Bold Predictions 2010

2009 was not a good year for me. Not only did I predict that Duke Nukem Forever would be released; I did so without any loop holes or qualifications. My proclamation just lays there like a dead pigeon pulled out of a magician’s hat. I even said Alan Wake would finally be released before the year was out. I think someone was messing with the prediction hat.

Don’t let that sway you because my 2010 predictions are like solid gold. You could bet your house on them! What’s that? Don’t believe me?

- This year will mark the beginning of the end for Rockstar’s pre-eminence in the gaming industry.

We have lots of predictions from the GWJ staff for 2010 after the jump. Be sure to add your own in the comments and check out the 2009 thread to see how amazing/horrible your predictions were.

Shawn “Certis” Andrich

- The Nintendo Heartbeat Sensor will release this year and be successful. Not Wii Fit successful, but it will hit the target audience squarely. It will launch with a stress reduction game.

- Project Natal will launch at $59.99 and include a mini-game collection. It will stumble on multiplayer games when people are waving their limbs in front of each other and messing up the tracking. Games will primarily settle with one player at a time experiences in the long run.

- Apple will announce a MacBook tablet with 1:1 portability for all iPhone apps and games willing to adjust for the higher resolution.

- The PS3 will finally catch up with the 360 Live experience; including cross-game chat, party chat and in-game notifications. It will continue to be free.

- The PS3 will begin to consistently outsell the Xbox 360 by the middle of the year.

- PC game prices will begin to stabilize as the formula for digital sales becomes more clear. Top tiered games will continue to launch at $49.99 and predictably drop to a median $19.99 after six months if reviews have a meta score of less than 70.

- Microsoft will be the first to have rumblings of a new console in the works. It will be a smaller technological leap than before, mostly being a refresh along the lines of the PS3 slim. Expect it around the Natal launch.

- More studio closures in California, major publishers will establish deeper roots in places like Austin to escape high taxes.

- Open world games will finally jump the shark as more uninspired clones clog the marketplace. Coop will be king.

Wordsmythe

- There will be at least 3 9+/10 games that I will be passingly interested in at best, and will deride as not really be worth playing unless you have extra time to kill. A couple of these will show up toward the bottom of next December's "best of 2010" lists.

- Efforts to bring more "non-gamers" into the flock will stall as "real gamers" call for games that are harder, faster and longer.

- 2010 will be marked largely by a continuing trend of games that seek to iterate on and polish established styles and mechanics. Even "indie" games will seem to largely focus more on polish and presentation.

- And some other weasel words to make it easier to back out of or justify predictions when 2011 rolls around. Anyway: Wordsmythe will get grumpier and more self-righteous, like some sort of terrible lovechild of Gaald and Elysium. This will occasionally be assuaged by board games, historical strategy games, and titles by the likes of Rohrer, Weir and Benmergui.

- Though potentially offensive stereotypes in games will continue, we will see more, significant progress toward games with important characters that aren't straight, white men and that aren't stereotypes of minorities.

Chris "Clemenstation" Clemens

- At least one video game in 2010 will feature the term "fudge funnel". Zero games will feature the term "ramburgler".

- Achievements/trophies will be used to get people to play (and actually complete) more corporate advertising games than ever before. In fact, we'll see a big increase in companies and services trying to get people to complete consumer surveys or view ad content in exchange for game-related virtual perks. Microsoft will announce a new Xbox console late in the year (to be launched in 2012), and one of their first press releases will confirm that Live profiles and achievements will be compatible with / ported over to this new hardware. Yes, people will care about this.

- Project Natal and the Sony Eyeraper -- or whatever it's called -- will roll out with great fanfare and then promptly fall down, as adoption of the technology into AAA games that people actually want to play will be slow and hesitant. As the lackluster reception to recent peripheral-centric games like Tony Hawk: Ride and DJ Hero suggests, consumers are fatigued with material add-ons that don't seem to hold much long-term value. High retail costs will scare people away from Natal/Eyeraper, or at least delay mass purchases until the platforms grow past the tech demo stage and it is proven that we're not looking at another PlayStation Eye or Sega 32x here.

