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Xbox delays mean 2022 is now the Nintendo Switch’s year

Nintendo has had quite the year so far, and it’s starting to look like it’ll maintain that momentum through the end of 2022. With the company’s competitors delaying major holiday releases left and right, the runway has been cleared for Nintendo to blow past Sony and Microsoft despite doing so on a five-year-old console.

With Xbox exclusives Starfield and Redfall out of the picture, here’s what the rest of 2022 is looking like for the three big game companies. Nintendo’s clear, loaded release calendar has the company poised to dominate this holiday season.

Nintendo’s big year

Just in the first half of the year, Nintendo has released Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Triangle Strategy, Kirby and the Forgotten Lands, and Nintendo Switch Sports. All of these games have been positively received, so Nintendo is off to a good start already. And it seems like the second half of 2022 is going to be even better. 

Let’s take a look at the rest of Nintendo’s 2022 exclusive lineup.

  • Mario Strikers: Battle League – June 10
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes – June 24
  • Live a Live – July 22
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – July 28
  • Splatoon 3 – September 9
  • Pokemon Scarlet/Violet – fall 2022
  • Bayonetta 3 – TBA 2022

Not to mention, Nintendo’s third-party support has been stellar as well. Rune Factory 5 launched exclusively on Switch in March and the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is a Switch console exclusive.

Even if Pokemon and Bayonetta 3 end up being delayed into 2023, Nintendo still has Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope in its back pocket to fill the fall season. If they aren’t delayed, then Nintendo’s 2022 lineup is even stronger.

Microsoft clears the runway

Nintendo’s main competitors, comparatively, are looking rather dry this year. Just this morning, Bethesda announced that it would be delaying Starfield and Redfall to 2023. The former was set to release on November 11 and the latter sometime this summer. As a result, Xbox’s exclusives schedule seems to be barren for 2022.

Forza Motorsport 8 is presumably coming out later this year, but no official announcement or reveal for it has been made yet. Bethesda’s Deathloop should be coming to Xbox in September as well after PlayStation 5’s timed exclusivity deal expires. But despite Forza’s pedigree, it’s still just “another Forza game.”

Character supposedly from Starfield. / Bethesda

Deathloop, on the other hand, will be at least one year old by the time September rolls around. Most people who wanted to play it probably already have, either on PlayStation 5 or on PC. Xbox was likely relying on Starfield this year since it hasn’t had a big early year or spring game, so this delay hurts even more. 

Speaking of which, Ghostwire: Tokyo launched earlier this year in March. It could have been a great Microsoft exclusive, but like Deathloop, Sony was able to snag a timed exclusivity deal for the PlayStation 5 that doesn’t let up until at least March 2023. In any case, both games will make great additions to Xbox Game Pass when they eventually arrive.

Sony’s mystery schedule

PlayStation is faring a bit better this year compared to Xbox. Horizon Forbidden West launched in February and Gran Turismo 7 followed in March, but beyond that, we don’t know what else is on the horizon (hee-hee). God of War Ragnorok is currently still set to release this year, but at this point, who can be sure? It’s a very real possibility that it’ll get delayed to 2023.

Sony clearly loves its timed console exclusive strategy with third-party publishers, as it has been making those deals with Square Enix too. Forspoken originally was supposed to launch later this month on May 25, but has been delayed to October 11. Interestingly, Forspoken has a quite lengthy exclusivity period on PlayStation 5 of at least two years. 

Main character looking through a portal in Forspoken.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI is a one-year timed exclusive on the console. Square Enix actually hasn’t revealed a release window for the game, but it could still launch in 2022. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Square Enix decides on a 2023 launch instead.

Both games will also launch on PC, with Forspoken coming on launch day in October while Final Fantasy XVI will arrive six months later.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, Nintendo has the most consistent release calendar of games this year. Sure, the Switch will miss some of the bigger third-party releases like Gotham Knights, Saints Row, and The Quarry. But those types of games typically don’t target the Switch audience. Even without hardware-pushing heavy hitters, Nintendo is looking like it’ll run circles around Sony and Microsoft by the end of 2022.

George Yang
George Yang is a freelance games writer for Digital Trends. He has written for places such as IGN, GameSpot, The Washington…
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