Video Game Odds: E3 Announcements Signal Success?

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Origins
Photo Credit: Ubisoft

The 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is in the books and gamers were left with an extreme case of information overload. As always, the show featured huge announcements and shiny new trailers from the biggest and best gaming companies.

Conference halls full of salivating gamers (68,400 attendees this year) were hanging on every word as developers shook their money-makers at them, hoping to garner buzz for upcoming titles. This year’s announcements may not have been as big as in previous years, but the show most definitely had its surprises.

The big reveal was courtesy of Microsoft, which finally showed off the Xbox One X, or what they used to call “Project Scorpio.” It’s the hootiness, tootiness, fastest console in the west! Will it clean up your room and do your laundry? No. But it’s 4k-ready, super powerful, and goes on sale on November 7th for an obscene amount of money. (US$500. Ouch.)

You would think an announcement like that would garner applause along with oohs and ahhs, but Microsoft’s presentation was a complete disaster.

While everyone was shaking their heads at the lame sell job of the new gaming console, Nintendo kept it simple by showing off the latest Mario offerings coming down the pipe for its new, still-can’t-buy-one-at-any-damn-store Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo also “announced” Metroid Prime, releasing no details whatsoever aside from a nice logo. No worries, there is another Metroid game (Samus Returns) coming for the Nintendo 3DS in September, and Super Mario Odyssey looks crazy-fun and will power jump its way to store shelves on October 27.

Sony didn’t want to be left out in the cold. (That was reserved for the indie developers who were placed in the parking lot.) The big gaming conglomerate absolutely wowed the crowd with their huge title reveals. Call of Duty is going back to basics, and back in time apparently, as the next edition of the popular first-person shooter will take place in World War II.

Sony also announced Star Wars Battlefront II, which will be available this fall. If Jedis aren’t your thing, Spider-Man swung into E3, prompting nerdgasms galore, but it won’t be ready until 2018.

There were many other games announced, some to great fanfare, others to great indifference; but one common theme was a release date of 2018 and the word “exclusive.”

Behind all the glitz and glamor, though, there always lies a game. It doesn’t matter how much makeup you put on them, games will either succeed or fail, from a sales point of view, based on their quality. That’s where we have fun playing our own little game called “chances of success.” Below are some of the big titles announced, along with the odds of these games finding financial success along with the over/under on units sold. Will they turn a profit or turn upside down in failure?

Following that, I set the odds on some longshot indie games to make their creators some bank.


MAJOR-RELEASE GAMING ODDS

Spider-Man

System: PS4
Release Date: First half of 2018

This was teased at last year’s E3. Now it’s safe to assume Sony’s most anticipated game won’t be coming out until 2018. That said, when it does finally swing on over to the PS4, my spidey senses are telling me this will be a massive hit. This was easily one of the best things shown at E3 2017.

Odds to turn a profit: 1/19

O/U on units sold: 8 million


Assassin’s Creed: Origins

System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 27, 2017

There was a time where Assassin’s Creed was a game to look forward to, but over the last couple of years, it feels like the franchise has stalled. Knowing this, Ubisoft decided to give our Assassin heroes a year off in order to regroup, make much-needed improvements to the game graphics, controls, and try and reignite interest in the franchise.

The developers also decided to get the band back together in bringing on the same group responsible for 2014’s well-regarded Black Flag and at this year’s E3 they showcased a trailer for Origins which looks absolutely stunning within the ancient Egyptian backdrop. This is already the most anticipated Assassin’s Creed game in years.

Odds to turn a profit: 3/17

O/U on units sold: 12 million


Age of Empires: Definitive Edition

System: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: Summer 2017

It’s hard to believe that one of the best RTS games ever made for PC is about to celebrate its 20th birthday. As a way to commemorate the anniversary, Microsoft showed off a remastered version of the classic game which will be 4k ready and released upon the world as the Definitive Edition for PC and Xbox One. Since the only way you can play this game currently is via disc on Windows 95, the nostalgia will kick in and gamers will invade and make the remastered version a must play.

Odds to turn a profit: 1/4

O/U on units sold: 5 million


Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 29, 2017

This crossover of Nintendo’s Mario and Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids franchises looks like it could be a lot of fun. The tactical role-playing game has Mario working with the rabbids to close a vortex above the Mushroom Kingdom. It looks slick and accessible and should do extremely well for the Switch.

Odds to turn a profit: 3/7

O/U on units sold: 8 million


Shadow of the Colossus Remake

System: PS4
Release Date: Early 2018

Sony announced that it is remastering one of its most beloved adventure games. Although everything fans loved about the PS2 version will still be there, it appears the game has been completely overhauled in graphics, performance, and overall atmosphere. This was one of the most well-received announcements at this year’s E3 and it should translate to sales when it’s finally released next year.