The 'featured' title released at launch faces a serious challenge: it must hold up as an excellent core gaming experience, while using new modes of input (visual/auditory) to somehow enhance this experience, not supplant it. Fable II plus the occasional NPC character who yells "I love the teal coloured shirt you're wearing, m'lord! And your lady friend in the background there appears to be quite voluptuous!" as you stroll past is not going to cut it. Neither is a collection of novelty mini-games.

- I think we're going to have to wait through a year or so of really poor fumbling with potential before we figure out how games can benefit from this technology, as opposed to simply 'supporting' it as a series of tacked-on, marginal features. Hopefully Sony and Microsoft stand by their beloved Natal/Eyeraper devices as they suffer through growing pains and an inevitable price reduction (probably 6 months after release).

- Someone on the GWJ trueachievements.com leaderboard is gonna get poisoned.

Julian “rabbit” Murdoch

- Civ Network will launch, and be a breakout title for "social gaming." We'll see the defection of at least one more high-profile NON-strategy developer to Zynga or Playfish.

- Someone will announce a "Facebook" version of a major First Person Shooter franchise. The game will succeed where the lite versions of Battlefield and Quake failed.

- OnLive will enter limited markets (urban) by the end of 2010. It will, surprisingly, work for most games. It will, unsurprisingly, continue to be a whizbang solution to a problem core gamers don't really have.

- iPhone/iSlate game sales will close the year as the third largest console by dollar volume.

Sean “Elysium” Sands

- Half Life Episode 3 will be officially announced and released this year. It will feature a similar Orange Box style package and include Portal 2, which everyone will agree is fun but lacks the surprise charm of the original.

- Starcraft II will release this year, and while it will develop a sizable following there will be some widespread consensus that the pure RTS genre has been played out and sales outside of Starcraft strongholds such as Korea will be solid but seem short of expectations.

- World of Warcraft will remain the dominant North American MMO with Cataclysm's launch likely to be within 1 month on either side of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

- We will go another year without any of the major three console makers announcing a true generational hardware upgrade.

- Apple will not get involved in the console industry this year.

- Valve will be able to announce by the end of 2010 that more PC games are purchased directly through their online store than any other retailer, including brick and mortar locations.

- Activision will suffer double digit losses vs. 2009 and 2008 as rhythm game sales weaken and the Call of Duty franchise becomes soft. By the end of the year Bobby Kotick's job will be in serious question.

- The Southeast US will begin to establish itself as a gaming and technological center. EA Atlanta will be among the first, but people will begin talking about places like Florida and the Carolinas.

Allen "Pyroman[FO] Cupcake" Cook

- By the end of the year, big publishers will begin to frequently target Android with ports of successful iPhone games.

- Indie developers will actually begin to become profitable as digital distribution becomes easier and more widespread.

- In order to set themselves apart from the mainstream digital-only "casual" releases, indie games will have to become more gimmicky, quirky and shocking. At first the indie gaming reviewers will eat this up, then at some point people will begin to call bullsh*t and being quirky will become unfashionable for a bit.

- There will be fewer iPhone games released in 2010 than 2009, however there will be more iPhone games sold in 2010 than 2009.

- The hacker community will find tons of uses for Project Natal hardware and it will live on as an underground sensation well after Microsoft cancels production on the hardware.

Alex “Spaz” Martinez

- Rumors about the potential of the Xbox successor will fly. Someone will report Windows 7 as the backbone of the new console's experience, opening up the possibility for hybrid discs of games to be sold to both the PC gamer/console owner crowd. Solid state drives will be used.
Someone will mention apps or widgets, others will groan.

- iTablet announcement will steamroll gadget lovers. Mass campouts at select retailers will begin. Others will scramble to find where to place tablet computing on the Smartphone > Netbook > Laptop spectrum. Apple once again pushes the envelope and causes the market to catch up.

