Bold Predictions 2009

As writers in the game industry, we spend most of our time looking at what has already happened and taking to it with hammer and tongs. But once a year on Gamers With Jobs, we like to put on our funny hats and predict what will happen in the upcoming year in gaming -- putting our reputations on the line and potentially angering publishers in the process. How did we do in 2008? See for yourself. Read on for our Bold Predictions and feel free to add your own!

What's that? You want a taste of my predictive genius? Brace yourself!

- Alan Wake? Yes. Finally.

Bam!

Shawn "Certis" Andrich

- Due to the struggling economy, game journalists everywhere will be so grateful that AAA games even exist that they will reach new heights in salad tossing. Game review scores will average higher than usual.

- Nintendo will take the next step in the development of their brand, selling software and peripherals targeted directly at schools, hospitals and community groups.

- Microsoft will succumb to the siren call that is Steam. Unfortunately, they won’t have many new PC games to add to the library. GFW will continue to lurch along.

- Sony will refresh and re-launch the PS3. A new, lower-priced unit with fewer added features and a fresh focus on Home will set the tone as Sony tries to keep the PS3 in line with cheaper Blu-ray players. It will take on a smaller form factor and a less ostentatious gloss.

- Three major AAA game projects will be canceled. Rockstar’s L.A Noire will be one of them.

- Much like last year being all about sequels, this year will be all about new franchises geared toward sustainable, ongoing development. Microtransactions, expansions, download packs and ad-supported free play will be strong on the PC and more prevalent than ever on consoles.

- Duke Nukem Forever will be released this year.

Michael "Zonk" Zenke

- Age of Conan is in for a rough ride.

- Warhammer's numbers will gain some serious pickup starting in Spring.

- SOE's Free Realms is going to be a really, really big deal.

- None of the following games will be released this year: Champions, The Old Republic, The Agency, DC Universe Online, Star Trek Online, Lego Universe, Stargate Worlds.

- Jumpgate Evolution will release this year, and faces big challenges in informing players about its hawtness. NetDevil has a great product on their hands, they just have to get the word out.

- Microtransactions 'won' in 08. Expect a lot of pro-MT announcements in 09' as other companies fall in line.

- Free-to-play MMOs are going to be big headlines this year, especially titles launched in 08' to little fan fair and developed overseas. They're making huge headway in the US.

- There will be no new WoW expansion released in 2009.

Julian "rabbit" Murdoch

- iPhone game numbers become available, and the top games are revealed to be selling as well as average PSP games.

- Browser-based and free-to-play games (MMOs especially) become legitimate and financially viable.

- Lego Rock Band is officially announced.

- A new, high-polish print magazine is announced (likely by Future). Despite wanting it to succeed, Rabbit will still submit articles for consideration.

- Several high-profile yet unaffiliated gaming websites will merge.

- Valve will drop a surprise game on unsuspecting gamers.

- Brutal Legend will ship, and sell OK. A separate soundtrack will be released, that will sell very well.

- PC game DRM will start eroding, with companies adopting a "frequent content" model, or just giving up and joining Steam.

- In a budget move, the D&D Online Tabletop will be canceled, as will Magic: the Gathering Online.

- LittleBigPlanet will have a surprisingly consistent year, as frequent, game-themed content packs draw new fanbases to the platform.

- PlayStation Home will be canceled.

Colleen "momgamer" Hannon

- Duke Nukem' Forever will slip yet again.

- Final Fantasy XIII will slip several times before shipping to much hype and fanfare right before Christmas.

- Nintendo will continue to prove they're the only company in gaming who can manage to pick manure up from the clean end by continuing to ship quirky niche games at irregular and infrequent intervals and still making money hand over fist.

- Peter Moore will open his yap and insert foot to the knee again.

Cory "Demiurge" Banks

- This will be the year Guitar Hero-style rhythm games will lose their audience. Too many GH titles and not enough changes in Rock Band, along with other companies jumping on the bandwagon, initial cost of bundles, and too many plastic instruments, will drive consumers away.

