2017 and 2018 have been two of the most exciting years in video games in a long time. Lots of releases have been true bangers, from the biggest AAA adventures to fighting game revivals, indies, and all the weird stuff in-between. And now that we approach 2019, next year is looking just as good. Or is it?
It really feels like, with the exception of the Nintendo Switch Pocket Universe, we’re about to be winding down this console generation. Rumors from both the Sony and Microsoft camps have us prepared for console reminders at any point now, especially in 2029. But those consoles won’t be out next year, and what’s going to happen before?
The early months of 2019 are pretty loaded. There will be Anthem, Kingdom Hearts III, Days Gone, and Resident Evil 2. That’s plenty of good stuff, and more. But considering how close we are to the end of the year, it’s weird that most release dates for major titles don’t go past March 2019. And there are two big reasons for that.
Sony announced that it is pulling out of E3 2019 entirely, which is just nuts. Sony has attended E3 for the better part of 30 years, and now it’s dropping it like a ton of bricks. No competing conferences, live-streams, or anything has been announced. The same thing happened with the North American PlayStation Experience. While Sony will still be having them in other territories, the company doesn’t have anything new ready to show for such an event. That’s telling.
Microsoft tells a similar story. While we’ve seen more substantial rumors about what Microsoft might be cooking for its next console, we know next to nothing about software, aside from a few things that haven’t dropped yet (like Battletoads). Instead, most of the Microsoft news has been about the Xbox wing of the company opening a brand new AAA studio, and buying up several others such as Ninja Theory and Obsidian. But there’s no way anything these studios are working on will be ready within the year. Those are long-term moves.
What we could get out of 2019 is a lot of room for Nintendo and AA companies having the rare opportunity to really shine. If there won’t be many heavy-hitters later in the year, we could see a lot of unconventional titles, such as the new Animal Crossing or Metroid Prime 4 really getting some serious spotlight time. Perhaps Luigi’s Mansion 3 will finally land and be greeted by the respect that series deserves.
We can’t discount publishers like Ubisoft and Bethesda either. Fallout 76 is a garbage fire, but between working on getting that running better and releasing the upcoming Wolfenstein content, there’s real estate for that stuff in 2019. And Ubisoft, which has had a great time with the Assassin’s Creed revival, has The Division 2 locked and loaded.
Of course, both Sony and Microsoft could have been saving some announcements for such a rainy day-like occasion, and we could still end up with some big content before the new console wave starts. That especially applies to Microsoft, which has already had a fairly quiet 2018 and is already jutting its chest out about E3 2019.
Ultimately, it will be fine if 2019 isn’t of the same caliber as the past couple of years, which have largely been anomalies in the grand scheme of gaming. These past years have been incredible for games, but that can’t happen every year. Sometimes you run into those spots where everyone has released their big guns already, and need to work on what’s next for a while. And like I said, if the big two don’t have some crazy first party content for the second half of 2019, there are plenty of other publishers capable of filling in that empty space and making an impact.