- Microsoft's own Courrier tablet device will offer an impressive alternative interface. Compatibility with popular office suites will prove useful, as will its collaboration technology. Unfortunately, it won't be as hip as the Apple-flavored version. Lack of widespread adoption hampers use and popularity. Microsoft will release a Courier compatible environment for PC users to work with Courier formats, but it will require a few updates to achieve usability and will be relatively late in Courier v.1's lifespan.

- XBox Community Games continue to mostly suck... but by the time the annual XBLA Days of Summer lineup is announced, we'll have one or two breakout hits.

- You will have exactly ONE friend that has a 3D capable TV -- for the record, you'll tire of the glasses very, very quickly and decide that Monday Night Football isn't worth the hassle, though the beads of mid-air sweat give the sport a nice bit of class.

- You will have no fewer than SEVEN PC gamer friends (if you know that many, nyuck nyuck!) with 3D enabled graphics cards. Surprisingly, StarCraft, Diablo, WoW and L4D work pretty well with the tech. So well that you purchase a low-range card and make due with the glasses left over from last week's Avatar screening.

- Natal? Expect a popular dance tutorial program (Learn to SAMBA!), and a Yoga instruction program to take it by storm.

- Sony makes strong home theater gains this year, as the company finally realizes that their products should complement each other. PSPs will stream video content to PS3s. DNLA-enabled Sony TVs will work effortlessly with VAIO laptops. The PS Store becomes a bit more useful as a result. The unified Sony dashboard finally becomes iconic.

- The PSP Go platform stabilizes after Sony makes some much-needed PR concessions. Look for pre-installed demos, minigames, and (yes) the requisite Twitter-app to be bundled in with the system. Without the agonizing download wait, the initial impression of the PSP Go will be much more faborable.

- Google Chrome reaches out to "Casual" game developers. Expect to see a notification tab that lets you know your turf's been jacked in Mafia Wars.

- As gamers shy away from peripheral-upgrade cycles, RockBand will continue to limp along thanks to its excellent DLC strategy. Guitar Hero will see two more "band flavored" expansions, and maybe a 6th iteration before being shelved completely. DJ Hero will see a sequel then quietly be put to pasture.

Colleen “momgamer” Hannon

- SquareEnix will crush jRPG fans back into their couch cushions yet again with Final Fantasy XIII, but somehow still snatch a loss from the jaws of victory in the eyes of the more vocal fans of other genres. Fans won't care because they're too busy trying to activate the full power of the Irridescent Spagetti Strainer of Smiting by smacking all 204 catuar graffitti hidden in the Wasted Ruins before they go after the big bad guy.

- I will suck at Halo: Reach so hard that it will unbalance air conditioning systems as far away as Cleveland. But I will love it anyways and I won't care.

- Someone may wade upstream through all the marketing-speak and figure out exactly what the heck Ubisoft's I Am Alive actually is before it ships. The words "Jade Raymond" will figure prominently and repeatedly in the text of any attached article comment section for no reason whatsoever.

Gorgeous Rob Borges

- Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will have no new console news as they will be focused on trying to push their new peripherals as the next big thing in gaming.

- Activision will have a horrible year compared to 2009, as their rhythm game ip's take a nose dive. There will be much rejoicing on the internet.

- Bioshock 2 will suffer from poor sales as much of what made the original game great will have been lost in the sequel.

- I will finally find a way to make a living doing what I love, and all will be right with world. (One can dream can't he?)

Jeremy "Nyles" Greenfield

- Microsoft and Sony will push through simultaneous updates so that every Trophy a player earns will delete one Achievement, and vice versa. Choose, or die.

- Telltale Games will discover one of the few adventure game licenses which already features an episodic format, no significant fan base to placate, and dirt-cheap scenery recycling: Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist.

- Rumors of a new Call of Duty game push the release dates for Mass Effect 2 and God of War III to 2011. The game in question turns out to be Cabela's Duty: Terrorist Deer Hunt 2010.

