2020 Results in the Gaming Industry. Was it That Bad?
The year 2020 will be remembered for a long time as an incredibly difficult and difficult year, not only for the whole world but for many individuals in particular. Virus, crisis, self-isolation, massive personal tragedies. What have we not experienced? However, in such harsh living conditions, the gaming industry has shown tremendous financial growth. Sitting at home, in the absence of new films, concerts, and other public events, games have become one of the main entertainments for the people. But is everything that good?
2020 was a very eventful year for the gaming industry. There were powerful acquisitions, epic failures, sudden surprises, and much more. Let’s go without further ado this time ‒ we tried to remember all the significant incidents that were discussed in one way or another in the comments and social networks.
Delays, delays, and delays
Despite such a high box office success, the gaming industry could not help but fall under the influence of the ill-fated pandemic. Many projects have undergone several transfers. The deadlines were burning, forcing people to work beyond the norm while being sent home, which is very difficult, although at first glance it may seem different. Who knows how long this whole mess will last?
Cancellation of in-game exhibitions and The International 2020
2020 was under full control of the coronavirus. He locked us at home, cut off international communications, brought down the global economy. But, worst of all, because of it, we lost the opportunity to attend our favorite thematic events. Hundreds of thousands of gamers were left without E3 this year, Dota 2 fans lost The International World Cup, Fortnite fans were also left without an event.
Only Riot Games excelled. The publisher, even before the start of the world lockdown, promised that it would still hold Worlds 2020 and would do it with the audience. The company took all precautions and everything worked out ‒ none of the guests of the event, players, or staff got sick. But emotions, light and bright, so necessary in this difficult time, were received by everyone.
Games that are like sakura petals
Looking at the results of the year from many reviewers, you can often hear the following words: “what year, such games,” implying either a complete absence of high-quality projects that came out in a year or a scanty number of them. Indeed, when compared with previous years, in 2020 it did not stand out for a special abundance of really suitable new products, the release of some of which was accompanied by rather loud scandals. It makes no sense to list all these games here and now, but it’s worth noting an interesting feature. Many of the most highly rated projects that came out in 2020, one way or another related to the land of the rising sun, and were either released by Japanese companies or told us about Japan. Even the recent Polish project “Cyberpunk 2077” focuses a lot on this flavor. Well-known Western developers, without betraying themselves, continue to churn out new parts of their conveyor series. No initiative, just stagnation.
Free Chinese … single?
One of the discoveries of 2020 was the project “Genshin Impact” from a small Chinese studio called “miHoYo”. The project is notable for the fact that, distributed according to the Free-to-Play model, it contains a very high-quality and interesting world, focused on a single passage, and contains a set of mechanics and visual style of the famous “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” … Genshin Impact also can be played cooperatively and is distributed on almost all platforms, many of which have cross-play and cross-account. But there were some drawbacks. A free game also needs to survive somehow, so in “Genshin Impact” such a thing as Gacha-Mechanics, which collects various characters by farming loot boxes, was added. I wonder if we will see more high-quality free single-coil games with co-op and optional donation in the future?
Remakes, remakes … oh, remaster!
The trend dubbed “the era of remakes” did not get its name this year. But it was in 2020 that it reached incredible heights. For the whole year, a huge number of both remakes and remasters were released. Some of them, to be honest, turned out to be wonderful, but for the most part, this is another proof of the lack of courage of large studios, because it is much easier to restart a famous project than to create something new.
Cyberpunk 2077 failure
We have already discussed many times how epic the top management of CD Projekt RED got into a mess with the release of Cyberpunk 2077. And this will be discussed for a very long time because games of this level do not come out once a month, once a year, or even once every five years. The game had everything to conquer the hearts of millions of people because it is from the authors of the very “Witcher”. But it didn’t work out.
It didn’t work out literally in everything. The content was systematically cut from the game, it was transferred several times, it worked terribly on consoles. It is, after all, just incompleted. Cyberpunk 2077 in its current state is more like a very expensive and beautiful beta version for the game that we were deprived of, and which we are unlikely to get. Good luck in court, CD Projekt RED.
PS5 and Xbox Series X | S release
It finally happened! Who would have thought, it has been a full seven years since we first got our hands on the PS4 and Xbox One. The new consoles were awaited with special trepidation, and each had its characteristics and even completely different philosophy. Microsoft has relied on backward compatibility, power, and the ability to choose between a premium model and a budget model. Sony responded with a super-fancy SSD, a gamepad from the future, and exclusives.
The Sony-Microsoft standoff this year is reminiscent of the Cobra Kai events on Netflix. Each opponent has its pros and cons. And what is the bottom line, who won? It’s hard to say so far, only time and your wallet will judge.
