What is Each Major Company Facing in 2023?
Let me preface all of this by saying I’m somewhat skeptical of tarot cards. I don’t dislike the idea of tarot cards at all (or else I wouldn’t be using them). I just find them as something fun to think about. I’m not telling you to accept them as 100% fact. I don’t even fully believe it myself. But I think what I got were believable predictions at the least. So I’ll give it that.
Growing up around a lot of old-fashioned Hispanic culture in my local neighborhoods, I was exposed to a lot of the supernatural aspects of it. It always fascinated me. I’d say I’m 100% not a believer in mediums who talk to spirits. However, I do believe in psychics, but on very rare occasions. You’ll only strike some belief in me if what you’re saying ends up being true with a certain degree of accuracy.
My first tarot deck that I’m using here is a theme deck based around the Fallout franchise. I figured my early readings should be about gaming if I’m used a gaming IP-themed deck.
We’re not here to debate about whether tarot cards, psychics, mediums, or etc. are actually accurate. I did a reading on each of the major companies in the gaming industry for 2023 with little to no prior experience reading tarot, and this is what I ended up going. So, enjoy.
We’ll start with the Big 3 of the industry first — Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation.
For Nintendo, there was a large amount of pulls regarding trying new things. And that’s not a real surprise when it comes to Nintendo. They’re no stranger to trying new things out of the blue if they feel like it’ll work. I mean, even the Nintendo Switch itself is a pretty new idea. A hybrid handheld and home console was unthinkable when I was younger, that was for sure. Of course, we know Nintendo’s unique ideas don’t always pan out and end up being more gimmicky than anything.
The most recent example I could think of was Nintendo Labo, which just went under the radar after a while. I don’t know about you, but if you told me Labo got discontinued, I’d believe you. I haven’t seen anything regarding Labo since about 2020 at the most recent, and that might be pushing it a bit.
I bring Labo up because the cards read out to me that one of these new things Nintendo is trying, or perhaps a singular thing, is not going to go over well with the general public. I’m not sure what this could be, but one of my better guesses would be a new Switch model that is not the long-desired Switch Pro people have been asking for. If these pulls are in regards to another Switch model, it’d be something akin to the OLED that will disappoint people. Another guess I’d make of what this could be is something similar to Nintendo Labo, where it’s more so gimmicky rather than innovative in a way. Regardless, I get the sense that Nintendo will genuinely believe putting out this product is the right move, so they’re going to go through with it no matter what people think.
A minor thought but I see Nintendo staying non-committal to these new things that they’re trying out. They won’t be afraid to drop things if they’re just not working.
I was curious, so I did a minor reading on the Switch Pro. What’s the deal with that? I really want to know. In reality, what I pulled is about what I expected. Nintendo’s higher-ups don’t really see the point of a Switch Pro. They’re in a good financial position and sell tons of consoles. So what’s the point? There’s no real reason for a Switch Pro in their eyes.
To clarify, that’s what I see Nintendo thinking. Do I think they should release a Switch Pro? Absolutely. Nintendo doesn’t see the point of it though in their current position.
Above all, I also saw Nintendo’s games being very successful financially this year. No real surprise there, Nintendo’s games always do well — especially with Breath of the Wild releasing soon.
I want to add one more thing at the bottom here because it got my skeptic eye awakened, and I didn’t really believe what I was pulling. But I’m going to tell you guys anyway: I got pulls about financial troubles for Nintendo. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense with what I pulled above, but I saw financial troubles so bad that they may need a third-party to bail them out. Now, this doesn’t have to mean Nintendo as a company per-say. It could be a game. Perhaps one of their titles will have a bad launch and they’ll need a third-party to handle it. Or a third-party exclusive will end up bombing? Something along those lines, perhaps, but I’d take this with a grain of salt because I don’t particularly believe it myself.
Next was Xbox, probably my favorite of the Big 3 at the moment personally. I through any bias out of the window before reading, of course, and you’ll see that in what my pulls ended up showing below.