- Cheaters in BioShock 2's multiplayer mode are richly rewarded for having the audacity to seize victory without regard to the common man's notions of "fair play" or "wall hacks."

- Half-Life: Episode 3 will contain a full, completely satisfying conclusion to the story of Gordon Freeman. To balance out this narrative karma, Team Fortress 2 will introduce a new class: The G-Man. His only ability is to show up 30 seconds before a match ends and disconnect the server.

- The only Wii game I will bother playing in 2010 will be No More Heroes 2. I will, however, create a jury rigged Project Natal by swallowing a Wiimote and gluing the sensor bar to my cat.

Comments

-Valve doesn't mention any info about Episode 3 for 2010. They wait to release it with L4D3 in 2011 and charge $60 on PC, $70 on console.

-All games requiring new peripherals fall below financial expectations and the customer revolt against this business strategy begins. This includes the new Sony/MS motion items which will be deemed a flop upon their releases.

-EA continues to report more financial losses and lays-off more employees. BioWare is their only developer to report growth.

-Activision downsizes after they notice that their cash-cows are producing less. They struggle to find new IP, forcing them to buy up some smaller developers like EA did a few years back.

-WoW Cataclysm will be the highest selling game of the year. It will garner most of the end-of-the-year awards, even though it will be the exact same game it was years ago with a face-lift.

-Bioshock 2 will be a mediocre, forgettable game and we will all be left wondering what Ken Levine is working on instead.

-2010 will go down as the year social gaming exploded in the industry. Free-to-play models will be the new hotness and indie will be left in the dust. EA's attempt to arrive in this area is too late and will only lose them more money.

-Bad News: Starcraft 2 gets delayed to 2011 to make room for Cataclysm. Good News: Starcraft 2 will have the campaigns of all three races in one box.

  • The PS3 will still lack cross-game chat and notifications and party chat. You will be able to see what your friends have bought from the PSN Store, though.
  • Apple's tablet computer will be the first to combine pen input (using an active digitizer) with a capacitive multi-touch display and be a huge success.
  • Activision will debut one more game with an all-new custom plastic peripheral. And announce Call of Duty 7 for this year.
  • The industrial design of the Xbox 360 will go unchanged, despite there being new bundles. 250GB drives will be available at retail by Fall.
  • The PSPgo will disappear quietly into the night.
  • Critical darling Heavy Rain will flop. Hard.
  • Xbox Live's 1 vs. 100 "set" and "crowd" will be themed based on the season and sponsored game launches.
  • Valve will announce and release a game unrelated to any of its existing franchises.
  • PopCap will buy Team17.
  • Sitar Hero will still not be released.
  • Kurrelgyre will transition from being "mediocre on good days" to "consistently mediocre" at L4D2. Many will still puzzle over how to pronounce his name.
  • Nolan North will voice the lead character in a game. Or 4.

- One of the non-Steam digital distribution channels (not Impulse) will fold as games begin to appear only on Steam to take advantage of Steamworks.

- Valve will announce Half-Life 2 Episode 3 bundled with Portal 2 and release it within three months of the announcement.

- Natal will flop as Xbox 360 owners find themselves out of breath from simultaneously trying to contort their body to control the game and shout homophobic insults at each other.

- Nintendo announces that the Wii2 will be released in 2011. It will feature HD graphics, a hard disk, and built-in Wii Motion Plus in the controller. Existing Wii remotes with Motion Plus will be compatible, as will the nunchucks.

- Nintendo rolls out a new free online service that allows the Wii and DS communities to share one space online. Nintendo will release one game that allows Wii and DS owners to play against each other.

And one long-horizon prediction:

- In 2011, Sony will announce the PSP-4000 and release it shortly before the holiday season. It will be the last PSP version released before Sony abandons the platform completely in 2012.

-If valve announce anything 'new', as far as I can tell it'll be a first person perspective as that's their strength. I would say that it will be a tactical shooter to succeed counter strike, although not CS2, so it might get the TF2 treatment (comparing TFC to TF2, keeping the important aspects and reworking it into a great modern game). This seems reasonably sensible, CS still has a good audience, and there's a chance to steal some players back from CoD

- Nintendo rolls out a new free online service that allows the Wii and DS communities to share one space online. Nintendo will release one game that allows Wii and DS owners to play against each other.

