Seeing as how COVID-19 delayed lots of big games in 2020, it’s no surprise that this year was huge in the video game industry. Lots of big releases came out, some better than others. Let’s take a look back at this year’s video games and how much they accomplished in this year of 2022.
Nintendo released many hit games this year for many of their title characters. Whether it be Mario or Kirby, Nintendo did very well this year, making 2.3 billion dollars in the first half of 2022. However, there were some flops in the ratings for a few select games, two of which come from the money-making giant Pokemon. Pokemon had two games come out this year, Pokemon Legends Arceus, and Pokemon Scarlet/Violet. Pokemon Legends Arceus came out earlier this year on January 28th of this year, and it was met with some pretty decent reviews. However, the game had a mediocre story and sub-par boss fights, as Liam McCalmon, a long-time Pokemon fan, explains that the game had: “Too many cutscenes, and not enough time for the actual game.” As for the other release, Pokemon Scarlet/Violet, the game faced almost the exact opposite problems. The game had many performance issues, sub-par graphics, and a really boring story.
It was a pretty disappointing year for Pokemon, as it slowly becomes a yearly release franchise that so many despise. Nintendo otherwise did very well, as Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Mario+Rabbids Sparks of Hope, and Bayonetta 3 were all big hits making a return on the Switch console. Next year will also be an exciting year for Nintendo, as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, as well as many other games release next year.
Xbox had a very good year as well. Microsoft’s gaming revenue topped out at 16.23 billion dollars this year, due in part to the popularity of the Series X/S consoles. But in terms of Xbox exclusives, they did pretty mediocre. Sure, lots of exclusives came out, and they had pretty good reviews, but most of them haven’t been very talked about. When I searched on Twitter for Pentiment, I could find no one really hyped about it and it appeared very forgetful to me. However, Xbox doesn’t need to make exclusives if they buy the companies who can. At the very beginning of this year, Xbox bought Activision, one of the biggest AAA video game companies in the world.
As soon as this announcement was announced to the public, social media did what social media does and it exploded. Activision is much more closely related to PlayStation than Xbox. Heck, they have closer relations to Nintendo than Xbox. And yet, the deal was made, costing Microsoft 70 billion dollars. Suddenly Microsoft’s gaming revenue doesn’t feel that big. On top of that, Xbox Game Pass continues to surge, creating almost 20% of Microsoft’s gaming revenue. If you are an Xbox fan, you have to be happy right now.
Sony/PlayStation has had a VERY mixed year. Out of the Big 3 game companies, PlayStation probably ended up doing the worst. Not to hate PlayStation’s performance this year, they had so many great games this year. Three of the biggest games of the year were Sony exclusive, those being Stray, Horizon Forbidden West, and God of War: Ragnarok. Part of the problem for PlayStation was that they forgot to sell their consoles. Over the course of 2022, the PS5, Sony’s powerhouse console, was experiencing a shortage due to the pandemic along with the conflict in Ukraine. It has not appeared in stores, has struggled to ship to houses, and Sony’s solution to this was to make more PS4’s.
In the first half of 2022, they’re revenue was a mere 8.8 billion dollars. While it’s clear to see that Nintendo had far less revenue, you also need to take into account that Nintendo isn’t owned by a multi billion dollar company like Microsoft or Sony. So this number is very disappointing, and adding to the fact that PS Plus has done much worse than Xbox Game Pass, along with an uncertain future of one of PlayStation’s favorite franchises in Call of Duty, along with a projected 16% decrease in profits, this year was not a great one for PlayStation. A big plus for PlayStation was the buyout of Bungie, the original creator of Halo, but it remains to be seen if Bungie was worth the 3.6 billion dollars it was paid for. PlayStation will hope to succeed in 2023 when the PS5 shortage lightens up.
The Game Awards take place annually to celebrate the games that came out in the past months. This year, we saw many new games announced, a bunch of new clips and upcoming DLC for some games, and a guy who nominated the Game of the Year award to Orthodox Rabbi Bill Clinton. The highlights of the show were Hades II, Death Stranding 2, Diablo IV, Among Us Hide and Seek mode, a new look at the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie, a good look at upcoming games Street Fighter 6 as well as Tekken 8, Judas, Earthblade, Meet Your Maker, Crash Team Rumble and Final Fantasy XVI.
A lot of games, a lot of them with roman numerals in them. (That means they have to be good, right?)
PlayStation and Nintendo both had very good showings in the presentation, but Xbox was suspiciously quiet. Since we know a lot of Xbox games are coming in the future, it was surprising to see a no-show from the gaming giant. Watching it live, seeing the 10th Xbox Game Pass ad, I wondered if there was anything big that Xbox would showcase for their 2023 year. But there was nothing. What could potentially explain it is that Xbox wants to separate itself from Sony, especially since the Xbox-Activision deal has separated the two a big amount. Xbox still has time to showcase their games, and knowing Xbox, we might be able to see a February showcase from Xbox about their upcoming games.
A big highlight from The Game Awards was, you know, the actual awards. The Game of the Year award was at the end of the stream, so seeing who won what awards beforehand would more likely than not project the winner. Over the course of The Game Awards, it was clear that God of War: Ragnarok would be the heavy favorite. They won 6 total awards, which was the most out of any other game. It won Best Narrative, Best Score, Best Performance, Best Action/Adventure, Best Audio Design, and Innovation in Accessibility.
The only game to contend with the obscene amount of awards given to God of War was Elden Ring. In total, it won 3 awards, them being Best Art Direction, Best Role-Playing, and Best Direction. Up until the point where it was announced, God of War looked like it was going to win, not only because of the structure of The Game Awards schedule, but also because since the game is newer, it would be fresher in people’s minds when the voting started going up.
When it was time for the Game of the Year award to be announced, fans from both Elden Ring and God of War were praying for their game to be under the spotlight. Elden Ring did not look like it was going to win, and God of War appeared to be the inevitable winner.
The Game of the Year was announced to be Elden Ring, and everyone, both in the stands of Los Angeles Microsoft Theater and those watching at home, went crazy. Fans were stunned that the game that won 1/5 of the awards in the show had lost. Nonetheless, people were very proud of the team for making one of the best games of all time.
But as the devs were celebrating, something interesting happened. A kid who appeared to have sneaked on-stage had managed to talk into the mic right after the lead developer spoke to the audience. With this newfound power of voice, the kid said, “I want to nominate this award to my reformed Orthodox Rabbi Bill Clinton.” The kid, who would later be identified as Matan Even, was taken to a “secure area” inside the Microsoft Theater by TGA security staff where he was then questioned by venue security as well as “TGA-hired onsite LAPD officers.” This is apparently not Even’s first rodeo, as much prior to The Game Awards, Even was seen holding a poster that said, “Fight for Freedom! Stand with Hong Kong!” during an L.A. Clippers game.
Despite the confusion, The Game Awards were an amazingly fun and confusing show to watch live. The next video game event will be PAX East/West, as well as E3 and the Summer Game Fest, which will hopefully not include some kid preaching about ordained Minister George W. Bush.
As for the future of video games, I believe we are safe to have high expectations for next year. We have more Xbox news coming up, PlayStation is beginning to get the ball rolling, and Nintendo continues to surge. Indie games also have a very bright future, as Stray, everyone’s favorite kitty game, is one of the first indie titles to be a nominee in the Game of the Year, which shines a bright light on indie devs for the future. Whatever the case, it seems that we should be prepared to have our wallets be emptied in the future.