By Dr. Serkan Toto – On Japan's Game Industry



Game industry website recently asked me for some personal predictions for the gaming business in 2019.

Here is an repost from my contribution to theirarticle:

Last year I predicted:

  • 2018 will be another successful year for Nintendo: Largely correct with Nintendo’s year-end run
  • Microsoft will continue to struggle and next gen rumors emerge: Correct
  • VR and AR won’t break through: Correct
  • A lot of sequels and remasters will be out: Correct
  • Mobile will see further consolidation: Correct

For 2019, I predict:

Switch Pro and Lite – While the 2019 Switch Pro has been already reported to be in development by the Wall Street Journal, I also think Nintendo will offer a “Switch Lite” (or just keep the current version at a lower price) to cover the lower end of the spectrum and offset sinking 3DS sales.

More third-party Switch software – In tandem with hardware revisions and an increasing install base, I am expecting a lot more games from third-party developers in 2019, starting in spring. At least one new game from the mega-franchises owned by EA, Activision or Take-Two will launch on Switch.

No PS5 or new Xbox launch – I predict no next-gen PlayStation or Xbox launches for 2019. However, Sony and Microsoft should officially reveal first details, including an increased focus on cloud and subscription models for their next consoles.

No breakthrough in gaming for crypto, blockchain, VR and AR – Facebook is readying the Oculus Quest for 2019, and several mobile AR games are coming next year, too. Sony will likely reduce the price of and/or introduce a new PSVR. Many start-ups are working on crypto- and blockchain games. However, I predict none of these efforts will even come close to mass market adoption in 2019.

No real competitor for Steam – On the PC front, I am very skeptical about the efforts of Discord, Epic, or Tencent to set up game stores. Steam will likely continue to be the dominant PC game sales platform, and I think their new competitors will not pick up steam in 2019 or anytime after.

More China and Korea power in Japan – As I am based in Tokyo, a prediction for the local gaming market is in order. On mobile (which is 3x bigger than console over here), I see even more game developers from abroad entering the industry, especially from China and Korea. In the light of that and increasing costs overall, I predict a bloodbath in terms of profits for Japanese mobile gaming over 2019.

Again, the full article with predictions made by three other analysts can be found here.

About the author

Dr. Serkan Toto

I am the CEO & Founder of Tokyo-based Kantan Games Inc., an independent consultancy focused on Japan’s game industry.

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By Dr. Serkan Toto – On Japan's Game Industry