Agreed! (See Page 1)

I'll take these on:

* StarCraft 2 will have disappointing sales across the board except in Korea.
- I vote its going to be so huge that the dollar will come to be known as the zergling. Ok, maybe not quite that big, but still big.

* Treyarch's CoD will be more critically acclaimed than MW2.
- It will be 3x as good, 3x longer and .3x cheaper; but will only sell .000003x as many copies.

* Many 3D predictions
- 3D is going to take off huge first in cinemas with many old movies being remastered, followed by home tv and gaming. But having to wear the shutter glasses for general use will grate on people, as a result it will quickly lead to 3D without glasses in 2012.

* Madden 2011 will be announced as a 3D-enable title, even prior to ESPN 3D going live. At least 3-4 other major AAA titles will follow the suit. In the 2010 holiday shopping season, market uptake for 3D TVs will be huge.

* Alan Wake will be a cult hit. Bioshock 2 will underwhelm. BOTH won't sell very well.

* No form-factor changes and no hardware refresh for Xbox 360, apart from manufacturing improvements, chip design scale bump-ups, and minor enhancement such as Gigabit Ethernet being quietly snuck in.

* Max Payne 3 will be quietly put on ice.

* Another gaming news website will either be forced out of existence, or will be aquired. Giant Bomb seems like the most likely candidate.

* Yahtzee will get played out completely.

The bubble will burst in iPhone add/game development late this year. We'll see the "larger" players retreat back to Social Gaming.

Next year, I'll say predict the doom of social gaming.

Let's see how I did last year. Nailed or failed?

* 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).
- Nailed. (Yeah yeah, PS3 Anorexic Edition. It was just the same old same old in a shinier box.)

* 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?
- 50/50 on this one. Darkfall is still plodding along but can't exactly be called a smashing success. The second part was on target, but predicting that the PVPtards will keep whining about their sense of entitlement is about as daring as predicting that the sun wil keep coming up in the east.

* 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.
- Failed. I was hopelessly optimistic about the schedule here.

* 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.
- Nailed. Not that this required Nostradamus.

* 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.
- Failed. My mistake was expecting NCSoft to prioritise GW2 over Aion instead of the other way around.

* 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.
- Hello Champions. Hello Aion. Nailed.

* 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.
- Almost nailed. Android is doing better than I expected but the iPhone is still top dog. (The fact that I recently got one myself has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion on this subject.)

----------

OK, time to stick my neck out again. In 2010...

* Microsoft will release a Blu-Ray drive for the Xbox 360. With the PS3's big advantage neutralised, the 360 will dominate its rival console by late 2010. Natal will be released but will still be in the "useless gimmick nobody supports" category by the end of the year.

* Blizzard will release Cataclysm and the first instalment of Starcraft 2, but postpone Diablo 3 into 2011 (this seems to already be the consensus so I'm not actually claiming this as a prediction). Cataclysm will be a massive hit (duh), SC2 not so much, at least in the West, ditto D3 when it comes out. As I noted last year, I think the SC and Diablo fans overestimate how much appeal their ancient franchises have to new gamers.

* Half Life 2 Episode 3 Portal 2 Manchester United 0 will be announced in 2010 but not released until 2011. Valve's only major release this year will be Left 4 Dead 3 (Arsenal 1).

* Star Trek Online will be released more or less on schedule and will be a disaster. With two big failures in a row, Cryptic is unlikely to live to see 2011.

* There will be no other major MMO releases this year. The two big new ones, Guild Wars 2 and SW:TOR, will be in beta by the end of 2010 but not released until 2011. (Probably more or less simultaneously, because they'll both be calculating the optimum date to avoid competing with anything from Blizzrd.) Hype and expectations for GW2 and SWTOR will dominate the gaming news by the end of 2010. Both will largely live up to their hype.

