Tradition dictates that, around June 1, media and analysts come up with a mix of safe bets and pipe dreams ahead of the games industry's annual gathering in Los Angeles -- only to be proven right or utterly, utterly wrong after an intense week of livestreamed showcases and inbox-clogging press releases.
While there is no E3 this year, a handful of events have been roughly placed in and around the void it has created.
Things kick off tomorrow with PlayStation's State of Play, followed next week by Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, Summer Game Fest (the full line-up for which was announced yesterday), Guerrilla Collective, Wholesome Direct, Future Games Show, and PC Gaming Show.
There may be some notable absences (Electronic Arts has already confirmed it isn't running its own event this year, and there's no word from Nintendo and Ubisoft), but there's enough to dust off the ol' crystal balls and see what people hope to see in the next two weeks.
We spoke to industry analysts, as well as editors across the ReedPop Network, and here are their top predictions.
Serkan Toto, Kantan Games
God Of War Ragnarok
The next God Of War is Sony's key title for the rest of the year and is likely to actually launch in 2022, given it was already rated in South Korea.
An anchor title for Square Enix in 2022, Sony could deal an additional blow to Microsoft with this timed console exclusive -- if it actually turns out to be good.
Final Fantasy XVI
A mainline Final Fantasy title is always a big deal, and XVI is not an exception. As Forspoken, this is also a big one for Sony, as no Xbox version has been announced yet.
New game from Team Asobi
Team Asobi in Tokyo must work on something and my guess is the studio is tasked with creating a system seller for PlayStation VR 2. The game could be unveiled at the State Of Play to get fans excited for the hardware.
New Sony IP
Sony has promised a lot of new content for the PS5 to arrive in the next few years. This summer is a good time to tease at least one of these new PlayStation IPs their studios are working on.
"Whether it's at State of Play, Summer Game Fest, or during a Square Enix event at some point later in the summer, surely we will see Final Fantasy 16 soon?"
Sammy Barker, Push Square
New game from Hideo Kojima
A lot has been written about what Hideo Kojima's next game could be. The maestro himself has been quiet, but I believe Summer Game Fest is a nice occasion to show off Death Stranding 2, for example.
One of the Silent Hill titles
It looks like after years of speculation and recent leaks, we might be getting nearer to a Silent Hills reveal. Konami has been seeing record financials, and getting back into video games is one way to keep that momentum.
Starfield and Redfall
Following the delays of Starfield and Redfall, Microsoft could feel the need to show off more footage from the games to show things are at least progressing.
This is more of a personal wish than an actual prediction but this summer, I would love Capcom to give us a bit more than the few minutes we have seen of Pragmata so far.
Ryan Snyder, Nielsen
1. The role of NFTs will remain unresolved
Web3 technology has been a hot topic this last year and NFTs seem to be the way to integrate them into games. However, the Nielsen 2022 Games 360 annual survey found that only 29% of gamers know what an NFT is and more than 50% of gamers are uninterested in their integration into video games. With so much still unknown about how gamers will react, it seems likely that companies will watch the field develop until it is more defined.
2. The metaverse will have a good week
41% of gamers see the metaverse as an opportunity to re-imagine the internet, despite only 32% of gamers knowing what the metaverse is (compared with 29% of the non-gaming population). Because of that forward-thinking vision, gaming companies will want to announce collaborations with metaverse platforms such as Roblox this year.
3. Microsoft will announce a new AAA Game Pass partner
The subscription service model of Game Pass has revolutionised the way gamers play and approach content. When asked what the most important feature was for a game subscription service, the top choice after being affordable was having "a wide selection of games." It's for that reason that Game Pass needs to expand its list of partners to maintain a large library offering users choice.
4. Forza 8 will get a release date
Racing games are the second most popular genre for gamers under 18 on console. Shooters remain the most popular, with 52% of those under 18 saying they play games in the genre, but at 49% racing games are not far behind. In trying to capitalise on the success of Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft is going to want to keep the momentum going by keeping Forza in the public eye and continuing to engage the much sought-after under 18 demographic.
5. Sony will bring a major franchise to mobile
For the last two generations, Sony has been the king of the console. However, they have yet to capitalise on the fast-growing mobile market. Currently, 76% of gamers play games on a smartphone -- nearly triple that of the PlayStation 4 at 26%. By bringing the patented Sony quality to the mobile space, Sony has an opportunity here.