- Lego Rock Band will never happen.

- Diablo 3 will ship before Starcraft 2.

- Mac gaming will finally start to gain some ground as developers follow EA's lead and start porting with Cider. More companies will launch simultaneously on OS X and Windows. Valve will not, and will continue to mock Mac "gamers."

- There will be 50% fewer sequels released in 2009 than 2008. The industry will continue to make immense buckets of money.

- Certis will grow a beard. Surprisingly, it will be fuller and richer than any other GWJ staffer. We will, in turn, grow to hate him even more.

- GamersWithJobs.com will be bought by UGO. 3/4s of the staff will be laid off, leaving only Cory "Demiurge" Banks to fill front page content. Repeated stories about "How pretty Princess Peach is" and "That new game where you press the buttons" will strike a nerve with GWJ's new mainstream, dumbed-down audience. Stock prices will soar.

Alex "Spaz" Martinez

- UGO will keep the 1up brand on life-support, inject some funky-fresh new talent to oversee the new "TOP TEN SEXIEST GIRL GAMERZZ" division, then slowly transition it into UGO proper.

- In the wake of the EGM vacuum, G4 will experiment with an e-ink print run. The resulting magazine will be a mix of Maxim and Edge and update, for a fee, from G4's webportal. Additional "subscriptions" will be available to Kindle e-readers.

- iPhone gaming will see more fantastic "boom" cases involving dudes making an app, then retiring on profits. Commence the iPhone App Bubble.

- E3, reopened to the general public, will wrestle with an economic downturn, an uninterested audience, tightened advertising budgets and the loss of games-enthusiast media interest. E-For-All effectively dies.

- Screwattack Gaming Convention will see a very modest success, giving fans less incentive to care about E3/EforAll, and strengthening the perception that a proper gamer-convention is best run by fans, not companies.

- XBL Community Games spend the majority of the year sucking.

- Microsoft will announce that it will bring Steam functionality to its next next-Gen system.

Lara "KaterinLHC" Crigger

- EGM's demise will be the final nail in the coffin for American print gaming mags. While other full-color glossies might appear, none will stick around for more than an issue or two.

- There will be a proliferation of more mature gaming website starting up throughout the first six months of this year.

- Lego Lord of the Rings, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Twilight, Lego Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants ... .

- This will not be the year iPhone gaming becomes hot. If it ever does. It will be lucky to survive the year.

- Facebook will be the new hot medium for casual game hits. PopCap will naturally be the breakout star. We'll soon start seeing popular Facebook titles migrating to the DS and PSP.

- No Alan Wake this year, either.

- This will be the year I see a Wind Waker shirt in the "ironically nostalgic" section of Hot Topic. It will make me sad.

Sean "Elysium" Sands

- While the industry sees a new record revenue total in 2009, it does not see record growth. The words "video game bubble" or some variation thereof will begin to creep into the conversation.

- Electronic Arts will be seen to be for sale, though it will not be purchased or acquired. However, there will be numerous departures of key EA executives.

- Starcraft 2 will ship late 2009.

- Games that will not ship this year: Alan Wake, Final Fantasy XIII, Diablo 3, Duke Nukem Forever, KOTOR MMO.

- No hints or announcements regarding next gen consoles in 2009.

- Valve will announce and release a new IP.

- 2009 is considered uneventful and relatively boring compared to previous years, highlighted by a few exciting and major game announcements.

Adam "The Fly" LaMosca

- Blizzard will announce a new title that revolves around a story-driven, single-player campaign (and it won't be Starcraft: Ghost).

- Dragon Age will delight longtime RPG fans but will be met by very disappointing sales.

- More major mainstream media outlets will establish and promote journalists who cover gaming content (a la Newsweek's N'Gai Croal). We'll see the most thoughtful and thorough game coverage emerge from sources other than the major enthusiast press sites.

- Not even Phil Harrison can save Infogrames. It'll go under completely, and the Atari brand will finally be taken off life support.