* At least two, and quite possibly all three, of Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Champions Online will be shut down in 2010. Aion will only survive in the West because it's sufficiently popular in Asia that keeping a Western server running isn't much of a burden.

* Second Life will continue the decline in population that started in 2009. Eventually (although I suspect probably not this year) someone will open a Second Life clone that's expicitly aimed at the adult market and doesn't pretend to be anything else; this will be a massive success.

* The newspaper and magazine industries will continue their nosedive into obscurity. Some major news company will finally get around to actually trying the much-threatened experiment of cutting off Google's access, and will instantly vanish into obscurity. By the end of the year it will be obvious that the entire print industry has basically given up on trying to appeal to anyone under 50.

* Android phones will enjoy a brief boost in popularity on the strength of the Nexus 1, but it won't take long for everyone to remember the big problem with Android, i.e. that every Android phone is almost but not quite compatible with every other Android phone.

* The Apple tablet will be released early in the year and will be dominated by some big surprise feature that nobody expected. Includng me, so I won't make any predictions about it.

* iPhone OS 4.0 will add multitasking, limited to a small fixed number of simultaneous apps (probably 2-4, possibly user configurable).

* Steve Jobs will continue to baffle and annoy pundits by mysteriously failing to drop dead.

"WoW will remain successful," eh Elysium? Really making some risky predictions this year.

CaptainCrowbar wrote:

OK, time to stick my neck out again. In 2010...

* The Apple tablet will be released early in the year and will be dominated by some big surprise feature that nobody expected. Includng me, so I won't make any predictions about it.

It will feature a bendable touchscreen "digital paper"-like interface that is folded away when not in use.

The Jonman Analyzing Prognostication Emulator predicts that:

  • 2010 will be the year that the chickens of rising development costs come home to roost in the nest of bankruptcy. Publishers will lose enough money on "AAA" releases that the model is only seen as viable for games with a concrete sales history (Halo, GTA, CoD). Expect to see far more mid-range games and fewer AAA releases. Probably won't see the full impact of this on release schedules until 2011.
  • Facebook/Twitter will be old news and a new social media application will launch to great fanfare and predictions of "the end of Facebook".
  • PC gaming will die for the 12th successive year.
  • Natal and WhateverthehellSonyarecallingtheirwand™ will launch and flop mightily. Both companies try everything to get the devices installed under existing userbase's TVs, to little effect. A lacklustre supporting software lineup will be blamed, of which 90% will be some variation on "Gesticulating Spastic Minigames"
  • Heavy Rain sales will be dire. David Cage will finally get the bloody message and bugger off to a different medium where the emphasis actually is on narrative.
  • Sony launches a microwave that is compatible with PSN games, allowing you to play while your nachos cook.
  • Some venture-capital-funded startup announces a 3D virtual reality headset device. Again.
  • Only one hardware company announces a new console (although the rumours will be flying). My money's on a new Nintendo handheld device that's radically different to the DS. It will not feature any kind of reasonable online functionality.

Nice trademark usage there Jonman. That made me lol.

Oh yeah, one more I forgot to include:

* By the end of the year it will be obvious to everyone, with the possible exception of James Cameron, that 3D movies are a flash in the pan, just like every other time they've been tried. Most of the 3D TV projects now on the drawing board will be canceled; any that aren't will be the laughing stock of the CE industry.

After the podcast, I decided to go back and see how I did on last year's:

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

Bang on but not really a hard prediction to make.

-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.

Nope, I got that wrong. Second sentence is still true in my opinion but as per my 2010 predictions, this won't be enough for Activision this year.

-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.

Nope, wrong.

-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.

Half right. I think DRM has become less heavy-handed in the last year and a lot of publishers learned their lessons. Some have stuck to the tougher regimes as well. However, we haven't really heard any CEOs whining about how piracy is killing them this year, that seems to have died down.

-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.

Right and right. This year's big debate was on how to deploy DLC more than piracy.

