which every player has a squad of 9 AI troops helping them out. 64-player battles with 576 AI creating the most epic battles the series has ever seen.
Even further down the line there’s the potential to strike up real conversations with quest givers in an RPG. You can see what Amazon does with Alexa, but apply this to a character in a game who listens to your questions or rises to your insults. Truly, advanced AI could shake up the foundations of gaming, and it could become a major selling point throughout 2018.
What are your predictions for the coming year? Can you see the predictions above coming true? Let us know!