January is a quiet time in gaming. Since there tend to be few big releases, we’re able to take our time, carefully contemplate what lies in store for the year ahead, and then craft outrageous and completely unfounded speculation. The predictions gathered from the GameSpot staff below represent our hopes, our hunches, and things that we just have a pretty good idea about.
We do this every year…and sometimes we’re more correct than others. You can check out our predictions for last year here and our analysis of how it all turned turned out (We got over half of them right, at least!).
We’ll Get a Trailer for Destiny 2…But The Game Won’t Come Out Until 2018
Though Activision has indicated that Destiny 2 will arrive sometime in 2017, there still hasn’t been an official announcement. We’ll almost certainly get details about Destiny 2’s story and gameplay this year, but Destiny 2 has reportedly been pushed back once and likely will be again. That could be due to the rumored PC version; Destiny has been console-only since it launched, and Activision has acknowledged that developing for PC is a different beast. Destiny 2 is going to happen, but you won’t play it until 2018. — Kallie Plagge | Associate Editor
Nintendo Will Announce Another New Console…The SNES Classic
After the ridiculous success of the NES Classic, it would be crazy if Nintendo didn’t tap into the nostalgia for its even more popular follow-up: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Much like the NES Classic, this will probably be a tiny system modeled after the original hardware with a limited number of games and no access to download more via the internet. However, Nintendo will likely learn from one of the NES Classic’s oddities–the SNES Classic will have longer cables. — Justin Haywald | Managing Editor
Halo 6 Will Be Announced at E3 and It’ll Have Split-Screen
Halo is Microsoft’s crown jewel, so of course Halo 6 is coming. Developer 343’s year-long free DLC campaign for Halo 5 was impressive and helped keep people playing. But what will Halo 6 have to offer in terms of new features and content? Most pressing, split-screen has to come back, while a PC version seems likely given Microsoft’s renewed focus on the platform with Xbox Play Anywhere. Expect Halo 6 to be announced at Microsoft’s E3 2017 briefing in June. — Eddie Makuch | Editor
Nintendo Will Learn From Its Mobile Mistakes
Miitomo was Nintendo’s first push into the mobile sphere, and it quickly fizzled out. Then came Super Mario Run, which was supposed to be the anchor. Instead, revenue estimates dropped from $60 million in the first month to just $15 million, only 3% of players even spent money, and the game currently sits at just 3 stars on the App Store. One of the most common complaints in those reviews? The price tag, which is implemented in the game itself in a less-than-clear manner.
With Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games on the horizon, Nintendo needs to learn a lesson and be more up-front about the games’ free content versus what’s locked behind a paywall. Alternatively, the next mobile ventures could be entirely free to play, with boosters and cosmetics as the only paid content. This approach should win them better critical reception and more revenue in the long run. — Tony Wilson | Video Producer
VR Will Continue to Struggle to Gain Widespread Adoption
2016 saw the release of the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, which joined existing options like Gear VR as harbingers of virtual reality’s rebirth. And though creators have been reluctant to release firm sales numbers, estimates place each well above the 100,000 mark. Yet sales for all three major systems have flagged, and there’s little on the horizon that could drive adoption in 2017. Given that companies are still investing in their platforms, they’ll need to find some way to keep their respective systems afloat as both the hardware and software advance.
One obvious tactic: price drops. By lowering one of VR’s highest barriers to entry, HTC, Oculus, and Sony might be able to drive sales–or at the very least, buoy public interest. VR actually had a decent year in 2016 despite lower than expected sales, so we hope platform owners can find a way to salvage their virtual revolution before it becomes another passing fad. Regardless, we expect VR to primarily tread water this year as we all wait for the medium to mature. — Scott Butterworth | Editor
Mother 3 is Going to Get an English Release (For Real This Time)
The sequel to Earthbound, Mother 3, released in Japan over 10 years ago, and I was convinced that 2016 was the year this cult masterpiece would finally get an official release in the West. After all, 2016 was also the year that the interminable waits for both The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV finally came to an end, a Virtual Console version of Mother 3 came out in Japan, and the team at fansite retailer Fangamer delivered the comprehensive guide to Earthbound’s localization by Clyde Mandelin. But it was not to be–the only way for most English speakers to experience this piece of gaming history is still through the efforts of the excellent (but legally grey) fan translation available at fobby.net.
However, with the launch of the Switch on the horizon, Nintendo has a chance to reimagine its Virtual Console delivery service, which is currently split with different libraries on Wii, 3DS, and Wii U. What better way to introduce a new system–and potentially consolidate these classic gaming platforms–than with a game that fans in the US have wanted for so long? 2017 is going to be the year of Mother 3. — Justin Haywald | Managing Editor
2017 Will Be the Year of Augmented Reality
If 2016 was the year VR finally hit the mainstream, 2017 will be the year AR cements itself as the former’s superior.
We already got a taste of that sweet augmented reality action with Pokemon Go, which proved that–when done correctly–AR has the potential to be huge. We’ve also got Microsoft’s Hololens to look forward to. Microsoft hasn’t announced a consumer release date yet, but we may well learn more this year.
In addition to those high profile examples, we’ve also seen the possibilities of AR in experiences like Zombies, Run! and horror title Night Terrors. In the wake of these successes, other big brands will surely jump on the AR bandwagon. Pokemon Go developer Niantic has stated its own fantasy of seeing a Game of Thrones-style AR game, but other big licenses could be a perfect fit. Just imagine a Harry Potter experience with a virtual Marauder’s Map!
That’s forgetting the non-gaming possibilities, though. AR could, could, transform the way we consume, communicate, and live–if Microsoft’s claim that it blends the digital and physical worlds proves true, that is. — Oscar Dayus | Staff Writer
What are your personal predictions for 2017? Let us know in the comments below!