Jeuxvideo.com is the most-visited French-language gaming webzine, the site of reference for enthusiasts of all stripes. The editorial staff reviews new releases, breaks down trends, tests products, and offers loads of rankings and video. Four of them took time out of their busy days to answer our questions and help us compile a Best Of 2016!
Orange Pop: In a scant two months, Pokemon Go was downloaded 500 million times in over 100 countries. The craze kindled by this new off-the-couch-and-into-the-world style of gaming has tapered off in recent weeks, so the question is: was this a summer flash-in-the-pan or a game-changing innovation in entertainment?
Julien Rateau, mobile project manager: Pokemon Go is a bonafide planetary phenomenon that took the game out of the console and put it in the real world. You go out and chase those critters in the streets, around your park, everywhere. It really took off during the summer, the July release of Niantic Labs magnifying the global trend. Restricting availability only fanned curiosity around the world to the point where almost everybody downloaded Pokemon GO. Despite the predicted decrease, its popularity continues. PoGO, version 2.0, is set to relaunch the planet. Tough to say after a mere 5 months if it’s here to stay or on the wane: optimists and pessimists abound.
O. Pop: With tens of millions of athletes worldwide and their numbers growing daily, eSports are gaining in notoriety and even going professional. The sums at stake are skyrocketing and investors are pouring money into promoting competitions with global audiences. Many, like NBA player and eSports maverick Rick Fox (Echo Fox), think that eSports are going to “become one of the four major sports in the United States.” Why?
François Aymes, eSport journalist: In recent years, eSports have experienced exponential growth because the serious gaming studios are behind them now. League of Legends has generated huge revenues, as have competitions by Riot Games, Blizzard and Valve, encouraging many more developers to hop onboard. With deep pockets and massive audiences, eSports are attracting more and more investment. With the backing of a connected generation, electronic games may well just become as popular as basketball in a matter of years, though its success will surely be measured differently. After all, most of its profits are internet driven, generated and collected.
O. Pop: A virtual reality revolution was predicted for 2016 but didn’t happen. Why? Are the major studios ready and are they willing to open up this new sector?
Yohan Bensemhoun, virtual reality journalist: Indeed 2016 was to be the global VR revolution. The tech is ready and the fans are thirsty for it, but the price tag is prohibitive. With a PS4 starting at €530, it’s still for the 1%. Gamers hoping for the VR experience for under €400 are still waiting, but developers are betting on it and developing the tech. The revolution is coming, it’s just dragging its heels.
O. Pop: What were the major trends (virtual universes, plot lines, and game decors) that emerged in 2016’s crop of video games? And why so?
Yohan Bensemhoun: Drawing big trends from the rich field of video games is no easy feat. Globally in 2016, open world games seem to have a bright future with the magnificent Dark Souls 3, the very good Watch Dogs 2 and the excellent DLC Blood and Wine by The Witcher 3. And 2016 remained a winner for classic football video games like PES and FIFA. First-person shooter games are dominated by CoD, Battlefield and Titanfall. Between console tech innovations, PCs and traditional games going for face-lifts, two sectors stood out: mobile gaming has come of age (Pokemon GO, and the excellent Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Blazing and Final Fantasy, Brave Exvius and Mobius Final Fantasy), and the fledgling success of virtual reality on four brand headsets.
O. Pop: Finally, your Top 5 games for 2016 (all categories)?
Frédéric Goyon, editor-in-chief: This year, the editorial staff is unveiling Best Game 2016 rankings in a special show called “Pixels d’Or“. For Best Game of the Year, there are 3 nominations: Dark Souls III, Dishonored 2 and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. If we were to add two games, they’d be Forza Horizon 3 and Inside, and that would get us up to a Top 5:
- Dark Souls III(PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Dishonored 2(PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Forza Horizon 3(Xbox One, PC)
- Inside (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
- Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End(PS4)
Julien Rateau alias Silent_Jay, François Aymes, Yohan Bensemhoun , Frédéric Goyon