After referencing my last batch of bold predictions a couple weeks ago, I was both praised for my amazing foresight and derided for making obvious predictions that anyone could have called. Well guess what boys and girls? You didn't and I did. That makes me the bold knight, galloping into the future and you the scared little squire, hiding behind a rock and making catcalls. Maybe this year some of you heckling from the cheap seats will step up and make your own predictions. We'll see who gets to wear the funny hat when the dust clears on 2007. My first prediction? It will be me.
- The PS3 price will drop faster than the PS2 did in North America. Even sooner in Japan. A $50 price drop on both models by the end of the year.
- The Xbox 360 will refresh the premium model with a larger hard-drive and new ports. Two SKUs will continue in the market. The "core" pack will remain without a hard-drive or HDMI port as Microsoft pushes the price for entry to the Xbox 360 lower. No price drops this year, expect more value-add bundles.
- The Nintendo Wii will continue to sell well and gain ground on the Xbox 360 sale numbers, coming within 1 million by the end of the year. Game releases will trickle through to March with the new Metroid leading the second wave of AAA releases. Mario Galaxies will come out around Christmas. No price drops or new models of the Wii will happen this year.
- Windows Vista will be essential for gamers by next Christmas. PC game stability will improve and graphics capabilities will surpass the console by the end of the year.
- Supreme Commander (PC) will gain critical praise from RTS fans and remind us how poor the market for hardcore RTS games is. Command and Conquer 3 (PC, 360) will do much, much better thanks to a more casual approach and KANE.
- Master Chief will not remove his helmet in Halo 3. If he does, you still won't see his face.
- The Vanguard launch will be a catastrophe, adding to the stable of games SOE has destroyed with crappy launches before they even get a chance to gain an audience.
- The PS3 will suffer from a weak release list until March, redeeming itself with an aggressive push for large, downloadable games. Tekken 5 and Gran Turismo HD are just the beginning.
- There will be a PSP refresh this year, much like the DS Lite. UMD support will remain, but a built-in hard-drive will drive users toward downloaded software straight to the PSP -- without needing a PS3 or PC to facilitate the transfer. The form factor will shrink, the screen will support touch functionality and battery life will improve.
- Age of Conan will bring the MMORPG genre as close to "3rd generation design" as we've seen so far. It will be a system hog and the single player mode will fall short of what we expect from Funcom, but it will gain a profitable following.
- Guitar Hero will not move systems for the Xbox 360 like it does the PS2. Excitement and sales surrounding the series will cool on all systems.
- Grand Theft Auto IV will be delayed until next year. A rare occurrence for Rockstar.
- Metal Gear Solid IV will rock your socks "… on the PS3 first with the Xbox 360 following six months later.
- Crysis will look good, but the gameplay will come up short after four hours.
- Alan Wake? Not this year.
- Video game conventions will sprout like mushrooms, spreading fan attention thin and leaving the big companies doing their own events. Smaller publishers and developers will look for more online momentum than ever before.
- Sony will lean on the PS2 with a stronger release list than expected this year as the PS3 gains traction. The PS3 will remain locked in 3rd through to 2008.
- Bill Harris will be hired as an image consultant for Sony, but only because they beat Electronic Arts to the punch.
We'll dig up the time capsule late this year to revel in my brilliance. Got any predictions of your own? Now is the time to sound off! I'll get the shovel.