- Halo Wars will be a critical and commercial disappointment. Halo: ODST, on the other hand, will be a major success, but it will still be the last Bungie-built Halo title. Before the year is out, Bungie will release a teaser trailer or website for its next big project, but they won't announce a name or any details.

- InFamous will prove irresistible, and will finally bring Sucker Punch the widespread acclaim they deserve.

- Miyamoto will announce a new Nintendo IP based on his latest hobby, and it won't excite anyone.

- Katerin will be 100% wrong about iPhone gaming. Well-crafted and full-featured releases by id Software and Square Enix will be in the App Store by the end of the year.

- None of the big three console manufacturers will announce major hardware redesigns, but they'll all release new peripherals of dubious value just in time for the 2009 holiday season.

Jeremy "Nyles" Greenfield

- A Japanese developer (possibly Atlus) will release yet another wonderful niche PS2 game, which will be described as the "swan song" of the ancient console. This will also happen in 2010.

- Everyone will forget to feed and care for their lovingly created NXE avatars, leading to a tragic wave of starving, filthy avatar hoboes.

- The Wii will pull farther ahead of the DS in the race for best adventure game platform. What, you didn't know about that race? In 2009, you will continue to not hear or care about adventure games.

- Fallout 3 will get its two promised DLC packs, which will raise the level cap to 21.2 and 21.5 respectively. A new perk will be included, but sadly, it's only available at level 22. There will also be a $1.99 downloadable patch to put armor on your existing armor, to make it shinier.

- An Assassin's Creed sequel will be announced, with carefully subdued fanfare and lowered expectations. "We expect this game will have some polygons, and the buttons will control body parts, but don't get too excited, we're talking hands and feet."

- Dragon Age will be Jade Empire plus Mass Effect minus everyone's hazy, nostalgic memories of Baldur's Gate 2. It will not have a sequel, or a proper ending. It will, however, have a separate ending for "gwevil" characters, or characters who act evil in order to do good but not take credit for it, which would be evil.

- Unless someone buys me an iPhone, every GWJ writer will be wrong about iPhone gaming, forever. Rabbit, Spaz, Kat, Fly: If you don't want to be totally embarrassed by your lack of foresight, buy me an iPhone. I would also like a pony. A pony hollowed out and filled with iPhones.

wordsmythe, a.k.a. "King Grahammar of Daventypo" (Copy Editor)

- Games scheduled for this year that don't release for Christmas will be in a tough spot, and potentially sold off. I expect a number of buggy or otherwise unpolished titles pushed out at the last minute.

- And don't expect any new IP announcements if it's not from Blizzard, Nintendo, or Valve. Now that I think about that, new IP from Blizzard or Nintendo is sort of a silly thought in the first place.

- Smaller games with lower price points will outpace AAA titles, but neither will do particularly well.

- No new consoles announced. Planning for the next generation is postponed until the economy picks up in late 2010.

Comments

Interesting predictions, everyone. Elysium, I'm most intrigued by one you made:

The Big Beard in the Sky wrote:

- While the industry sees a new record revenue total in 2009, it does not see record growth. The words "video game bubble" or some variation thereof will begin to creep into the conversation.

I think you're right with the basic prediction. We're looking at a saturation phase in the video game market and PC while gaming may be growing, but it just isn't there yet in gross terms. (Plus, Valve keeps Steam's numbers secret. Expect one hell of a spike in the growth rates once they stop playing coy.)
My question is this: Do you think the console game market will turn out to be bloated, or that the whole market for digital games is overvalued?

Kurrelgyre wrote:

-A Zune application will appear for the iPhone, emphasizing the Zune Pass.

I can't see Apple allowing that in the App Store for some reason.

I agree with:

- Duke Nukem Forever will be released this year.

- Starcraft 2 will ship late 2009.

- Games that will not ship this year: Alan Wake, Final Fantasy XIII, Diablo 3, KOTOR MMO.

- No hints or announcements regarding next gen consoles in 2009.

- 2009 is considered uneventful and relatively boring compared to previous years, highlighted by a few exciting and major game announcements.

