Each year, we do something inadvisable: try to predict what's going to happen next year. It's an excuse to look back on the year's events with the added fun of guessing what it's all going to mean—a challenge in a chaotic culture where a guy who goes by Ninja can start the year as an up-and-coming streamer and end it by hosting a New Year's Eve show in Times Square (opens in new tab).
When we're really wrong, it's usually by omission. Last year, we didn't predict just how huge Fortnite was going to get—though Epic and Ninja probably didn't, either—and we didn't foresee the beginning of the store wars, wherein Epic and Discord grabbed up a few timed exclusives, including some games that were originally going to release on Steam, to end the year.
For fun, here's what we did predict would happen in 2018, and how right or wrong we were. You can read our predictions here, though we've summarized them below. Our predictions for 2019 are coming soon.
"The messaging around loot crates and microtransactions will change drastically"
"Drastically" might be too far, but after the Battlefront 2 fiasco, more games added 'passes' like Fortnite, and loot boxes have generally been deemphasized or stressed as cosmetic-only. Some companies didn't back down, though: 2K even asked its own players (opens in new tab) to stand against the Belgian loot box ban. That was weird.
"However there will still be loot boxes and microtransactions everywhere."
Yeah, pretty much, but that wasn't exactly hard to predict. Games which have loot boxes, like Overwatch and Rocket League, haven't ditched them, though Rocket League added passes that guarantee items, as well as keys, to make getting stuff less of a crapshoot.
It does seem as if the loot box tide has been abated a little, though. There was no Battlefront 2-style blow up this year, and we ran a few stories about how such-and-such game will have microtransactions, but not loot boxes. Anth (opens in new tab)em was one, as was Far Cry 5 (opens in new tab).
"Dragon Age 4 gets announced and looks rad as hell"
We'll give ourselves half credit for this one. BioWare did announce a new Dragon Age game at the Game Awards, and it may be rad, but we barely saw anything in the teaser. We don't know what it'll be called, either.
"Battle royale clones, and plenty of them"
A technical credit for this one, but it hardly counts. It was obvious that battle royale was going to the the hot new mode. Call of Duty added it. Battlefield battle royale is coming. CS:GO added something battle royale-ey. Radical Heights, a last ditch effort from LawBreakers developer Boss Key, came and went. Ring of Elysium was released, and that's just a few of them. There are, as we easily predicted, a ton of new battle royale games (opens in new tab).
"Another panic about singleplayer games"
Eh, partial credit. The announcement of Fallout 76 was met with some familiar pining for the good ol' days, but the panic wasn't quite as pronounced as it was in previous years. Had Call of Duty released without a traditional campaign just five years ago, there'd have been riots (figuratively, we assume), but it happened this year, and didn't feel like a big deal.
"All it'll take is one Elder Scrolls VI reveal to quash everyone's pessimism," said Samuel last year, adding a correct prediction within the prediction. It did help, and so did the Cyberpunk 2077 footage (opens in new tab) and the announcement of a new Obsidian RPG (opens in new tab). A new Doom and Rage 2 were announced, and Metro Exodus is coming. As for what released, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Pillars of Eternity 2 were pretty good, and more recently we loved Dusk's throwback FPS design (opens in new tab). Singeplayer games are just fine.
"Red Dead Redemption 2 will be confirmed for PC, but it'll come out in 2019"
Hm, nope. Rockstar has been silent about whether or not Red Dead Redemption 2 will get a PC release (opens in new tab), though we did see a convincing 'leak' recently. We're pretty sure it'll release on PC in 2019 or 2020, but it was optimistic to expect that Rockstar would make the announcement in the same year as the console release.
"More than 10,000 games will be released on Steam"
According to Steam Spy (opens in new tab), it's very close—9,025 at the time of writing—so we'll give this one an 'almost correct.' The total might not hit 10,000, but the spirit of the prediction has been fulfilled: a hell of a lot of games released on Steam this year. Valve actually went further than we expected by not only turning Steam into a self-publishing platform, but also removing most content restrictions and allowing adult games. We didn't see that one coming at all.
"2018 will be the year 1440p 144Hz becomes affordable"
That depends on your perspective. The first monitors with such specs arrived in 2014 and cost $800 or more. Prices have now dropped by half, and you can routinely find 1440p 144Hz displays for under $300, like this Monoprice model (opens in new tab). We've even seen a few sales drop prices below $200. If you're debating between a 4k 60Hz display and a 1440p 144Hz display, take the latter: it will be a superior experience in almost every meaningful way. Sadly, a lot of people are still content to use 1080p displays, so 1440p certainly isn't the new baseline yet, 144Hz or otherwise.
Our other predictions
We always end these with some more outlandish takes. Here's how they fared:
- Metal Gear Survive will score 78%. It'll be better than people think it is, but probably not loads better than that. (Nope. We gave it a 59% (opens in new tab).)
- Virtual reality headsets won't get any cheaper and the 'year of VR' will be delayed again, except for in the houses of people who can afford them. (Pretty much, though we didn't realize how much emphasis would be put on cheaper standalone sets, like the upcoming Oculus Quest.)
- Running out of quality Japanese games to port to PC, we’ll finally get that 4K remaster of Mr. Mosquito. (Sadly, no.)
- The number of people complaining about battle royale modes will eventually match the number of copies sold of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (Oof, we really didn't see the Fortnite phenomenon coming, did we?)
- GOG will start selling the Westwood Blade Runner game. Well, we can dream, can't we? (And a dream it remains.)
- GTA VI will be announced at some point in 2018. After all, it'll be five years after the original release of GTA V. It's got to happen sometime. (That's zero-for-two on the Rockstar predictions.)