Market researcher DFC Intelligence raised its forecast for video game hardware and software sales in 2018 and 2019. The forecast improvement is based on expectations for a stronger-than-expected second half, and much of that is based on anticipation for sales of Red Dead Redemption 2, the highly anticipated sequel to Rockstar Games’ 2010 epic Western.
Overall, DFC is forecasting that for the home console systems (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch), 2018 global packaged software sales will be up 11 percent. Digital sales could be up 32 percent. PC game sales are also expected to see growth, but at a more modest 6 percent.
“Assuming the game lives up to its reputation this should be the biggest title of 2018,” DFC said.
Other big sellers are expected to include Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, new sports titles (FIFA, Madden, and NBA) and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. Other big games coming include Fallout 76 from Bethesda, which should get a lot of buzz based on the massive success of Fallout 4 in 2015.
The Japanese publishers are also expected to have a strong year in 2018. Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World is already a big success and it is coming to PC. There will also be an older Monster Hunter Generations port for the Switch. Capcom is also bringing back Mega Man with Mega Man 11 (Mega Man 10 was in 2010).
Square Enix has a solid lineup led by Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts III (launching January 2019). But, sadly, the long anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake will not likely appear this year.
For the Nintendo Switch, Square Enix just released the role-playing game Octopath Traveler. This provided some much-needed diversity for the platform which so far has targeted a younger game audience.
Of course, the biggest Switch titles are the proven classics led by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. More than any other title, this should be one that drives hardware sales for the Switch, DFC said. The only other major Switch exclusives are the Pokémon: Let’s Go games.
DFC said the biggest exclusive is Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4. Sony has a nice bundle with a limited edition red PlayStation 4 Pro featuring the Spider-Man logo and bundled with the game for $ 400.
“This is a great promotion for the PlayStation 4 Pro. Sales for this system have been underwhelming but in the recent DFC survey of console gamers, the PS4 Pro is seen as one of the most attractive systems. Spider-man could get many consumers to bite,” DFC said.
In the U.S. sales for the Xbox One have been pretty decent so far this year. The system could actually meet our forecasts, something it has failed to do the past few years. The only major Xbox One exclusive is Forza Horizon 4. However, the Forza Horizon series is alone almost a good reason to own an Xbox One, DFC said.
Most of the above titles have a fairly proven audience. DFC will keep an eye on Tencent’s Switch port of the massive China esports hit Arena of Valor. Hitman 2, from Warner Bros, is an intriguing sequel to the episodic 2016 Hitman game (Hitman 2 is not episodic).
But DFC said that Overkill’s The Walking Dead, a first-person shooter, may struggle to compete with the biggest name titles.
These are just the titles for 2018. Going into 2019 there is an impressive lineup of products releasing in the first quarter and into the spring.
Check out the new video game industry segmentation that DFC Intelligence did in conjunction with Venture Beat and Atlas Technology Group. It is available on the Venture Beat website.