I disagree with:

- Valve will announce and release a new IP.

- Certis will grow a beard. Surprisingly, it will be fuller and richer than any other GWJ staffer. We will, in turn, grow to hate him even more.

I hope that:

- PC game DRM will start eroding, with companies adopting a "frequent content" model, or just giving up and joining Steam.

My predictions!

- Certis will continue his anti-beard establishment movement but will achieve a new popularity after coining the term, "Beard fatigue".

- Valve will not release a new IP: all of their efforts are taken up with updating the remaining characters of Team Fortress 2.... making versus available for Left 4 Dead as well as two new levels and some weapons.... they will also start some rumblings about Half Life 2 episode 3.

- There will be more studio closures and aquisitions during the year resulting in a streamlined game industry that has a huge gap: all remaining companies are either ultra small or ultra large. The middle ground will be lost for the short term.

- "Ultra" will experience a renaissance.

- The Kitty Cat dance and Rick roll will be replaced by a new video link meme.... people will only link these two videos when they are relevant to the conversation.

- Dragon Age will not be the game people are expecting and will sell poorly due to this. It will have poor story and uninspired gameplay mechanics. Finally we will have definitive proof that it was Black Isle that made the Baldur's Gate games so good.

- The Sins expansion will sell very well.... however Stardock will be split up into a corporate desktop development company and a gaming company. They will both sell through Impulse and at retail.

- The newly formed Stardock gaming company will be bought out by a larger juggernaut - possibly Activision Blizzard.

- Modding communities will dwindle over the coming year as new releases become less mod friendly as the development of the tools will not be considered cost effective.

-The recession will end sometime in the middle of 2009, but the media won't announce it until 2010, so no one will know.

-The XBox 360 will outsell the PS3 for the year, despite the PS3 outselling the 360 by 10,000 or so units for the first eight months of 2009. The 360 will break 1,000,000 units sold in the November 2009 NPDs.

-The DSi will be the hottest thing since Wii Fit.

-Wii Sports Resort will be a top 10 selling game every month it's out this year.

-Sony will cut the price of the PS3, but sales won't increase as much as Sony hopes.

-Microsoft will unveil their first-party lineup at GDC, and it will include Mass Effect 2 and Alan Wake.

-Too Human 2 (For Human?) will come out in 2009, but Microsoft will not publish it.

-Mass Effect 2 will not come to the PS3.

-Valve will release Half Life 2: Episode 3 this fall on PC and 360.

-Steam will continue to add more publishers, and will soon be the largest retailer of PC games.

-1UP.com will slowly die away, while the former staff flourishes and provides us with a cornucopia of intelligent and thoughtful game criticism in video, aural and written form. Garnett Lee, David Ellis and Matt Leone will not be employed at 1UP.com or UGO on December 31, 2009.

Let me try:

- Information will surface on the next Blizzard MMO being World of Diablo.
- On a related note, Blizzard will announce that Diablo 3 will ship before Starcraft 2 Part 1. Neither will ship in 2009 though.
- Acclaim will die. Again.
- Sony will announce before the end of the year that they will be shuttering Home in early 2010.
- Jack Thompson will announce he is running for the Florida Senate. When election time comes though, his name won't be on the ballot.
- NC Soft will release Aion, but it will not top 200,000 users by year's end.
- Nintendo will release a harddrive peripheral for the Wii. To further encourage sales, it'll come loaded with at least 10 classic NES titles for the Virtual Console.

Scaphism wrote:
Michael "Zonk" Zenke
- Free-to-play MMOs are going to be big headlines this year, especially titles launched in 08' to little fan fair and developed overseas.

That one's totally on me.

And yesterday was my fourth day, dangit!

- PC Gaming will live to see yet another year, finally beating the all-time death struggle record previously held by Pope John Paul II.

- Dragon Age will get raving reviews and sell like bacon-wrapped cheese cake. A few weeks later a hardcore and bitter counter-group will complain Dragon Age is actually the worst game evar and everyone who likes it is naive and noobish and doesn't deserve to live. The ending will disappoint everyone. Fans will start programming alternative endings, unlocking hidden data that didn't make the game due to time constraints. This mod will never finish.

- Duke Nukem Forever will be released this year. It will suck. I will buy it on Steam Sale at 10 dollars four weeks after release.

- No new consoles wil be announced this year officially, although rumours and leaks will start spreading.

- 13 new The Sims 2 expansions will hit the market, dominating sales figures to the despair of hardcore gamers. Who will buy it for their girlfriend in a desperate yet futile attempt to get her into gaming.

My top prediction for the year:

XBOX Live Primetime will be a colossal hit with the the "casual" gaming crowd. Gamer's significant others will at first raise a cautiously curious eyebrow at the XBOX when they hear they can play with and against their friends in online gameshows. By late summer, the Arcade XBOX 360 SKU will see significant increase in sales as the casual market wants to get in on the online game shows at the cheapest entry point. By the end of 2009, the XBOX 360 will become firmly established as the entertainment center hub for games, media, and networking that Microsoft has always wanted it to be.

Other predictions:

This will be another dire year for the PS3. While God of War 3 will give it a much needed shot in the arm, it has lost too much ground over the past 2 years to catch up. Given that Sony just published it's first financial loss in 14 years, the top brass will not authorize a price cut on the PS3 to lose even more money on each one. Additionally, Home will see some improvements, but XBOX Live Primetime will completely dominate it once released. By the end of the year, Home will be regarded as a little more than an add on feature for the PS3, rather than an integral part of the console experience.

Wii sales will finally start to slow down as nearly everyone and their dog has acquired one.

There will be no new talk of "Next Gen" consoles this year. The big three will have learned from Sony's fumbles about pushing cutting edge technology on the user and expecting them to buy it. Given the rather dismal economic climate predicted for 2009, the big three will seek to maximize profit margins on the current consoles, and keep the next generation on the back burner for the time being.

Duke Nukem Forever will not be released this year. Depending on the planetary alignments near the end of the harvest season, 3D Realms may release a video showing in game footage.

Rhythm games will lose a massive amount of momentum this year. While we will hear announcements of more games in the genre that allow you to play different instruments, market saturation will have fully kicked in, and they will be greeted with disappointing sales.

EA will not announce any new IP's this year. Given their lack of enthusiasm on the new ones they launched last year, EA will instead invest their resources into developing sequels (for cheaper) to their existing IP's. Before the year is out, we will the announcement of Army of Two 2, Dead Space 2, and another Battlefield title for the consoles.

The overall theme of this year for the publishers will be belt tightening on existing projects, and little resources devoted to new IP's.

-Alan Wake, Diablo 3, Final Fantasy XIII, Duke Nukem Forever, most recently announced AAA MMOs? Not this year.

-Starcraft 2 will release the first of its "let's break it up to exploit it Bobby Kotick style" titles. All those who complained about them releasing it this way will buy it anyway.

-Valve will announce a new "colour box" package this year that will include Half-Life 2 Episode 3, Portal 2 and another unannounced IP. It may be announced for release this year but will only have a 50% chance of actually doing so.

-DRM's proliferation will start to drop and more intelligent models will be adopted but some publishers will stubbornly stick to it. They will continue to blame something other than themselves (piracy, the economy, whatever) whenever a game doesn't sell.

-Piracy will still happen in large numbers with most of the pirates continuing to be self-righteous idiots who believe that by stealing, they're actually doing someone a favour. Despite this and the above, there will be fewer roaring debates about the subject this year.

-The PC version of Dragon Age will succeed but only modestly so.

-Atari will continue making a comeback, much to the surprise of everyone, demonstrating what good management can do.

-Eidos will either go under or will finally by swallowed up. The management who lead them there will blame gamers.

-Midway is beyond saving and will go under. Due to their debt load, their name and IPs will be sold off but the company as it is will die.

-Halo Wars will suffer the same problems as every other console RPG. Many will be saddened that it was Ensemble's swan song.

-Halo: ODST will do very well and I still won't understand why that franchise is so popular.

-Brutal Legend will come out and be awesome but flawed like Psychonauts. It will sell enough to be profitable for Double Fine but not hugely so.

-Assassin's Creed 2 will come out and be an improvement over the original but not an overhaul. Ubisoft will continue to exploit Jade Raymond's looks to sell the new project she is attached to, I Am Alive.

-No new consoles will even be hinted at but refinements of the 360 and PS3 are possible.

-People will continue to insist that the PS3 is an utter flop without complete evidence supporting the claim. 3rd party publishers will continue to put out cross-platform releases.

-3rd party Wii titles will continue to tank with rare exception. Mad World and The Conduit will be great games no one buys.

-iPhone gaming will continue to be a modest success. Those of us who use real smartphones that have actual function rather than just shiny interfaces (i.e. BlackBerries) will laugh at iPhone users when their non-replaceable batteries start wearing out.

-Analysts who are almost always wrong will continue to be cited as reliable sources by lazy gaming press outlets.

-The ex-1UP staff who are already doing amazing things will continue to do so and be met with great community enthusiasm for it. Despite retaining some great talent, 1UP's editorial standards will become laughable due to interference from UGO.

- Wii HD will be announced this year and will hit store shelves in Japan by the end of the year. It will feature line doubling for current Wii software as well as 720p/1080i support for new titles plus more on board storage, but still not enough.

Financial Armageddon will drive people into underground 'vaults' where the titles released in 2008 will be replayed over and over again, eventually forming a new nexus of human myth-making. The stories of Niko Bellic and The Duke of Gravity will resound in the annals of history for all time.

Yeah it's a long shot, but someone had to hedge it.

Duoae wrote:

Valve will not release a new IP: all of their efforts are taken up with updating the remaining characters of Team Fortress 2.... making versus available for Left 4 Dead as well as two new levels and some weapons.... they will also start some rumblings about Half Life 2 episode 3.

I'm going with this.

I also predict that the majority of my time will be spent playing last year's games that were released during the holiday crush that are now available on Steam for ~$30 and I'm not going to really miss much that comes out this year.

Fringe Busters is going to be one of the most popular features on this site.

Elysium will be charged with homicide when he forces me to play a JRPG as part of the Horizons Broadening Project.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

-Analysts who are almost always wrong will continue to be cited as reliable sources by lazy gaming press outlets.

That's not so much a prediction as it is a bald statement of fact. Also, fixed.

Here are my predictions. Some are serious, some are not. I'll leave differentiating them as an exercise to the reader. (Show your work.)

*Duke Nukem Forever will be revealed to be an MMO. Demiurge will wet himself, Zenke will play it and pronounce it a good effort but flawed.

*Rob will get a role in a major motion picture as a prominent star's bare backside. I won't reveal the name, but it rhymes with Sicole Bidman.

*Rabbit will write an excellent article for Game Informer, after which Gamestop will go out of business. He will be hailed as a hero by gamers the world over and his pseudonym will be changed from Rabbit to "Slayer McAwesome."

*Elysium 2.0 will surpass his father at Rockband.

*A new government office (probably a branch of the FCC) will be created for the purposes of monitoring video game content. It will not be widely reported in the mainstream press.

*EA will seriously consider asking John Riccitello to step down so they can get back to the business of milking franchises to the bone in order to stop Activision from eating their lunch.

*Independently developed games will get more love in the gaming press than AAA titles on average for 2009.

*Nintendo will continue to outsell everybody and will not release a single first-party game that anyone here cares about.

*Microsoft will announce their next generation system, which will be fully backward compatible with all Xbox360 games but much more reliable than the 360. Further, they will offer rebates to anyone who has had their 360 RROD on them, which will fall somewhere between fifty and one hundred dollars.

*Sony's response, in light of having removed backward compatibilty from all their systems, will be to remove forward compatibility from all systems below 80GB. This new PS3 SKU will include a dualshock sixaxis controller, a copy of Metal Gear Solid 4, and an empty PS3 case. There will be no price reduction. When this fails, they will remove forward compatibility from all models.

*Nintendo will announce Wii Chore, which will be a housework simulator that comes with a waterproof Wii-Brush attachment for the wiimote that allows the user earn points by scrubbing the floor vigorously. It will sell so well that it will be nigh impossible to purchase for six months.

jonnypolite wrote:

Certis will read this book.

He admitted as much at DnD last night

Do you think the console game market will turn out to be bloated, or that the whole market for digital games is overvalued?

I'm no economist, but it seems like some strong indicators are there - the industry had another record breaking year, but publishers seem to be having a hard time actually making money. The cost of production requires extraordinary success to turn a profit, both on the software and hardware side. There is a sense that we are approaching saturation, and there's not really a good indication that there are that many more homes left to buy at the same rates we've seen. And, of course, there's the question of disposable income in a rough economy.

Yes, entertainment industries tend to be resilient, but there's a difference between the cost of a night at the movies or a new CD, and the investment necessary (including hardware, software and subscriptions) to play video games.

DNF, Certis? Really? You went there? It's clearly a face-off between Certis and momgamer here.

My prediction: PAX will rock like nobody's bid'niz in '09.

Alan Wake will release and everyone will hate the ending.

Dragon Age will release and everyone will hate the ending.

Certis will be embarrassed about his DNF prediction... if he was capable of feeling shame.

  • The XBox 360, PS3, and Wii will all continue to run on cruise control for the entire year. There will be no major developments, good or bad, for any of them. Unless you count another crop of weirdass input devices for the Wii (yawn).
  • Darkfall will be released early in the year and will promptly crash and burn. PVP fanbois will come up with yet another reason why This One Doesn't Count, and when are those stupid major studios gong to realise that hardcore PVP is obviously the One True Way to make a WOW killer?
  • Diablo 3 and the first down payment on Starcraft 2 will be released late in the year (unless Blizzard decides to postpone one of them to avoid competing with itself, although D3 and SC2 are different enough that they may decide that's a non-issue). They'll make a crapload of money (yeah, that's a no-brainer prediction for anything to do with Blizzard), but neither of them will be quite the massive hits that the online legions are taking for granted, because the designers and fans alike were seeing them in D2/SC1-tinted nostalgiavision.
  • The next WOW expansion will be announced in 2009 but not released until 2010. It will continue the de-emphasis on hardcore raiding that make WOTLK a success.
  • Guild Wars 2 will be released around Xmas 2009. It will be a big success, partly on its merits but also because there will be essentially nothing else new in the AAA MMO landscape to compete with it, and MMO fans will be thirsty after a long drought.
  • None of the other MMOs currently on the radar will be ready for release in 2009. Despite this, some of them will be released anyway, with the usual results.
  • The iPhone will continue to take over the world. Blackberry, Android, and Palm users will continue to explain to everyone why their platform is superior. Nobody will care.

Certis predicted....

- Nintendo will take the next step in the development of their brand, selling software and peripherals targeted directly at schools, hospitals and community groups.

Well... that was an amazingly precise & expedious prediction!

Nintendo Brings Wii Music to Classrooms
Partnerships with over 50 schools teach the fundamentals of music
http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=...

What are your thoughts on the Superbowl?

LockAndLoad wrote:

Certis predicted....

- Nintendo will take the next step in the development of their brand, selling software and peripherals targeted directly at schools, hospitals and community groups.

Well... that was an amazingly precise & expedious prediction!

Nintendo Brings Wii Music to Classrooms
Partnerships with over 50 schools teach the fundamentals of music
http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=...

What are your thoughts on the Superbowl?

Before anyone calls shenanigans, my predictions were in draft form in the Writers Guild days before that news. Days I say!

Notice the story is dated 1/13/09, while the predictions are dated 1/14/09. Certis cheated. I don't care about drafts and such, I still call shenanigans!

Also, that doesn't really count because Wii Music wasn't targeted directly at schools. It was targeted at the braindead and Nintendo realized after the fact that most schools are run by the extremely braindead.

dejanzie wrote:

- 13 new The Sims 2 expansions will hit the market, dominating sales figures to the despair of hardcore gamers. Who will buy it for their girlfriend in a desperate yet futile attempt to get her into gaming.

Sims 3 is coming out this year. Sims 2 support is going to be dropped like a fireball with herpes!

MechaSlinky wrote:

Sims 3 is coming out this year. Sims 2 support is going to be dropped like a fireball with herpes!

Still enough time for at least 15-16 more Sims 2 expansions! Hurry! Hurry, everybody, and take your Sims on an exciting new family adventure with the new Botanical Gardens & Nature Walk Pack!

CaptainCrowbar wrote:
  • The iPhone will continue to take over the world. Blackberry, Android, and Palm users will continue to explain to everyone why their platform is superior. Nobody will care.

Basically the same thing that happened with the iPod then. Although I suspect Blackberry will continue to have more corporate support. Palm still makes things? Huh...

larrymadill wrote:

Palm still makes things? Huh...

Yeah, they still make Palm OS based phones, and some decent Windows Mobile based phones too. Ironic, no?

Elysium wrote:

I'm no economist, but it seems like some strong indicators are there - the industry had another record breaking year, but publishers seem to be having a hard time actually making money. The cost of production requires extraordinary success to turn a profit, both on the software and hardware side. There is a sense that we are approaching saturation, and there's not really a good indication that there are that many more homes left to buy at the same rates we've seen. And, of course, there's the question of disposable income in a rough economy.

Yes, entertainment industries tend to be resilient, but there's a difference between the cost of a night at the movies or a new CD, and the investment necessary (including hardware, software and subscriptions) to play video games.

Some minor hopeful signs notwithstanding, I agree with all the things you said, but would amend that what you describe is the situation in the console-focussed industry. You've all got predictions about PC gaming / Steam, casual gaming and online gaming on your lists, and each of those offers business models that require less investment and products that can be sold for smaller prices.
In so far, I'd say that your choice of words was very astute: "Video Game Bubble".

On that note, let me add one prediction myself: The mobile gaming market is going to quietly implode, the specialized developers are going to seek shelter in the Apple Store, in the process ruining that platform's profit margins.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Dragon Age will release and everyone will hate the ending.

No, no; endings to Obsidian games we hate. Bioware ones we tolerate.

Indie games (plus a PS2 exclusive and a handheld title) will gain real estate in 2009 Game of the Year lists.

While violent crimes overall continue a statistical decline, videogames will be blamed for an increasing number of homicides, patricides, a mass suicide, and will not be ruled out for missing persons cases.

A self-help book (endorsed by Oprah) will be aimed at recognizing videogame 'addiction,' and will garner 98% of sales from hapless loved ones.

PETA and Greenpeace collaborate and ramp up efforts to make themselves a relevant voice in the gaming community. Will take a less adversarial stance and convincingly state that they're on *our* side.

(Hey, just trying to ladle up some new ideas here.)

BOLD PREDICTION: Rat Boy will say "I'd hit it" in 2009

-Companies will try desperately to compete with WoW by stealing its niche gamers (particularly those that like free things, or things with good/balanced PvP). Keep an eye on Darkfall and Mortal Online, among others.

MORE PREDICTION!

-Rare will announce Killer Instinct Vs. Hanna-Barbera.

-Valve's new IP will be a low-budget action-flight sim. The new Orange Box will be called The Black Box. (Oddly, real black boxes are sometimes orange.)

-A disgruntled Ubisoft employee will hide a small bit of hardcore porn as an easter egg in one of the 5 billion Imagine games released this year. It won't be found for 15 years.

I'll throw another one out there....

- Valve goes dormant this year; lots of TF2 and Left4Dead DLC, but no Maroon Box or anything. Probably will see Half-Life: Episode 3 by the end of the year. Not buy or play, but just see it.