We're almost halfway through January so I figure it's time to start making 2016 predictions before we get too far into the year.
1. PlayStation VR launches with No Man's Sky at $399.99 - This is in part the follow up to my PSX prediction (that No Man's Sky is a PS VR launch title). Now that Oculus had dropped their price at $599.99, Sony will have to respond if they want to make an impact in the VR space. When Oculus announced, I wrote that I suspect PlayStation is poised to target a middle-tier of early adopters (w/ Oculus being upper-tier and Google Cardboard or the Samsung Gear VR being targeted at the lower-tier) when it comes to quality and price. This seems supported by Lucky Palmer himself identifying that PS VR connected to a PlayStation 4 is not as powerful as the Rift on a high-powered PC (no big surprise there, really given the power of a $1000+ PC compared to the originally-$400 PS4). So I'm locking in that PS VR will be priced at $400 and include No Man's Sky just as the Oculus pre-orders include Lucky's Tale and EVE: Valkyrie.
2. PlayStation 4 is the highest-selling platform on the NPD charts every month from January 2016 and October 2016 - Continuing the dominance displayed in 2015, PlayStation will continue to lead sales month over month compared to the Xbox One. Xbox One only outsold the PlayStation 4 in April and October in 2015. April appears to have been a light month all-around and many early year consumers likely purchased their PS4's in March to coincide with Bloodborne's release date. And October was likely led by the release of Halo 5: Guardians. Despite having the stronger lineup of exclusives, Xbox was unable to defeat PlayStation in holiday 2015. Now that PlayStation exclusives are finally starting to trickle out, I think their continued lead is mostly a lock. There are only two scenarios that I think would substantially block this: that PlayStation sales slow dramatically because we're reaching a point where everyone who wants one already has one so consumers start getting the Xbox one as their second console. Or my #3 prediction.
3. The new Nintendo system (currently codenamed NX) launches in November (and leads NPD in November and December) - When Nintendo announced last year on a shareholder call that it was working on a new system codenamed the NX, they also said they wouldn't be talking about it again until 2016. The rumors that it will be a hybrid system: a handheld that you can plug into your tv or a console you can take on the go seem incredibly at odds with other reports that it's more powerful than the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One. These reports also seem to contradict Nintendo's standard operating procedure of trying to produce the low-cost option, even at the cost of advanced technology and graphics. Whatever the case may be, I think they'll announce and show off the new system at or before E3 and launch in November (supported by production schedule leaks out of Foxconn). And since both of the other systems will be entering their fourth year this November, consumers will flock to the new and shiny Nintendo system enough to win the holidays.
4. Final Fantasy XV releases November 14, 2016 - Square Enix has stated they are planning to finally announce the release date of the long in development Final Fantasy XV at an upcoming event in March. While I imagine other touchstones of that event will be Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy VII Remake (Part 1), I am predicting that their promise to release the game in 2016 will stand firm and they'll set the date for November 14th. Meanwhile...
5. Horizon Zero Dawn and ReCore get pushed to 2017 - The growing trend this generation has been to keep Triple A titles in the oven a little longer after announcing an initial release date/window. Both Horizon Zero Dawn and ReCore were announced at the Sony and Microsoft E3 conferences, respectively, as 2016 games and I think both will wind up getting pushed to Q1 of 2017. I don't really have much basis for this other than we haven't really seen too much from either one outside of their initial E3 presence and considering they both seem poised as new franchises for their respective studios, I imagine Sony and Microsoft will want strong lead times on them in order to get the word out.
So there are a few of my 2016 gaming predictions. I'm sure I'll put together a similar post around E3, as well as some of the year's other notable events. What do you think 2016 has in store? Let me know here or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading!