Some unsupported predictions for the next three years

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I blog about videogames. This means that I have a right – nay, a duty – to make unsupported predictions regarding the future of the industry and the products within it. Having made sure that I have absolutely no evidence or insider knowledge to hand, I decide to plot the course of the next generation of consoles over the next three years using nothing more than guesswork, pessimism, and an irrepressible hatred of 99% of the human race. You may be surprised to learn that this story does not have a happy ending.

2014

By the start of April, a major round of hardware sales figures are in. It has become apparent that both the Xbox One and PS4 have sold very well since launch, with only a minor difference between their numbers so far. The Wii U saw a major sales boost just before Christmas (thanks to further price cuts worldwide both official and unofficial), which continued to a lesser extent into the next year. However, sales projections for all machines predict that the userbase for the newer consoles will quickly overtake that of the Wii U. The only exception to this trend is Japan, where the Xbox One has already completely tanked.

Emboldened by the success of the new Microsoft and Sony consoles – both of which place severe restrictions in different ways on secondhand software sales – a major publisher ‘does an EA’ around July by declaring that their interest in the Wii U has dropped to almost zero. It is also around this time that the first complete Xbox One crack is announced. Microsoft immediately declare their intention to find and prosecute the hacker/s, which they do before Christmas.

By the time Christmas does come around, sales of the Xbox One and PS4 are again pretty much neck-and-neck. Sony’s sales have been going steady since the start of the year, while Microsoft’s saw a surge just before Summer; and a major dip just after, which has yet to pick up. Sony rule the roost in terms of software charts in most countries, with Xbox One exclusives almost nowhere to be seen. Nintendo’s 3DS makes a strong showing as ever (especially in Japan), but the Wii U still struggles to get more than one game in the all-format top 20.

Many publishers and consumers alike begin to consider if perhaps mistakes have been made.

2015

Finally, it is widely recognised amongst veteran gamers that the Wii U offers them much of what they crave which is denied them by the Xbox One and PS4. Backwards compatibility, plenty of games which can be enjoyed solo, no restrictions on the secondhand market (even when EA used to publish games for the console, online passes were never used). In addition, an unexpected opinion gathers momentum whereby Nintendo are once again seen as a company for the “hardcore” gamer. There are now universally praised, Metacritic-dominating Mario, Zelda and Metroid Wii U games, as well as the sort of experimental titles that are rare on the PS4 and nowhere to be seen on the Xbox One. In fact, the Microsoft and Sony release schedules contain almost twice as many “casual” titles as Nintendo’s. A spike in sales at the start of the year sees the Wii U catch up to Xbox One sales, but Sony continues to pull ahead.

In June/July it is revealed that Xbox One sales have almost flatlined, a situation which a heavy price cut does little to address; especially as Sony quickly follows it with a price cut of their own. There is now much talk, both official and rumoured, of many publishers being unhappy with their software sales on Microsoft’s console. They have also realised, too late, that cracking down on the secondhand market has cost them dear in terms of new software sales. A few months before Christmas, the same publisher which abandoned the Wii U the year before announces that they will be moving to a digital-only strategy.

An exciting Christmas – for Sony and Nintendo, at least. The PS4 continues to sell well in terms of both hardware and software, thanks to a good balance of cheap mass-market titles and big-budget traditional games, made for the experienced gamer. The small percentage of the “hardcore” interested in the Xbox One have already purchased one, and the mass market that had always been Microsoft’s primary audience is now displaying apathy toward the console. Combined with PS3 and Xbox 360 sales finally sagging, as well as new Wii U bundles, Nintendo has two of the three best-selling consoles across the world in 2015.

2016

Before the year is even half over, three world-famous publishers have filed for bankruptcy. One survives; two do not.

By the middle of the year the Xbox One and Wii U both have roughly the same number of publishers supporting them. It is not a large number. Despite its user base being larger and more active than it has ever been, the Wii U has not benefited from what is being slowly acknowledged as the failure of the Xbox One. Too much money has been lost by executives desperate to force Microsoft’s restrictive machine into success. Development is more conservative than it has ever been, with the only truly interesting games being published and developed by Sony, Nintendo, and the companies that they own. Incidentally, this is the year in which Nintendo buys Sega.

Again the PS4, 3DS, and Wii U are the best selling consoles in almost every country at Christmas. Rumours have already begun circulating about Nintendo’s next console, while it’s also whispered that Microsoft – with their games division losing money for the last two years – is planning to pull out of videogames altogether. Also being ground in the rumour mill is the suggestion that, without a successful Christmas, another handful of publishers are set to implode…

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

2 comments

  1. mitchell /

    worst fucking article ever. Not to mention complete bullshit. You should be ashamed of yourself calling yourself a gamer and writing this crap.

  2. John /

    THIS GUY MUST BE THE FUCKING MESSIAH OF SOMETHING COZ HE HAS SUCH AN AWESOME VISION!!!
    (Yes, I do hope that the Xbox One turns to shit)
    (PS4 ALL THE WAY!)

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