Huge PS5 and Xbox Series X | S shortages
This point follows directly from the previous one. We can say that Sony and Microsoft marketers were eating their bread for a reason this year. Everyone heard about the new PlayStation and Xbox, which ultimately led to a massive shortage at the start of sales, which continues to this day.
In general, this was all quite expected. Problems with logistics and delivery of components due to the coronavirus pandemic, powerful PR campaigns, and damn resellers ‒ under such conditions, it is impossible to produce the required number of devices on time and meet demand. But, fortunately, if you have not received the coveted nextgen console, then you will not have to wait very long.
Unreal Engine New Release Announcement
In May, Epic Games unveiled a new version of Unreal Engine ‒ already the fifth in a row. The engine will be focused primarily on the creation of AAA games, the graphics of which can compete with Hollywood blockbusters or even pretend to be photorealistic. However, they did not forget about the indie sector ‒ it will be easier for independent developers to create with new tools.
As expected, the engine will be packed with new technologies like Nanite, which will allow displaying countless geometries (objects) with billions of polygons on the screen, but this will not destroy hardware. The preview version will appear in early 2021.
Microsoft bought Bethesda
While the rest of the major players are buying a studio or two, Microsoft decided not to get worn out and immediately acquire a super-powerful asset in the form of Zenimax Media holding. Recall that it includes Bethesda, Arkane Studios, id Software, and others. The American corporation simply bought itself a third of the major video game manufacturers.
What does this mean for us? It is known that now all the games from Bethesda and other studios will appear on Xbox Game Pass, and subsequent releases will be immediately available in the service from the first day of release. It is known that the acquisition will not affect the holding’s operations in any way. But whether the next TES or Starfield will be released on PS5 is already a huge question, since Phil Spencer answers very vaguely in all interviews.
The rise in the price of games up to $70
Damn year. Even before the release of new consoles, publishers began to openly discuss the potential increase in the cost of games. And the reasoning is quite serious ‒ over the past years, development budgets have grown tenfold, but the cost of one disk (or virtual copy) has not changed.
The first to hit was Take-Two, which posted a $70 price tag on NBA2K21. In many interviews after that, Strauss Zelnik said that this is far from the limit ‒ no one bothers publishers to push the cost even higher, and this can be a completely justified move. Later, similar promotions took place in titles from Electronic Arts and others.
Plot leak of The Last of Us Part II
The end of April turned into a nightmare for Neil Druckmann, the entire Naughty Dog team, and Sony itself. After all, it was during that period that numerous plot spoilers of The Last of Us Part II, the publisher’s flagship project and one of the most anticipated games of the year, were leaked to the network. For a game of this level, where all the intrigue was contained in the story, this is a huge fiasco.
The worst thing happened after the leak ‒ the players misunderstood the spoilers and learned the plot twists without the proper context. The very idea of the TLOU 2 story, concerning the relationship between Ellie and Abby, came under attack. However, the game still showed itself to be successful in sales, and smart people made conclusions about the story after the passage, and not before.
The Phenomenon Among Us and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
At the start of the year, we saw a boom in two indie games that drove hundreds of millions of people crazy. We are talking about the arcade fun Fall Guys and the social game simulator Among Us.
Fall Guys was probably not taken seriously by anyone from the very beginning. It looked more like some kind of craft that appears in the hundreds every day on Steam. However, later it turned out that it has something that other games do not have ‒ it gives emotions comparable to catching up with the boys in kindergarten. You enjoy the process, not the feeling of victory.
Among Us is the story of Cinderella in the gaming industry. It came out back in 2018, but no one cared about it. Why waste time on something incomprehensible with the rules of the “Mafia” when you can play the “Mafia” itself or its analogs? But two years later, there was a coronavirus pandemic in the world, everyone was locked up at home. Almost all socialization tools in real life were abruptly taken away from people, so they had to look for virtual alternatives. And here Among Us shone. It gave people all the tools they needed to have a good time with the company and made them feel the thrill of being chased.
Sony to release more PlayStation exclusives on PC
The Japanese came up with a very clever strategy to promote the PlayStation 5. The company released Horizon Zero Dawn on computers, and then began to say in plain text: “Oh, did you like the first part of our action game? And we will release the second one soon, but it will only be on PS5. If you please.” Then Death Stranding followed suit. Wondering what to expect next? God of War? Days Gone? It would be cool, we like this strategy!
It was a terrible year, but is everything that bad in the gaming industry? Everyone will answer in their way. Despite the growing income of gaming companies, it is difficult to say about the real progress of the industry. One thing’s for sure ‒ this year wasn’t boring.