As we tick past the midway point of 2018, it’s safe to say that we’re in the midst of another great year in the gaming industry. Perhaps not quite the vintage caliber of 2017, but there’s certainly been plenty to enjoy across the big three’s gaming platforms, and plenty in the pipeline based on what we saw at E3.
It doesn’t really feel like this console generation is winding-down at all, despite a few whispers here and about possible release dates of future platforms. Perhaps that’s because the strange mid-gen console refreshes we’ve had from both Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo’s abandonment of the Wii U for an all-new platform has muddied the timeline. The big three all seem to be in different market spaces right now, with their efforts spearheaded by entirely different strategies: Sony’s software, Microsoft’s focus on user experience, and Nintendo’s unique hardware.
Of course, they’re all enjoying various degrees of success in the process, but who has the most still yet to prove for the rest of the year? It’s time to forecast the tail-end of 2018 and analyze which company should be most invested on upping the ante.
Who Has the Most to Prove For the Rest of 2018?
With 80 million PS4 units sold and a fast-growing reputation for quality first-party games, Sony has never looked more indomitable. Their approach to E3 this year felt almost like cruise control, showcasing a handful of previously announced games in more detail without feeling the need to unveil any major new projects to win over the crowd. And to be fair, it worked. With regards to the immediate future, at least, we’re far more excited about the prospects of PS4’s upcoming software than we are of any other platform. Microsoft’s admittedly substantial line-up of games look an age away, and we’re more or less in the dark about anything for Switch outside of Smash Bros. and the upcoming Let’s Go Pokemon games.
Sure, 2018 looks like it will just yield Spider-Man as a sole fall AAA exclusive for PS4, but that’s a pretty substantial offering. You’d have to say that its recent library of acclaimed games have been so plentiful and so well received that there’s no rush to deliver the rest of its big guns. As it turns out, leveraging its talented first-party studios as a catalyst for PS4 success has and continues to look like a strategy that will see the company continue to dominate the rest of this year and generation.
Perhaps Sony’s only weakness at the moment might just be the very success that has elevated it to such prestige. Is the company getting a wee bit too comfortable? We’ve seen overconfidence from Sony before (think PS3’s absurd price point), and their reluctance to play ball when it comes to Fortnite crossplay has a slight air of superiority about it. Yes, it makes sense for business, but when a company is happy to make decisions to the detriment of user experience, it isn’t likely to go down well. Sony’s big challenge for the rest of 2018 is making sure it continues to win the hearts of gamers as well as the industry mind-share. They would do well to remember that the goodwill of Sony’s “for the players” in the face of Microsoft’s botched Xbox One launch was a huge part of their early success this generation.