6. Microsoft will make a big push for Cloud Gaming
With the wide proliferation of mobile gaming, Microsoft will look to take over the market by forefronting the ability to play AAA games on your mobile phone with Xbox Cloud Gaming and Game Pass. This may even come alongside a cloud-only version of the Xbox.
7. Hollow Knight: Silksong will be "available now"
I'm hoping if I say it enough times, I'll manifest it into reality.
Piers Harding-Rolls, Ampere Analysis
I'm not expecting any major hardware announcements such as a Switch Pro, a release date and pricing for PSVR 2, or a cloud gaming-capable streaming stick reveal from Microsoft. State of Play seems too small an event to announce the full details of a PSVR 2 launch, which may also be an indication that a release for the headset could slip into 2023. I'm expecting pretty much all announcements and reveals across the different showcases to be focused on games and services.
"Hollow Knight: Silksong will be "available now". I'm hoping if I say it enough times, I'll manifest it into reality."
Ryan Snyder, Nielsen
New family plan for Xbox Game Pass and Ubisoft content
I think we'll get a few service and platform-related announcements, such as a family plan for Xbox Game Pass and probably heavy promotion of the new PS Plus. We could also get some more details about how Ubisoft+ is coming to Xbox and whether Ubisoft+ Classics will be added to any other services beyond PS Plus. If a Nintendo Direct takes place, there's likely to be additional announcements around games and DLC content coming to Switch Online + Expansion Pack.
Games announcements and gameplay demos
I'm expecting to see the first gameplay demos for upcoming releases in long-running franchises including Street Fighter 6, Final Fantasy XVI, Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Part 2 and Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. Might we see a trailer for Metroid Prime 4? Possibly but more than likely not considering its long and troubled production.
I'd like to see some more gameplay for God of War Ragnarok but considering the content description for this State of Play, that could come later in the year. Microsoft will focus on Starfield, Redfall, Hellblade II, upcoming content for Halo Infinite and possibly Avowed. We're likely to see more gameplay from miHoYo's new game Zenless Zone Zero.
In terms of completely new reveals, I'm hoping for an Elden Ring DLC announcement, some details on Sony's upcoming live service games, a new Nier title and to learn what unannounced title Obsidian Entertainment is working on. We're already guaranteed to get completely new reveals of several PSVR 2 titles alongside the already-announced Horizon Call of the Mountain and Among Us VR. A VR mode for Resident Evil Village would be good. Will we get a Silent Hill reveal? I'm going to say no.
What games will Netflix announce? I'm expecting a new Stranger Things title and perhaps a game based on the Umbrella Academy or Squid Game IPs.
Tom Phillips, Eurogamer
1. As the Xbox Game Pass vs PlayStation Plus subscription war heats up and game delays are everywhere, both Microsoft and Sony will be keen to fluff up their promises of third-party support. For Microsoft, which now lacks any kind of tentpole launch this year, I'm expecting a scramble to secure third-party games day one in its catalogue. A Saints Row here, a Gotham Knights there won't make up for the loss of Starfield and Redfall this year, but they will soften the blow.
2. Xbox Game Pass may (accurately!) insist there's much more to the subscription than AAA, but Microsoft relies on big launches such as Starfield to gift the service some regular subscriber bumps. So, regardless of its new 2023 launch window, expect Starfield to be paraded as a big juicy subscriber carrot at Microsoft's showcase.
3. PlayStation's third-party strengths lie in its deep connections to Japanese publishers such as Square Enix and Capcom, and I'd expect both to pop up during Sony's State of Play this week with reveals from a couple of their biggest brands. It's about time at least one long-rumoured project is finally announced, I think.
4. Despite both Microsoft and Sony vying for third-parties in their own shows, I'd expect GeoffCon/G3/Summer Game Fest to also have a decent selection -- and teases perhaps teeing up wider announces elsewhere. Perhaps this is where we see more-expected things appear, such as the inevitable Street Fighter 6 and Sonic Frontiers, or this year's Assassin's Creed game.
5. My biggest -- and most welcome -- surprise would be some kind of release date confirmation for God of War, and for it to still be on track for 2022. But Sony seems keen to keep putting its first-party games in their own shows, so we will likely be left waiting.
