Alright, I'm on a roll now. The last couple of years my predictions have largely come to pass. Sadly, there's always something which comes along and ruins my fun. How was I to know EA would confirm there'd be no new Battlefield game until 2021. It'll be Battlefield: Bad Company 3 though, mark my words.
As for my more successful gaming predictions for 2019, I said all-you-can-eat gaming would go massive (see Xbox Game Pass), nothing would actually change about loot boxes despite some legislative changes in Europe, Half-Life VR would be announced, and Diablo 4 would be revealed at BlizzCon 2019. Thank you, where do I go and cash my cheque?
But it's time onwards, to the shiny new year which we're about to unwrap. 2020 is shaping up to be a big one. We've got a new player in the GPU industry, multiple console launches, and the small matter of Cyberpunk 2077. Feel free to come back and hurl insults at me in 12 months time when these all turn out to be completely and utterly wrong.
Intel fluffs its lines with graphics card launch
Whatever your thoughts on the big three of Nvidia, AMD and Intel, there can be little argument that a third player in the graphics card market will ultimately be more beneficial to the consumer. A duopoly lives and dies on perfect competition; if one has a terrible few years, the other can sit back, jack up the prices, and rake in the profits. All eyes are going to be on Intel in 2020 then, when its Xe GPU architecture is expected to debut. Intel's obviously no slouch in terms of silicon manufacturing but hitting the ground running is a very tall order. We expect Intel's GPU offerings in 2020 to be modest, and we'll be surprised if there's a genuine reason you should actually go out and buy a first-gen Intel dedicated graphics processor.
Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t win the most Game of the Year awards
This one's a shot in the dark. A hunch, if you like. Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a great game, of that we have little doubt. Will it be able to live up to the years of fevorous anticipation though? We're not so sure. Cyberpunk 2077 is going to win plenty of Game of the Year awards in 2020. Is it going to win the most though? We don't think so. The Last of Us: Part II is going to be high on the agenda, as is Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, provided it makes it out on time. The most important part though is we have no idea what the second half of 2020 will bring.
PS4 has a strong final year but Xbox Scarlett will have the better launch line-up
The PlayStation 4 is going to have a fine run during the home stretch, of that there is little doubt. The Last of Us: Part II, Ghost of Tsushima and Final Fantasy VII Remake are a truly formidable trio. What's Sony going to have cooked up in time for the PS5's launch though? Not much, we suspect, although Horizon: Zero Dawn 2 could definitely prove quite a hook. Instead, I think it's Microsoft which is going to come out all guns blazing at the next-gen console launches. Halo Infinite is already locked in, a new Forza is assured, and after all those studio acquisitions there could be heaps of surprises from Xbox Game Studios yet. The best bit though? Prospective Xbox Scarlett owners who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass will only have to buy the console itself; all the first-party titles will be playable on day one through XBGP.
Cloud gaming begins to achieve considerable success
After the abysmal roll-out for Google Stadia it's all too easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. The cloud gaming detractors are naturally eager to pounce on any slip-up and the pervading narrative is one of failure. Make no mistake though, cloud gaming is a one-way track. It may not replace local gaming as we know it but it will absolutely complement it and, after a shaky start, Stadia will probably come good. Then there's Microsoft's Project xCloud, which we assume will eventually be branded Xbox Game Streaming. If gamers can stream Xbox Scarlett games on launch day without buying a $500 console that is going to be a huge boost to streaming's prospects.
Microsoft acquires Discord
Right now, you can bet there are a handful of tech giants all with an eye on acquiring the mighty Discord. Over a quarter of billion users have signed up to the gaming-focused the chat client and this represents a huge market to tap into. Amazon will be poking around, for sure, as will Tencent, who already own a stake, but Microsoft feels the likely suspect to me. Xbox Game Studios just announced an Xbox Game Pass deal where you get three months of Discord Nitro thrown into the mix. Xbox Game Pass and Discord Nitro together, in one package? Mark your calendars, it's happening sooner rather than later and would be a great, established compliment to Mixer.
So what are your predictions for the coming year? Can you see the predictions above coming true? Let us know!