What Does Gaming Look Like In 2024?

For the past couple of years, I’ve had a traditional end of year article at TheGamer. In 2021, I wrote 2022 Will Be A Great Year For Gaming. And in 2022, I wrote Okay, This Time I Mean It – 2023 Will Be A Great Year For Video Games. As you can tell from those two headlines, I was not all that impressed with 2022. It was fine, offering the technical advancements of Elden Ring (even if they weren’t to my taste), and the blockbuster smash of God of War Ragnarok (with the same caveat in brackets), but it wasn’t great. I’d previously written that 2021 was a down year for games too, but 2023 broke the streak. 2020 is a bigger challenger to 2023’s greatness than it is given credit for, but 2023 was mathematically the best year in games for two decades. So what does 2024 look like?



I’m not betting the farm on 2024, despite winning my bet on 2023 going big. There’s not that much lined up yet, and little reason to expect another mammoth year, so where does that leave us? 2023 has given 2024 big shoes to fill, and it cannot be judged a failure if its toes don’t stretch to the wingtips. But how gaming follows 2023 could give us an indication of where we go next, and if it’s not a year for the history books, it could at least provide an intriguing entry into the gaming canon.

2024’s confirmed big hitters so far point to a decent year that is destined to be in 2023’s shadow

Of course, sometimes these things surprise you. Baldur’s Gate 3 and Alan Wake 2 are amongst this year’s leading lights, and were not spoken of in breathless tones prior to the year kicking off. In fact, when listing reasons why 2023 could be fantastic, I pulled out a few names: Tears of the Kingdom, Final Fantasy 16, Kill the Justice League, Starfield, Diablo 4, Fire Emblem Engage, Redfall, Stellar Blade, and Street Fighter 6. Not exactly a perfect hit rate.

Stellar Blade and Kill the Justice League were both delayed into 2024, but I and the general population have cooled on them the more we’ve learned, so I don’t think either of those are feathers for 2024’s considerably bare cap. There are some games in there which lived up to expectations, some which fell short, and in the case of Street Fighter 6, perhaps even one that exceeded them. But 2023 was so fantastic because of constant surprise packages, and who’s to say 2024 won’t have them?

Let’s talk about those delays, shall we? 2023 was unexpectedly stacked as several games were bumped back by the pandemic, as well as the disruption caused by console gens changing. While delays are a regular part of gaming, by 2023 the backlog of more-than-average delays caught up with themselves, and 2024 won’t see much knock-on effect. It will be a year with a fairly regular stream of releases, making it more like 2022 – except PlayStation doesn’t seem to have figured out its big hitter, so maybe 2022 minus God of War Ragnarok. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth could be only the fourth GOTY nominee to be released in January, and has a decent chance at being the first to win.

As I’ve already written about recently, indies are the consistent lifeblood of the industry, and whining that 2024 is a write-off just because we don’t have Ghost of Tsushima 2 lined up seems a bit hypocritical. I don’t mind admitting that it is. But there’s a difference between a critic imploring players to look a little wider for their next favourite game and an analyst examining 2024’s calendar and the factors around release schedules and predicting a less impressive year for major new titles, even if that critic and analyst are the same person.

If I can switch up from all this negativity for a moment, Nintendo is playing its cards pretty close to its chest, and a new console with some major launch titles would change the complexion of next year… but it’s unlikely that Animal Crossing, Zelda, Pokemon, Mario, or Fire Emblem will have a mainline game ready for then. That leaves, what, Metroid, Donkey Kong, and Mario Kart? Maybe Luigi’s Mansion? Exciting as a new Switch would be, I’m not sure it’s enough to light up 2024 on its own.

2021 was a consistently small year, with fewer releases and many of them constricted by the pandemic. 2022 was more erratic – its best games were better than 2021’s, but it also offered more major disappointments through Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, Saints Row, and even Nintendo Switch Sports. And 2023, as we know, was great and overstuffed with goodies. It’s unlikely 2024 will be like 2023. But is it empty like 2021, or wayward like 2022? Is it a secret third thing? And will it set the tone for 2025 and beyond. 2024 is the first ‘normal’ year the industry has had since 2020, and given that was a console launch year, maybe the first normal year since 2019. How will it compare to the other years this decade, and how will it shape gaming’s future? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


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