The literal first two cards I pulled in regards to Xbox related to the worst being over. We know 2022 wasn’t a good year at all for Xbox due to how barren it was of first-party releases. Without a doubt, 2023 will be a much better year for Xbox. Especially since they actually have third-party releases to put out.
Obviously there’s a lot of questions about the Activision deal and I got pulls on that, of course. I do think it will happen, but I also think Microsoft will be forced to give concessions in order for the deal to go through.
Xbox has had some trouble with disorganization being an issue and this reading expressed that it’ll still be a problem, perhaps more so. With Xbox taking all of Activision’s studios under their wing, this is unsurprising. I felt that the Activision acquisition will provide such a headache for Xbox that they may question if it was even worth it in the first place. It’ll be a lot for Microsoft to take on in the short-term, but I believe in the long-term they’ll realize it was a worthy investment.
I also latched onto some pulls and energy that is likely regarding one of their first-party studios. This studio will likely hit a big milestone in the game they’re working on, but will suffer from internal tensions and creative differences. The internal issues are something this studio will try to move past, but they’ll be significant enough that some higher-up may have to step in to control it, especially since I pulled The Emperor in regards to this situation.
That’s all I saw for Xbox. I think they’ll have a good 2023 despite some growing pains from both the Activision acquisition and their hands-off approach to their first-party studios.
As a little bonus, I read something separate that is very near and dear to my heart: “Where the hell is the Fallout 3 remaster, Bethesda?!”
With this reading I just got that while they have the means and capability to do such a thing, they won’t. Why? Is it laziness? I got a little bit of that, sure. But most of my pulls were… fear. Maybe Bethesda’s just afraid to touch the Fallout IP nowadays after the disaster that was Fallout 76 and how Fallout 4 didn’t quite meet the expectations of many. Unfortunate.
PlayStation is where I got skeptical about this whole tarot thing.
Most of the cards I pulled for PlayStation, at least 90% of them I’d say, were cards relating to lack of motivation, lack of creativity, and indecisiveness. It’s surprising, isn’t it? You’d think PlayStation should be riding high. They had a huge success with God of War Ragnarok, especially at The Game Awards. They also had Horizon: Forbidden West release earlier in 2022. In 2023, we’ll likely see the sequel to Insomniac’s Spider-Man release as well. Sony should not be expressing any of this energy whatsoever… should they?
The only thing I could possibly relate that to are Sony’s first-party developers. We’ve already gotten sequels to many of Sony’s PS4-era exclusives this generation, so what’s next? I feel like many of Sony’s first-party studios are a bit at of a crossroads, and I did pull cards related to making decisions or being at a crossroads. Do they want to pump out more exclusives? Or make new IPs? I wouldn’t really be surprised at all if there’s some indecision leading to lack of motivation or creativity in those studios. It feels like writer’s block. That’s the best I can rationalize it, but that’s simply what I got from my pulls. I’m not positive about all of this but take it with a grain of salt since I’m skeptical to. I’ll just say it’s not impossible for this to be true, but it’s something we wouldn’t really know about publicly unless a big piece from Bloomberg or the like comes out.
Well, regardless about what those developers feel, I pulled The Emperor, which likely represents Jim Ryan to me. I get the feeling that whatever indecision is there will be reigned in by Jim Ryan pointing the finger around and saying, “Hey, studio x does this, studio y does this.” Not unexpected, of course. That’s kind of his job, after all. We’ve heard a little bit about this from Sony Bend, the studio behind Days Gone, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens to other studios as well.
I see this being another successful financial year from PlayStation. I see them hitting another big milestone, likely in PS5 sales numbers. I also think their games will do pretty well, including the Spider-Man sequel coming in Fall 2023.
Lastly, I see Sony’s insistence on protesting the Activision deal coming back to bite them. Perhaps some third-party exclusivity dealings will come out of the woodwork into the public eye during the court proceedings? But I think on Microsoft’s end, I’m getting a very heavy sense of reluctance to work with Sony in the future, more so than they intended to previously. The Activision acquisition, as said above, will be such a headache for Microsoft that they’ll not want to work with Sony on things anymore. It very much gives “Alright, well fuck you then” type of energy. That’s just what the vibe I’m getting feels like.
