Community Review: 2019

Community Review: 2019

It’s been a long, long year. But as it wraps up, all of the major platforms are in a pretty healthy spot looking towards 2020.

There’s an impressive range of options and services wherever you play your games, and all that competition has served to make things relatively cost-effective for now. On PC and Xbox, there’s Xbox Game Pass, which continues to be one of the best deals for gamers today. Apple’s introduction of Apple Arcade has been a good tonic for those upset at the barrage of microtransactions and pay-to-win trash infesting mobile app stores. Sony’s exclusives didn’t land as hard this year as they did in 2018 — Sony had such a good 2018 — but if you were going to buy a console for its interesting games, Sony still has one of the best shouts.

And then there’s the Nintendo Switch and PC, both of which are going through interesting phases of their own. The Switch has better third-party support than ever, but its online features are still sub-par and the eShop is breaking beneath the weight of all those indies and remasters finding a second lease of life on the platform. The PC is enjoying extra competition on multiple fronts, although not all in the right areas, particularly the high-end GPU hardware powering the platform at its best.

The State Of The PlayStation 4 In 2019

PlayStations don’t tend to go quietly at the end of a console generation. The PS2 got God of War II a few months after the PS3 came out. The PS3 got one of its best exclusive games, The Last Of Us, just a few months before the PS4 launched. In 2019, it may have looked like Sony was actually letting the PS4 fade away before the next PlayStation.

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The State Of Xbox One In 2019

Nearing the end of its life, the Xbox One feels less like a box for spinning video game discs and more like a platform for selling digital subscriptions. The pitch of a mostly-digital future that blew up in Microsoft’s face the year the Xbox One launched is now mostly here in 2019 and it’s not terrible.

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The State Of The Nintendo Switch In 2019

2019 was the year of the Switch.

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The State Of PC Gaming In 2019

Sometimes, as borders erode, new fissures form in their wake. In 2019, more games flowed between PC and other platforms than ever before, but a single major division cracked the PC gaming landscape in half.

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The State Of Console Gaming In 2019

2019 is coming to a close, and there’s a wave of new consoles on the horizon. Along with the looming future of game streaming, 2020 is looking good for gaming. We’ve already outlined the state of the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and the Nintendo Switch, so we decided to add a video to the mix.

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For me, this year has been characterised by a lot of surprises. There’s no one game that has carried through the year that I’d probably still be playing in years past, but there are plenty that sucked up hundreds of hours of my time. I lost my partner to Fire Emblem: Three Houses for a month straight. Apex Legends came out of absolutely nowhere and absolutely smashed. The Witcher 3 had no right being as good as it was on the Switch, and then there’s Cricket 19.

I can’t mention games of the year without talking about cricket.

Why I've Spent Almost 400 Hours Playing A Cricket Game

383 hours. It's more time than most people put into any video game in a year. It's more time than most put into any video game ever. And it's definitely more than most would consider sane for playing the virtual version of a sport that's akin to watching paint dry. Let me explain my obsession with cricket.

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Live service games have been a mixed bag: Borderlands 3 and The Division 2 did well enough, but Halo: Reach launched with bugs that have been persisting for ages. Ghost Recon Breakpoint is being completely retooled, and what more can really be said about Anthem?

Ubisoft Admits Ghost Recon Breakpoint Has Been A Disaster

During an earnings call Thursday, Ubisoft gave investors a brutally frank appraisal of Ghost Recon Breakpoint, its latest release and vowed to implement “significant changes to our production processes” to fix the game.

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There’s the ongoing battle between the platforms: Epic and Steam, Amazon and other brick-and-mortar retailers, Xbox and PlayStation, Nintendo continuing to carve out their niche, Apple and Google’s subscription models. The constant fight has been a bit messy at times: the complaints about Epic exclusives ring just as loud now as they did when Metro Exodus was pulled from Steam, even though the end impact on sales – and the developers involved – is very different.

As a whole, how would you rate 2019 – as a year in the current console generation, compared against other years in the decade, and on the whole?