Odds to turn a profit: 7/13

O/U on units sold: 2 million


Dragon Ball FighterZ

System: Xbox One
Release Date: 2018

Microsoft announced that their new 2D fighting game will be trading blows within the Dragon Ball Z universe. This made fans of the anime lose their minds at E3 2017 because it’s the game they have wanted for years. Now they can take control of Goku, Vegeta or Trunks to name a few and go toe-to-toe with villains like Majin Buu. This will not only do well overseas but should also be popular in North America as well. This could be a big exclusive for Xbox.

Odds to turn a profit: 2/3

O/U on units sold: 3 million


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

System: PSVR, Switch
Release Date: Summer 2017

Bethesda was on fire at E3 with fresh entries in The Evil Within and Dishonored universes, but their one solitary misstep in their showcase ended up being Skyrim. Back 2011 you could play Skyrim on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Just last year there was a Skyrim Special Edition with all the same bells and whistles but remastered visuals that you could now play on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Just when people thought maybe Bethesda would announce a brand new game in the Elder Scrolls lore, they announced a super, uber special, doing it for the third time Skyrim edition, that will be available for Switch, VR, and probably Android and iOS as well. Yawn.

Odds to turn a profit: 9/1

O/U on units sold: 2 million


StarLink: Battle for Atlas:

System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 27, 2017

In what was one of the crazier announcements of E3, Ubisoft surprised everyone with the introduction of a new game that will enter the “Toys-to-life” genre that has been dominated by Skylanders. Many have tried to break into this market, many have failed including Disney Infinity. Somehow Ubisoft feels they might have a way in with their new game StarLink: Battle for Atlas.

In the game, you explore the solar system using ships summoned into the game via physical models that you literally attach to your game controller. The models used are smart and customizable, allowing a player to snap on different parts (wings, weapons etc.) to a base ship.

There have been mixed reviews on this, some like the idea, while others remain skeptical. Right now we have to say based on the history of other companies trying to break into this market, the odds do not favor a win here. I hope we’re wrong because it seems like an interesting concept.

Odds to turn a profit: 25/1

O/U on units sold: 2 million


Knack II

System: PS4
Release Date: September 5, 2017

The first game in the series was quite possibly the worst game ever made. Sorry, 1982’s E.T. So, of course, it made logical sense to make Knack II right? This sequel is going to be haunted by its predecessor’s reputation. It doesn’t matter how Sony tried to shine up this turd, the Knack 2 E3 trailer did nothing to give fans any kind of hope that is needed to want to purchase this game. This will fail badly which will probably mean Knack 3 next year!

Odds to turn a profit: 50/1

O/U on units sold: 1.3 million


INDIE GAMING ODDS

There were so many great games announced that we couldn’t include everything on our list, but I wanted to make sure I sent some love towards the more exciting games from the parking lot where the indie developers were placed. Below are some of the ones we liked along with the odds that it will see positive reviews from gamers and breakthrough to mainstream success.

Star Child: 1/1

System: PSVR
Release Date: TBA

Playstation has the best indie game lineup and, this year, they showed off a VR gem called Star Child. Not much is known about why the traveler is exploring caves and running into giant robots, but the game looks like it could suck you right into the world until mom yells at you to turn it off. Currently, VR games are hit and miss, but when done well, they enhance the experience and add to the demand to purchase the expensive headset. This looks like it has potential to do just that.


Matterfall: 3/2

System: PS4
Release Date: August 15, 2017

This looks like a cross between Castlevania, Metroid, and Resogun all blended together to give us a nonstop pew-pew game. With Nintendo teasing us with new Metroids that we can’t play for a while, this should tide us over until those titles drop. People love to turn their brains off and just shoot s#*t. I expect this one to find some success this summer.


The Last Night: 2/1

System:  Xbox One X, PC
Release Date: TBA

Hey, look, Blade Runner! Okay, not really, but it’s clearly heavily influenced by the 1982 classic. The Last Night is a cyberpunk game set in a dystopian future. If you have an Xbox One S or X, put this on your radar. It has some interesting, futuristic graphics yet still has that artistic, pixelated look. But will looks translate to good sales numbers?


The Last Day of June: 4/1

System: PS4, PC
Release Date: Summer 2017

At first glance, this looks more like a piece of art than an actual game, but wow is it gorgeous. It doesn’t just look good though; Last Day of June features extremely immersive mature storytelling. Early E3 reviews have been positive. Like The Last Night, it’s ultimate success will depend on whether the game-play matches the aesthetics. I expect people will be curious enough to give it a go and it should generate some nice sales numbers via Steam and PS4.


Laser League: 17/3

System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: Summer 2017

We don’t know much about this game, but I dig the Tron-like graphics for this arena fighter and the fact it looks to be a party game that could end families and friendships. Early demo reviews at E3 have been somewhat positive, but will people be drawn to the simplistic graphics and difficult gameplay? If marketed correctly, it could find a niche.