Game industry news site GamesIndustry.biz asked analysts (including myself) for predictions how we think about the gaming business in 2021.
Here is a repost from my contribution to their article:
Switch Pro launches
Yes, I know, I know. I predict a beefed-up 4K device is coming during Nintendo’s next financial year. And let it be said: “Switch” is just a word.
Nintendo marches on
Everybody expecting the Switch to run out of steam in 2021 is in for a bitter disappointment. The Switch will be the best-selling console this year as well, driven by more first-party games, a hardware refresh (see above), and the device having developed into a lifestyle product for the mass market over the course of 2020.
PS5 pulls ahead
Personally, I like the new Xbox but believe Sony’s PS5 will be significantly ahead at the end of 2021 in terms of both hardware and software sales globally. In Japan (where I am based), Sony is very likely to miss the PS4’s first-year sales numbers because of Nintendo’s continuing dominance in both companies’ home market.
More M&A to come
2020 was a big year for mergers and acquisitions in gaming despite the coronavirus situation, and consolidation will likely continue in 2021. There is room for at least one billion-dollar mega deal and several that are in the US$100-500 million band, with Take-Two, Sony, and Microsoft as the most likely buyers in my view.
Game stock price retreat
Driven by the pandemic, next-generation console launches and the stock market moving upwards overall, game stocks worldwide have been bubbling up to unprecedented highs in 2020. While I am sure that part of the new audience and increased engagement can be retained over the next years, gaming will eventually take a hit and share prices will see a correction in the first half of 2021.
App stores see structural changes
Monopoly, walled garden, high-tax marketplace: the accusations by many mobile game developers against how Apple in particular manages their App Store are harsh, and their voices are starting to get heard. I believe that Apple reducing app store fees for smaller studios is just a first reaction. Both Google and Apple are likely to be forced to make additional structural changes to their app stores in one way or the other in 2021.