It’s possible this doesn’t mean Microsoft per-say. It could be another third-party they’ve been working with like Capcom or Square Enix. I see parties being reluctant to work with Sony as much in the future is what I’m trying to say. That doesn’t mean they’ll shun them outright, but what that reads to me is less exclusivity deals in all likelihood.
Despite the above, I also got some pulls around Sony finding their own course and their own path. So even if those third-party exclusivity deals die out, I feel like Sony is going to explore new ventures within its own studios to produce things that continue to make them competitive.
Would anyone be surprised to hear that I pulled cards regarding money while reading EA? Like, even skeptics shouldn’t be that surprised.
This is going to be a bold prediction, but I think Electronic Arts wants to be acquired by someone. Not too surprising, since we’ve heard rumors of this going around for a while, but I think EA really wants to happen. They want to be acquired by someone big? Why? Money, that’s why.
Yep, I didn’t pull a single card related to creativity at all. Getting acquired is purely for financial reasons. EA in its current state just doesn’t have the type of money to sustain itself into the future, at least not well, and being part of a bigger company will give EA financial security that they do desperately desire. Having a bigger company’s endless pocketbook to do what they want will make them feel free. They can do what they want without money really being an issue.
I think EA also sees being acquired as a palette cleanser for their reputation. Will that actually be the case? I don’t think so, but from my reading, I believe that’s the way EA sees it. If they’re owned by a big corporation, they can get away with doing their greedy tactics without damaging their own reputation as much. If EA is acquired and puts microtransactions in a game for example, people will say “Oh yeah that’s shitty, but that’s not EA’s fault, that’s x company making them do that”. That’s the way it reads. Not only do they get the financial security, but this bigger corporation they’ll be under the umbrella of will act as a deflector and take the heat for them. At least in their eyes. We know better than that.
I didn’t see much else other than that for EA. I did see their games being successful this year, which makes me think of Star Wars Jedi Survivor. I think that’ll definitely be a very successful release for EA in 2023.
I did a separate reading on the company acquiring EA. Obviously this corporation feels… soulless. Go figure. But I also pulled The Emperor while reading this. My mind went to Jeff Bezos and Amazon, even though Bezos has a reduced role there now. It doesn’t have to mean Amazon, it just means the corporation in question has this kind of Emperor energy.
However, I also saw that this corporation has had some previous failures when it came to their ventures, likely in the gaming industry. Which makes me think Amazon or Google, since they haven’t really been able to poke through into the gaming industry in the way they want to. Google’s Stadia program flopped pretty hard, while Amazon Luna hasn’t really taken off at all, and neither have their original games.
What stood out to me even more so during this reading on said corporation was how they’re doing impulsive purchases and needless spendings. Whoever this corporation is that is buying EA doesn’t really need EA per-say, is what I’m trying to say. Especially since I got pulls about charity with no return. EA will benefit a ton from being bought out by this company, but the company itself doesn’t really gain a ton from owning EA. You can make your guesses as to which company that is. It could be Disney for all we know. My bet, detached from the reading and from my gut feeling, is on Amazon, though.
Square is my favorite publisher probably, but not for their business practices. I just really love their games. NieR, Octopath Traveler, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy… Yeah, you got me.
I pulled a lot of financial troubles for Square Enix in this reading related to long-term goals. It reads to me that Square Enix is focusing too much on short-term success as opposed to making long-term financial goals for the future. So yes, Final Fantasy XVI and Octopath Traveler II should be pretty successful. However, in the long-term, perhaps post-2023? Square Enix might be in a bit of trouble financially.
Now this isn’t all doom and gloom for Square, don’t worry. I see something changing in Square’s approach. Whether this is a change in leadership, a change in mindset, or even an acquisition, Square Enix is going to right the ship. They’re going to figure out whatever financial woes come their way and fight through it. I see Square Enix taking a lot of notes out of other publishers on how they should run their business going forward as well. Perhaps they’ll even look to western publishers and use them as a model of their newfound approach to have more financial stability.
