Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
Despite a promising start, 2021 hasn’t quite lived up to its gaming potential in many ways. Next-generation hardware is still impossible to find, highly anticipated games were delayed even further into the future, and many of the big names that did launch were either disappointing or buggy (or both). But we are hopeful for next year. It could be the year when we finally break out of the pandemic silence and move into a bright new next-gen future. With that in mind, here’s a short wish list of what we want to see from gaming in 2022.
Ubiquitous access to next-generation hardware
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
Let’s start with the elephant in the room address: hardware. Right now, it’s been over a year since the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles launched, and they’re still constantly out of stock at just about every retailer around the world. For PC gamers, the same goes for graphics cards, with entire shipments consumed by crypto miners and speculators.
Availability should improve by mid-2022, at least for next-gen consoles. And it’s time.
As great as upcoming games look in 2022 (and there are real bangers out there), without new hardware it will be difficult to penetrate the next generation of games. Obviously, global chip shortages are affecting all businesses, not just Microsoft and Sony, but given how long these consoles have been in development (and how long they’ve been out at this point), we should see some improvements.
We hope things look better by mid-2022, at least on the front of the console. PC hardware will probably take longer, but a recent report indicates that Nvidia expects to increase production revenues by the end of 2022. Legislation banning the bots that use scalpers to buy consoles and graphics cards once they’re out of stock could also make some headway in 2022, at least in the UK.
Cloud gaming is going mainstream
Cloud gaming is here! And has been here for a few years.
But 2021 did offer some blueprints for mass-market success in the cloud gaming space. The first relates to the above point, which is the lack of hardware availability. Earlier this year, GeForce Now launched a new “RTX 3080” plan that offers ray tracing and up to 1440p 120fps streaming. That kind of PC performance will cost you an arm and a leg in today’s hyper-bloated graphics card market.
Also read: Google Stadia vs GeForce now
It’s a similar story with storage space on consoles, with game sizes bulging and conservative base storage amounts on cheaper consoles like the Xbox Series S. That console only comes with a measly 364GB free and the cheapest expansion card. costs a whopping $140 for only 512GB.
Another possible route to success in cloud gaming is demos and free weekends. Both have been around for ages, but moving them to the cloud significantly reduces friction. With the Stadia backend (which is still the best performer) moving to a white label service, we saw more publishers launching their own cloud services for their own game libraries.
And when that happens, the ease of access will allow cloud gaming to finally overcome its stigma and take its rightful place alongside consoles and PCs.
More (good) TV and movie adaptations
Movies and TV shows based on video games were pretty awful in the past, but in recent years it’s really turned around.
Next year and beyond we’ll have the aforementioned Sonic sequel, an Uncharted movie, an animated Super Mario Bros movie (it couldn’t be worse than 1993’s Fever Dream of a Movie), a Tomb Raider sequel and movies based on The Division, Splinter Cell, and other well-known franchises. We also have the much-hyped The Last of Us series on HBO to look forward to.
So basically we’d like to see studios stick with it. Stay true enough to the source material that fans are happy, but don’t give in to gamers so much that it turns into an incomprehensible mess (I’m watching you, Doom movie).
Renewed Sony PlayStation subscriptions
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
One thing that became abundantly clear in 2021 is that Microsoft is onto something with Xbox Game Pass. The huge library of games that includes all the first-party releases and several others on day one is just too good to pass up. The value is even better with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which also includes Xbox Live Gold, PC Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Sony, on the other hand, is woefully behind the curve. There are two pseudo Game Pass libraries, the first included in PlayStation Plus and called PS Plus Collection. However, it is only for PlayStation 5 owners and only contains a handful of games. The other library, which comes with PlayStation Now, is much larger, but doesn’t contain many new games.
The good news is that changes seem to be on the way. A recent scoop from industry insider Jason Schreier has unveiled a new three-tier subscription service, expected to launch in Spring 2022. The top tier includes online play, a small catalog of PS4 and PS5 games, and a larger library of classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games.
If this is true and Sony manages to fix the prices and features, it could finally compete with Microsoft’s subscriptions. But that is quite a task.
More portable gaming devices
2021 was (almost) the year of the Steam Deck, and despite a delay to early 2022, it still has a lot of potential to bring PC gaming to a portable form factor. The continued success of the Nintendo Switch, which is currently horribly underpowered compared to its competitors, even after the OLED refurbishment, proves that there’s a market for this, and we’d love to see it tapped into.
Sure, there are other portable PC devices, but they’re expensive and overly niche. With the power of Steam behind this new device, it could usher in a new wave of wearables. Or it can wash away with the tide, like its steam engines.
We still expect mobile gaming to dominate the market, but it would be nice to have options.
But that’s not the only new wearable on the horizon! The long-awaited Analog pocket you can play all your retro Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance cartridges and other classic handheld systems like the Game Gear with adapters. There’s also the cute (if impractical) date, which is designed to play an ever-changing catalog of indie games.
Regardless of the details, we really want to see more devices designed primarily for gaming on the go. We still expect mobile games to grow and thrive in 2022, but it would be nice to have more options. A portable Xbox or a modern PlayStation handheld? Yes please.
What would you like to see from gaming in 2022? Vote below or leave your own original ideas in the comments below.
What do you want to see from gaming in 2022?