  • I think the launch of Apple Arcade is the biggest gaming-related event of the year. That’s probably not something that seems obvious right now, but as it grows over the next few years, it’ll be more and more seen as a significant turning point in mobile gaming.

    Otherwise I think this year was a step back from 2018 in terms of overall quality. It definitely feels like we’re in the wind-down phase for PS4 and XBone, and that has a flow-on effect for PC gaming and Switch as well.

    On the other hand, 2019 is the year Shenmue III came out, which makes it a special year by default.

      • Novelty has worn off in what way? They’re bigger than ever, and so is mobile gaming. If anything, people are prepared to pay a higher premium on mobile now (for apps, not necessarily the phones).

        • Phones are just so common these days. The days of people upgrading to a decent phone and having an option of almost infinite games to play that they never could before. That is the novelty that seems to have worn off. Most people I know seem to be like this, but of course, that is only anecdotal.

          If it’s still growing like crazy, then my experience is not the normal. I’d rather devote time to something objectively better. Mobile games have been relegated to toilet time wasters.

          • That’s like saying PC gaming is dead because we stopped upgrading CPUs and GPUs every 12 months just to play new titles at something other than 640×480.

            Phones have finally reached that point where the yearly upgrade cycle has been broken, but that’s unrelated to software development. I just suspect you’re just not the target market. They’re never going to release ‘serious’ or ‘hardcore’ games (to borrow a shitty term) like they do on consoles or PCs (outside of some novelties), but they definitely have their market.

            ‘Objectively better’ is pretty condescending – almost all games are basically time wasting entertainment, and I’m sure some of what you play I’d consider ‘inferior’ to what I play. Likewise my wife doesn’t think Doom or Fallen Order or whatever else I’m playing is ‘objectively better’ than whatever she’s playing on her phone – but it’s entertainment, who the fuck cares?

    • Really?? I tried the 7 day trial and could not find a single game worth sticking with Apple Arcade.
      with Xbox Game Pass, Humble, etc, Apple Arcade was not a new concept.

      But having said that, I’m not into retro gaming and mobile games are all the same thing just re-skinned over and over again – imho.

      • I think saying “mobile games are all the same thing just reskinned over and over again” is selling a lot of really talented mobile developers incredibly short. While there’s way too much garbage in the mobile gaming space, there’s also a lot of genuinely great stuff worth checking out.

        Apple Arcade may just seem like “Game Pass for mobiles”, but, uh, yeah that’s actually a pretty important concept. Removing microtransactions from the equation (Arcade games are required to not have in-app purchases) means that when you download a game on the service, you get the game you wanted.

        There’s also definitely quite a few games worth sticking with, I think. I’d recommend these games to get you started:

        – Sayonara Wild Hearts (a legit GOTY contender for sure)
        – Oceanhorn 2 (A really good adventure game with a strong Zelda influence)
        – Projection (a visually stunning platformer made right here in Australia)
        – Grindstone (one of the best mobile puzzlers in years)
        – Manifold Garden (A twisty first-person adventure game with very nice visuals)
        – Mini Motorways (literally the most addictive game I’ve ever played)
        – Cat Quest II (the sequel to Cat Quest)

        Definitely take a look at those games if you haven’t already, as they’re all well worth your time. (Also fun fact: You can hook a PS4 or XBone controller up to an iPhone or iPad now, which makes a lot of these games much more playable.)

  • Personally I’ve bought into less games in the last year just because of what is being done in general (overpricing, add-ons, over-priced season passes, badly converted between PC/console, no newer games for series). And of couse on top of what is in general related to gaming there is also all the subs you require to get access to decent TV + movies.

  • In general I found 2019 really underwhelming. It was full of remakes/remasters/re-releases. Not a great deal of original IP – full of mobile and “arcade” style games that feel like the same thing re-skinned and relaunched over and over.
    I can’t think of the last AAA game that was really unique – maybe other than Death Stranding which I found tedious – unique and intriguing – but tedious.

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