That was all I saw for Square, but I did a bonus reading here for Kingdom Hearts IV, purely because I’m a big fan of the series and I was super curious.
I got a lot of disappointment and discomfort within the workplace in regards to Kingdom Hearts IV. I pulled a King of Swords reversed as well, which is essentially a loose-cannon almost, or someone very dominating. When I think loose cannon, I think about Nomura, of course, for how bonkers Kingdom Hearts can be, but the dominating presence could very well be Square Enix’s higher-ups.
This reading was probably the most straight-forward to me out all of them. I think Square Enix’s higher-ups (our reversed King of Swords) are going to put pressure on Nomura to get Kingdom Hearts IV out of the door (possibly even due to the financial woes we mentioned above), causing disappointment and discomfort in the workplace. With crunch being such a big issue in the gaming industry nowadays, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Square Enix’s pressuring results in. It could perhaps just be continued pressure from Square to speed up the development time so there isn’t as big of a gap between games as there was between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III. It could be Square Enix not being happy with the creative direction of the game as well. If I had to give my best bet… crunch is such a big issue nowadays that I really wouldn’t be surprised if that is what it’s pointing to.
However, I did pull a King of Cups, which I believe represents Nomura. I think regardless of whatever pressure Square Enix puts on Nomura and the Kingdom Hearts IV team, he’ll figure it out and reign things in. The last cards in the reading painted a much more positive light on Kingdom Hearts IV, so I think they’ll figure it out despite some development issues and crunch.
In stark contrast to Square Enix, I don’t like Ubisoft whatsoever, so I’m happy to get this over with.
So Ubisoft’s reading got pretty heavy since it went in a direction I didn’t exactly expect. I was expecting to get stuff about an acquisition, about their games, or something like that. It got heavier than I expected it too, and I’ll admit, even though I’m not fully a believer in tarot just yet, I felt genuinely uncomfortable doing this reading.
I’ll put it simply — I feel like those misconduct allegations about Ubisoft will come to light again. Ubisoft can’t just brush those under the rug because they will come back to bite them soon. I saw a lot of negative energy and pulls around the workplace and a desire for respect. A lot of the people at Ubisoft aren’t getting the respect they deserve, and it’s showing up in the reading here. I really feel these allegations Ubisoft received will blow up in 2023, perhaps not to the level Activision did previously, but to the extent where Ubisoft can’t ignore it any longer.
What it mostly reads to me, especially since I pulled the Justice card, is that Ubisoft will have to be forced to right some of their wrongs. I think plenty of the things going on beyond the scenes will end up being exposed if and when these people at Ubisoft decide to speak up. My reading on Ubisoft ended with a Queen of Swords, which feels like a type of person who will really lead the charge on exposing Ubisoft, and isn’t the type of person who will sugarcoat what’s actually been going on behind the scenes. Whoever this Queen of Sword is, they’re going to come out swinging at Ubisoft and may even be responsible for the story getting mainstream attention again.
That’s all I got on Ubisoft, but I am encouraging anyone who works at the company and isn’t comfortable with it to come out and expose what you know. There is nothing wrong with doing so, and if what the reading portrayed is true, you’ll be justified and vindicated for speaking up.
Lastly was Take-Two. I love a lot of Take-Two IPs: BioShock, Civilization, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Borderlands… I even like NBA 2K, when it comes to the offline modes at the least!
Take-Two was probably the most straightforward reading I did actually. I got a clear picture of financial troubles for Take-Two. Maybe not heavy financial troubles, but enough that they’ll have to address it.
Unlike any of the above publishers though, the financial troubles Take-Two will endure seem to be their own fault. I got several pulls about self-sabotage here, and overindulgence. Take-Two is going to realize that they’ve been pouring too much money into unnecessary projects. I see some stubbornness from Take-Two about this, however. Where Take-Two won’t really see their over-spending on projects as an issue until it really hits them, and it’s put into perspective how much of a loss they’re actually taking by putting money into so many projects. It’ll be something they’ll be forced to address even if they just want to stay the course and do what they’ve been doing.
