Could Major Game Releases Dampen Next-Gen Console Sales?

The year 2020 is going to be huge for gamers, and, with so many new customer offers on the market, it’s also going to be one filled with tough decisions. Can anybody remember a time when we not only had new game consoles coming out but also titles like Cyberpunk 2077, the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and a Resident Evil 3 Remake, among other things? Our major question is: Could these massive releases dampen gamer enthusiasm for the next-gen consoles? 

After all, the compelling reason to get a new system was to experience something that you couldn’t on your old rig. That argument might not be that strong this time around and that’s why we think that games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy VII Remake could actually have a negative impact on the next-gen console releases in the short term. 

To be sure, the PS5 and next Xbox are going to sell like mad. But it’s the six to twelve months after launch where the systems really need to prove their relevance. And with games like those described above on current-gen systems, why even bother upgrading? That’s the question a lot of gamers will be asking themselves as Microsoft and Sony gear up for the next-gen war to end all wars. 

For one, 2020 is going to be a year of nostalgia releases. The remakes of titles from the past, a strategy proven lucrative before but truly kicked into high gear with last years Resident Evil 2 Remake, will inevitably sap away precious gamer dollars that could be otherwise available for a new console purchase. 

An advantage that the PlayStation 5 is boasting is backwards compatibility and that’s an advantage not to be underemphasized. But the fact that we haven’t really seen any compelling software for systems that are right around the corner has most of the gaming world focusing on what is coming and it is spectacular. Traditionally, gamers are distracted by what the next generation can do, but most of us are waiting for this gen’s future releases with bated breath to notice what’s going on in the near future. 

Really, if Cyberpunk 2077 and other games put a slight damper on the next-gen console party then there aren’t any better titles to do it. Even though the game isn’t out yet, everyone is pretty much expecting Cyberpunk 2077 to be a huge seller and possibly the best game of the current generation. In fact, some analysts are predicting that the game could sell as much as 15 million copies. 

That would place it in league with Rockstar’s hits and catapult it into that rarefied stratosphere of gaming that tends to come out in the middle of a console cycle, not at the end. Developed by no less than CD Projekt Red, Cyberpunk 2077 has everything good going for it and the delay to September is possibly the company’s realization of the massive opportunity it has on its hands. Keep in mind that the popularity of The Witcher on Netflix ended up reinvigorating The Witcher III and spurring sales of that title. 

Perhaps the devs are taking this time to polish the game even further as well as reach out to new audiences that the Netflix show might have captured for their other marquee property. The confidence that gamers have in this company is pretty unparalleled in the modern industry and mirrors the kind of goodwill that Blizzard used to enjoy. But it’s not just that Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out this year, it’s the fact that it is also being joined by a game some people have wanted for an even longer time and that is the Final Fantasy VII Remake. 

There’s no doubt that a lot of the oxygen in the room is getting sucked up by CD Projekt Red’s game, but the sleeper titan of the year might be the FFVII Remake which commands nostalgia and the Final Fantasy series’ deep fanbase for what could be the biggest release of the year depending on how everything goes. Huge in the West and often credited as the game that introduced many people to the mechanics and tropes of the JRPG genre, the Final Fantasy VII Remake is arriving in one of two parts with the first part coming this year. 

The anticipation for this game stretches all the way back to the PlayStation 3 era when people thought it was just around the corner. Little did we know that it was only a concept and that Square would even struggle to get their eventual tie-in that became Final Fantasy XV out in the ensuing years. Blending the plot and action-based gameplay that we see in Square’s modern RPGs, the FFVII Remake will have many more new customer offers such as an expanded story and lore as well as a more detailed world. 

Two major games is a big deal, but the other titles releasing throughout 2020 make this generation seem like it has more life in it than many of us would expect. This makes Sony’s move towards making the PS5 backwards compatible a smart and savvy one while also leaving open the possibility for a generous trade-in program that encourages consumers to switch to the new machine. We’ve never really seen anything like that in the industry before and there’s little reason to hold our breath. 

Yet it does seem like market conditions are making that a smarter idea if it looks like the launch will be a bang and the following months after that will be a whimper. One thing is sure and that is the fact that the Nintendo Switch is going to keep on posting huge numbers even while Sony and Microsoft are trying to get their new systems off and running. It just shows what a wealth of problems we have now – good ones to have – when the current console generation is so strong that it makes you consider the launch of the next-gen systems and whether or not it will be as strong as it could be.