The holiday season is usually full of big-name game releases but this year things are a little quieter. Game studios are still recovering from the impact of Covid-19 but it isn’t all bad news. This year has still seen some amazing successes coming from the gaming industry. Call of Duty continues to dominate in the charts and Sony Santa Monica’s God of War Ragnarök was a hit, racking up 6 wins at this year’s game awards.
Xbox has seen huge success from its record-breaking day one Game Pass launch of High on Life, which is the biggest single-player Game Pass launch ever. Fortnite got an upgrade with the release of its Unreal 5.1 update and The Witcher 3 finally got that next-gen upgrade.
Next year is looking jam-packed, with the likes of Hogwarts Legacy, Jedi Survivor, and Legend of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom. Gamers also have a ton of transmedia goodness to look forward to with the likes of The Last Of Us series which launches early in the new year and new details on a Death Stranding movie. Oh, and PS5s are finally seeing new stock, hooray!
Original story by Paige Cook follows:
Video game sales across the world have been down during 2022 and it seems that even the holiday season won’t be able to save it.
The holiday season is usually ripe with big-name releases and Christmas lists often have the latest consoles sitting at the top. However, this year the games industry has battled the tail-end of Covid, bringing a drought in new game releases along with the ongoing global chip shortage making all the big names as rare as turkey’s teeth.
Recent Yahoo Finance reporting has detailed findings from Ampere Analysis regarding the impact of the pandemic and how lockdowns powered growth in 2021 and 2020. According to this research the global video game content and services market grew 26%, with a jump from $151 billion to $191 billion. This boom in the market is largely down to people being stuck at home, living in uncertain times with video games providing a much-needed sense of entertainment and escapism.
Leave the world outside
Nintendo was one of the companies that saw a huge surge in sales over the coronavirus pandemic. As some rushed out to stock up on toilet paper and yeast others dashed out to impulsively grab themselves a Nintendo Switch to fend away the hours of incoming boredom. One major contribution to those sales was a single video game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The title was released in March of 2020 and provided players with a carefree simulation game that was easy to pick up and sink hours of lockdown time into, it also allowed players to invite friends to their island since you couldn’t invite them to your actual homes. The game sold more than 13 million copies in just the first six weeks setting it up as the Switch’s fastest-selling game.
However, life has been returning to its usual programming and people are back to leading busy lives. In addition, the world is still feeling the effects of Covid and the financial impact it has had around the world. Right now, for many people a new £60 video game simply isn’t on the cards and for those that are happy to pay there’s still the issue of low stock for new consoles such as the PS5.
Many game companies strategically plan their releases for the holiday season because it’s the one time you’re guaranteed an audience. However, with many game developers working from home – which either slowed down production or created scenarios where further quality checks would need to happen – this year many of those planned releases have been pushed back to next year.
It’s not all bad news
Although it’s been a rough year for gaming, let’s remember that this is still an industry worth billions and there are still some big names that played the game right and have got first-class product into gamers hands at just the right time.
Take the huge heights achieved by Call of Duty Modern Warfare II for example. This eagerly awaited sequel was released last month and crossed $1 billion in worldwide sales across its first ten days of release, making it the fastest selling game in the franchise yet.
Likewise this week also saw the release of the highly anticipated God of War Ragnarök which on the back of critical approval is sure to secure high sales – its 2018 predecessor sold over 23 million units worldwide.
And this year still has some big releases to come. The next iteration of Pokémon games – Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet – land on November 18 and the much anticipated space age survival horror game The Callisto Protocol is set to release across PC, PlayStation and Xbox in early December.
While total sales may be down, the gaming industry is a vast one with talented workers and committed fans at its core that, after two years of downtime, might just take 2023 as their cue to go even bigger.
Gaming fans are already looking forward to future releases, such as remakes of popular video games Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 and anticipated games like Diablo IV and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom are all pinned for a 2023 release. Roll on 2023. Things can only get better.