As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Take-Two delay or even outright cancel some of their projects. I don’t think anything major like Grand Theft Auto VI will see a delay because of this, but smaller scale projects will be at risk of getting the plug pulled by Take-Two for sure.
A friend of mine pointed out that Civilization VII might be seeing some delays internally. Firaxis did just put out Marvel’s Midnight Suns to mixed reviews, but of course, we’re all expecting the next entry in the Civilization franchise to come at some point. So it was surprising to see Firaxis announce their recent Leader Pass — a season pass filled with alternate Leaders for existing Civs in the game already. This type of contact is low-effort and low-budget. In fact, many fans of the game criticized the first of these series of packs for being low-effort when it came to the abilities the Leaders sported, calling them lazy or uncreative. For those not in the know — making an alternate Leader for a Civ in Civilization VI is not really that hard if you’re familiar with how to use Lua and SQL. All you really need to do to make a new Leader is artwork, alongside the coding for the new Leader’s ability and personality. That’s all, really. What Firaxis is doing isn’t particular far above beyond what modders are capable of at all. In fact, the only thing distinguishing the Leader Pass from Firaxis from modders are the animations and voice acting done for these Leaders, both of which prove difficult for modders.
Apologies, I’ve gone into a bit of a tangent there. My point is, it feels like Firaxis is buying time for something, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that reason is because Civilization VII is taking longer than they thought it would in development. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more public information about delays for other Take-Two titles.
Just as a little bonus to top things off, I’m doing a reading on Grand Theft Auto VI. Just a 12-card pull total at the most. I’m sure you’re as curious as I am.
I saw Rockstar sticking to what they know best, and that’s no real surprise. I’m sure Grand Theft Auto VI will be as satirical as ever. I know there’s some concerns about Rockstar being more politically correct, but this tells me that Rockstar being PC isn’t a concern at all. They’re going to do what’s worked in the past and it’s going to end up great from what I can tell. It could be related to the gameplay as well. I know Rockstar’s had some criticism about their gameplay being kinda stagnant or stale. I’ve never really agreed with those complaints and always found them really unfounded. But it could be something related to that if that is a complaint for you with Rockstar’s games, because sticking to what works tells me that they’re not going to change much.
Interestingly, I pulled The Lovers card upright in regards to Grand Theft Auto VI. We’ve heard rumors that Grand Theft Auto VI is likely going to be a Bonnie and Clyde type of storyline, so pulling The Lovers card made me raise my eyebrows a bit and feel like those rumors might be true. From the leaks we saw both a male and female protagonist as well, so there’s some more credence to the rumor from that too. The Lovers card can also just mean the relationship between Rockstar and Take-Two, really. Rockstar’s definitely their most important subsidiary by far, so it wouldn’t be surprise me if they have a good relationship.
The last few cards made me a bit sad, because it related to the developers. I think they were really disheartened about the game being leaked. From what we’ve heard via rumors, that seems to be true. I really feel for those devs, but from the pulls I’ve gotten here, I think they’re going to pull through. One of my final cards was The Wheel of Fortune, reversed, which tends to mean that misfortunes have occurred due to external influences that the subject can’t exactly control. And that just screams the leaks to me, and I do hope the developers are able to move past it and deliver something great for us in Grand Theft Auto VI.
I gotta admit. I’m having a lot of fun reading Tarot.
I don’t know if I’m 100% a believer yet. Maybe if some of these predictions end up coming true I will be, but for now, I purely am into it for the fun of it. I think what I find fun about it is that it’s kind of like a puzzle? You have a reading that becomes clearer and clearer the more you pull cards. Each of the cards you pull is another piece to solving the puzzle, which is the reading you get.
So will I keep pulling tarot? Yes, absolutely. Will any of these predictions come true? Well, I guess we’ll just have to find out in 2023.
Happy New Year! Best wishes in 2023!