Analysis: AAA Video Games for Late 2018
Last week we looked at the strong video game lineup for the first half of 2018. Of course, most of the big sales occur in the second half, and more specifically the fourth quarter. With strong hardware sales and an impressive holiday lineup, DFC Intelligence recently raised its forecast for both 2018 and 2019. This is our look at the AAA video games for late 2018.
Probably the biggest title this fall is Red Dead Redemption 2. The original game came out way back in 2010 and the anticipation has been huge. Assuming the game lives up to its reputation this should be the biggest title of 2018.
Of course, the other big sellers are standard annual releases including Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, new sports titles (FIFA, Madden, and NBA) and a new Assassin’s Creed. However, there are also some lesser known franchises getting major releases. This is led by Fallout 76 from Bethesda. Fallout 4 was a massive success in 2015.
The Japanese publishers have had a strong year, Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World is already a big success and it is coming to PC. There will also be an older Monster Hunter Generations port for the Switch. Capcom is also bringing back Mega Man with Mega Man 11 (number 10 was in 2010).
Square Enix has a solid lineup led by Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts III (launching January 2019). Unfortunately, it seems the long anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake will not appear this year.
For the Nintendo Switch, Square Enix just released the sophisticated RPG Octopath Traveler. This provided some much needed diversity for the platform which so far has targeted a younger game audience.
Of course, the biggest Switch titles are the proven classics led by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. More then any other title, this should be one that drives hardware sales for the Switch. The only other major Switch exclusives are the Pokemon: Let’s Go games.
Arguably the biggest exclusive is Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4. Sony has a nice bundle with a limited edition red PlayStation 4 Pro featuring the Spider-Man logo and bundled with the game for $399. This is a great promotion for the PlayStation 4 Pro. Sales for this system have been underwhelming but in the recent DFC survey of console gamers, the PS4 Pro is seen as one of the most attractive systems. Spider-Man could get many consumers to bite.
In the U.S. sales for the Xbox One have been pretty decent so far this year. The system could actually meet our forecasts, something it has failed to do the past few years. The only major Xbox One exclusive is Forza Horizon 4. However, the Forza Horizon series is alone almost a good reason to own an Xbox One.
Most of the above titles have a fairly proven audience. Some of the more interesting titles we will be watching include Tencent’s Switch port of the massive China eSports hit Arena of Valor. Hitman 2, from Warner Bros, is an intriguing sequel to the episodic 2016 Hitman game (Hitman 2 is not episodic). Overkill’s The Walking Dead is a first-person shooter that may struggle to compete with the biggest name titles.
These are just the titles for 2018. Going into 2019 there is an impressive lineup of products releasing in the first quarter and into the spring. Overall DFC is forecasting that for the current console systems (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch), 2018 global packaged software sales will be up 11%. Digital sales are forecasted to be up a whopping 32%. PC game sales are also expected to see growth, but at a more modest 6%.
All these titles and many more are covered in our regular video game analysis service that looks at the potential for over 250 upcoming games.