Katharine Castle, Rock Paper Shotgun
1. I feel like we're owed a Meteor's worth of Final Fantasy news very soon, both in the form of Final Fantasy 16 and FF7 Remake Part 2, so I'm hoping Sony will finally deliver the goods on that front. It would be especially nice if they could mention the letters 'PC' somewhere in there as well. We all saw that 'captured on PC' wording on the initial FF16 reveal, Sony, so don't pretend like it didn't happen...
2. Still, with tomorrow's State Of Play only slated to last 30 minutes or so, I suspect much of it will be focused on PSVR 2. I always love a new bit of hardware to pore over, but I'm especially keen to see what it's going to launch with -- although given the seemingly unstoppable force of the Meta Quest at the moment, Sony are really going to have to come out swinging if they're going to make an impression. Gawping at Horizon Zero Dawn's robo dinos is fine and all, but that on its own isn't going to cut it.
"I'll bet you seven frogs that Fable's another no-show"
Katharine Castle, Rock Paper Shotgun
3. As for Xbox, I'm still hoping we'll get our first look at Starfield despite the recent delay. Bethesda have certainly been building up to it with their regular dev diary updates over the last couple of month, so I think it would feel especially empty if that ended up being MIA this year.
4. I feel like we're also due another look at Forza Motorsport (sans number), as it's been two years since that initial reveal now, and two Horizons since the last one.
5. Speaking of two-year gaps, I'm also hoping Microsoft will remember they've got Rare's Everwild and Obsidian's Avowed lying down the back of the sofa somewhere as well. It's been too long since we've heard anything about them, so here's hoping we'll get an update.
6. I'll bet you seven frogs that Fable's another no-show, though.
7. As for Summer Game Fest, I'm sworn to secrecy on some of the things that will be there, but unless Geoff's got some truly juicy zingers hiding up his sleeve, I worry that this year's Game Fest will end up being a bit underwhelming compared to previous years. I'm really hoping to be proved wrong on this, though, because no one likes to kick off Video Games Christmas with a burst of announcements that are all instant busts. I'm relying on Geoff to fill in the rest of my gaming calendar this year, because right now... it ain't looking good, folks.
8. Then again, in the absence of all the big hitters, I still think PC will have a pretty good turnout all things considered. We've got literal hours of non-stop indie announcements coming on Saturday thanks to the back-to-back Guerrilla Collective and Wholesome Games showcases, and, of course, the PC Gaming Show following Xbox & Bethesda on the Sunday (and if 90% off all those games aren't also on Game Pass, I'll eat my Xbox controller). They might not be the epic feasts we've come to expect from summers past, but we're definitely not going to go hungry while we wait for the blockbusters to get their act together either.
9. Outside of Summer Game Fest and Xbox, I think the PC Gaming Show will be the next showcase to keep an eye on -- and not just because it's all focused on PC. It's here where I'm expecting the next wave of third-party announcements to come from, as well as the new, platform-defining indies to emerge from. Even if there does end up being some crossover with some of the smaller showcases happening in the days before it, this will be the main event.
10. My total wildcard prediction is that Konami announce they're really doing Silent Hills for real this time, and they've got Guillermo Del Toro in to help make it. It won't happen, but we can dream, right?
Sammy Barker, Push Square
Sony will be quieter than competitors
While we have a State of Play to look forward to this week, Sony has been very specific about its focus on third-party partners and a "sneak peek" at PSVR 2. I don't think PlayStation's presence this summer, from a first-party capacity, will be comparable to Microsoft or, presumably, Nintendo's. I think we'll get a larger PlayStation Showcase in September, as was the case last year.
Street Fighter 6 could be at State of Play
We know that Capcom intends to reveal more on Street Fighter 6 this summer, and many assumed that would be during the EVO tournament a little later in the year. I think the audience for that is quite specific, though, and I expect the Japanese publisher to at least tease its new fighter during State of Play, with more to follow during EVO and the Capcom Pro Tour.
"What games will Netflix announce? I'm expecting a new Stranger Things title and perhaps a game based on the Umbrella Academy or Squid Game IPs"
Piers Harding-Rolls, Ampere Analysis
Resident Evil Village DLC and PSVR 2
Resident Evil Village DLC was announced about a year ago, and I fully expect Capcom to have something to show on that front during State of Play -- or, indeed, the Summer Games Fest. The previous game, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, was such a big thing for the original PSVR that I fully expect Sony to rekindle that relationship, and announce there'll be an update to the PS5 version of the game to include PSVR 2 support.
