Let’s collectively celebrate our love for the medium.
There is one thing that 2018 has assured- we are in a golden age of gaming. In a way, this was starting to be apparent last year- 2017 was a hell of a year, that saw great games launch one after the other. Epoch defining games such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Super Mario Odyssey, Persona 5, Nier Automata, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Resident Evil 7, and, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was the year the PS4 managed to move from strength to strength in its fourth year on the market, that Nintendo managed to pull the comeback of a lifetime with the record breaking launch of the Nintendo Switch, and even Microsoft managed to begin mounting a slow and steady return to form with the launch of the Xbox One X.
But it’s been with this year that it has become clear how extraordinarily strong of a position the gaming market is in at the moment. According to the NPD Group, all three consoles have done extraordinarily well in North America in 2018 so far. The PS4, of course, buoyed by the incredible slate of games it has gotten this year so far, has continued to pull great numbers in its fifth year on the market. The Nintendo Switch, which is seeing a quieter quarter in terms of game releases, has somehow managed to retain its sales pace. And the Xbox One, on the back of the Xbox One X, has managed to drive revenue growth, and see its strongest first quarter in North America yet.
The latest financial reports for all three console manufacturers also paint rosy pictures of their gaming initiatives. Sony is nearly at 80 million consoles sold, with absurdly high software attach ratios and network driven revenues. Nintendo has had a record breaking first year for the Switch, with almost 18 million units sold, and forecasts even higher software and hardware sales this year. And Microsoft, while not sharing sales numbers, is still seeing record breaking engagement numbers on Xbox.
"All three consoles are doing well. All three consoles are getting great games."
All three consoles are doing well. All three consoles are getting great games- and while, for instance, some, including even myself, might be tempted to throw shade on Microsoft’s latest game, Sea of Thieves, the fact of the matter remains that its high sales and engaged player base demonstrate that Xbox players actually enjoy the game. Any attempts to downplay it at that point border on pointless console warring- which, I don’t understand why it is necessary. It’s not like PlayStation and Nintendo haven’t gotten excellent exclusives this year as well, is it?
But it’s not just about exclusives and console sales here- it’s also about the games, and we’re in a creative renaissance on that front. The western gaming market has finally moved away from only putting out linear multiplayer shooters like last generation, and is releasing a variety of quality games now- from Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Overwatch, Shadow of War, Dishonored 2, XCOM 2, Total War: Warhammer, Civilization VI, Prey, Batman, The Witcher, Dragon Age, Fallout, God of War, Horizon, Injustice 2, Forza Horizon, and more. Meanwhile, the Japanese market has returned to a position of strength, and classics such as Persona 5, Final Fantasy 15, NieR Automata, Monster Hunter World, Nioh, Bloodborne, Bayonetta 2, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have all delivered some of the finest experiences of the generation.
Then there are the fantastic mid tier and indie games- after last generation, where they were relegated to pixel art retro throwbacks, or bottom tier games, they have really come into their own this generation. Look at fine games like Shovel Knight, Golf Story, Hyper Light Drifter, Stardew Valley, Overcooked, Hollow Knight, The Banner Saga, Night in the Woods, Life is Strange, Hellblade, and Rocket League- just to name a few.
"The sheer variety of games named here is staggering- we have RPGs, shooters, strategy games, racing games, immersive sims, action adventure games, action games, adventure games, platformers, stealth games, simulation games, we have games from all kinds of developers, we have first party games and third party games, we have games on every platforms up there."
The sheer variety of games named here is staggering- we have RPGs, shooters, strategy games, racing games, immersive sims, action adventure games, action games, adventure games, platformers, stealth games, simulation games, we have games from all kinds of developers, we have first party games and third party games, we have games on every platforms up there… we’re surrounded by a staggering variety of great games, spread across all platforms, so that no matter what system you choose to play on, you’re going to get an amazing experience, no matter what kinds of games you like.
And that, really, is what makes me thing we’re in another golden age for gaming right now. It is, really, the first time in a very long time that all systems seem to be doing well (as much as it will hurt some fanboys to admit that even systems that are not their own are still performing fine)- and, coupled with that, that all systems are getting a huge variety of fantastic games. We have otherwise usually had one or the other- for instance, the seventh gen saw five systems do well, but the variety of games plummeted, and the generation was mostly full of cinematic games or Call of Duty style shooters.
The PS2 and PS1 eras were fantastic, and saw some of the greatest games of all time- but they also saw some systems significantly failing, driving, for example, Sega out of the market entirely. This is the first time since the 16-bit era which has seen not just a healthy variety of games, but also a healthy variety of systems, all managing to do well for themselves. As gamers, we should all be happy about that- it means the medium is growing and expanding, instead of falling prey to mobile gaming, as the doom and gloom from some analyses a few years ago suggested.
"As gamers, we should all be happy about that- it means the medium is growing and expanding, instead of falling prey to mobile gaming, as the doom and gloom from some analyses a few years ago suggested."
As gamers, we have so many healthy platforms. We have so many different developers from all around the worlds, of all sizes, making all kinds of games. No matter what we like, or how we like it, we have something or the other for us, and it is inevitably at least great, if not outright fantastic.
We are, truly, in a new golden age for gaming. For once, we should put aside the console warring pitchforks, and collectively celebrate our love for the medium.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.