Final Fantasy 16 steps out of the shadows
Whether it's at State of Play, Summer Game Fest, or during a Square Enix event at some point later in the summer, surely we will see Final Fantasy 16 soon? Square Enix has effectively confirmed that it's sitting on a new trailer, so it can't be far off. One thing to note is that the State of Play this week is being broadcast later than usual, aligning it a little better with Japanese timezones. That could turn out to be crucial.
Gavin Lane, NintendoLife
A new platformer from the Super Mario Odyssey team
Mario Odyssey launched five years ago this October, and despite releasing the excellent Bowser's Fury update of Super Mario World 3D in the interim, we're due another Nintendo-developed platformer. HAL's Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a fine game -- one of the most polished on the system -- but it's about time for another bona fide 'mainline' platformer. Whether we're looking at an Odyssey 2, the rumoured Donkey Kong project, or something else entirely, I expect platforming news.
A smaller-scale revival like Rhythm Heaven
With Switch now well into its fifth year, I would love to see Nintendo dip a little deeper into its roster. The console's success and the evergreen Mario/Zelda/Pokémon/Animal Crossing entries it already hosts offer some breathing space to experiment with lower-tier series in its catalogue. It's the perfect time for a new F-Zero, Wave Race, 1080 Snowboarding, or Excitebike/Truck, for example.
A Switch entry for a smaller-scale series seems more likely, though -- Rhythm Heaven would be my bet. Like those racers mentioned above, this hilarious rhythm series has a devoted following, but its party-style accessibility and off-the-wall presentation make it the perfect candidate for a lower-budget, family-friendly Switch return.
Failing that, a new Punch-Out, perhaps. If Next Level Games hasn't been totally preoccupied with Mario Strikers: Battle League, that is.
A new Fire Emblem (possibly a remake)
Three Houses launched in July 2019, and while the upcoming Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes looks tasty, its Musou hack-and-slashing won't satisfy pure strategy fans. A totally brand-new entry or a series remake along the lines of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia would go down well. Hell, a port of that late-cycle 3DS title would be welcome.
Nintendo obviously has WayForward's Advance Wars 1+2 remake in the bank ready to launch when world events permit, so while announcing another tactics title might not be ideal, there's space enough for both to exist alongside one another on a 2022/23 release schedule.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Wave Two
Feels like a gimme, this one. With DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe seemingly scheduled from now into the 2030s, it makes sense to launch the next wave of eight more DLC tracks (the Turnip and Propeller Cups, if you're interested) over the not-E3 period.
Nick Parker, Parker Consulting
News on PSVR 2 launch timings -- the industry has been expecting calendar Q4 2022 but it's looking like slipping into 2023 so any information on release timings would assist planning for developers.
"Whether we're looking at an Mario Odyssey 2, the rumoured Donkey Kong project, or something else entirely, I expect platforming news"
Gavin Lane, NintendoLife
PSVR 2 launch titles -- it would be great to see more original content rather than ports from PSVR, maybe in genres underrepresented so far; perhaps driving sims so something from first-party mascots like Gran Turismo?
Progress of streamlining the online services into PS Plus tiers -- I'd like to hear whether Sony has modelled the shift of users to these tiers and how it expects the subscriptions to drop within the three. Also, any numbers on PC PlayStation titles performance?
Update on PS5 supply to end of the year.
Impossible, I know, as Microsoft are so coy, but some insight into Xbox Series sell-through numbers; lifetime sales so far compared to Xbox One at the same lifecycle stage. I know these from various regional research sources but it would be good to have them confirmed.
Online subscription rates would be useful, especially around Game Pass.
News on the progress of the Activision acquisition as we are a year away from ratification.
Can Microsoft discount rumours of any mid-cycle technical iterations to Xbox Series?
Update on Xbox Series supply to end of the year.
A serious, not emotional, discussion around blockchain gaming, crypto and NFTs that goes beyond environmental issues and the current collapse of crypto/NFT prices. A debate over the long term potential impact of web 3.0 on gaming business models.