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

Wrong. By all accounts, it's a smash hit on PC.

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

No one really knows but since Atari hasn't been putting out press releases trumpeting their successes, I'd say this is probably wrong or at least neutral.

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

Right on but we didn't hear anything from management.

-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.

Bang on.

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

It did sell well but based on reviews and my impressions with the demo, this is right. I do think Ensemble could have gone out on a better note.

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

Yep.

-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.

Right, awesome in some ways but very flawed in others. Some don't think so but this is the general consensus. We don't know exactly how well it sold but from what I understand, Double Fine was a small team and probably made money on the 800K or so people believe it sold. It was expected to be a mega hit though and wasn't.

-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.

I'm going to call this one wrong honestly. AC2 went way further than I thought and was a much bigger improvement than I expected. However, I am pleased to say that Jade Raymond got the promotion she deserved for being good at her job and hasn't been turned into an attractive spokesperson for Ubisoft. Good for her, I'm glad to be wrong on that.

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

Right, Natal and Sony Motion Controller don't count as new systems and we did get the PS3 Slim.

-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.

Up until the PS3 Slim, I believe I was right and I was right on the latter point.

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

Half right because MadWorld and The Conduit were generally considered to not be good games but no one bought them and most 3rd party titles (including great ones like Dead Space Extraction) bombed.

-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.

I'll admit it, I was dead wrong but I'm still not going near the iPhone any time soon and iPhone snobs need to STFU.

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

Unfortunately right.

-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.

Definitely right on the former point but I don't know about the latter. Given the incredibly limited resources 1UP now has, their remaining staff is doing a damn good job with what they have but little content they've put out has really compelled me to go near the site on a regular basis.

Overall, I'd say I did pretty well. Honestly though, given that most of my correct predictions were in regards to bad things that happened, I wish I was wrong more often.

Kurrelgyre wrote:

Apple's tablet computer will be the first to combine pen input (using an active digitizer) with a capacitive multi-touch display and be a huge success.

I can't believe I forgot about this; I think there's a patent somewhere and I KNOW I mentioned this somewhere...

Also,

Kurrelgyre wrote:

PopCap will buy Team17.

Does your crystal ball see if they make any good 2D Worm sequels? I need my fix...

Also, is Certis considering locking the thread, like he did last year?

- Space simulators will achieve some renewed interest in the form of multiplayer-only games. (Maybe it's more of a wish than prediction)

Also, is Certis considering locking the thread, like he did last year?

Probably in a week or two, yeah.

I don't generally make predictions, but here's one.

Starcraft II, if it launches, will be a monster success.

Despite the 30-40 hour single player campaign internet whiners will continue to whine on the internet about the 'immoral' serialization of the game.

Most of these people are playing pirated versions of Starcraft Broodwars anyway.

Grubber788 wrote:

- Space simulators will achieve some renewed interest in the form of multiplayer-only games. (Maybe it's more of a wish than prediction)

Well, there are a couple in the pipeline. Black Prophecy and Jumpgate Evolution. I believe there is another, but I can't think of it.

Yew wrote:
- World of Warcraft will remain the dominant North American MMO with Cataclysm's launch likely to be within 1 month on either side of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Sorry Sean, but wrong on the SW:TOR part at least.

Hmm, starting out 0 for 1, and we're only two weeks in.

I've got one prediction for this year, which pretty much flies directly in the face of Rabbit's optimism about Facebook gaming:

- More developers will flock to facebook. More VC money will flock to facebook developers. The market will be absolutely flooded with Farmville clones (which fail because Farmville already exists) and some real, more interesting games (which fail because people interested in more interesting games are already playing them, and they aren't interested in playing neutered versions on Facebook). The magnitude of this failure won't be evident until 2011, but 2010 will hint at the inevitable collapse with a paucity of success stories.

I think of Farmville like I think of WoW, and I think of the Facebook gaming fad as I think of the WoW clone fad. You've got a breakout success that reveals a market that nobody realized was there, which understandably lures the money men and developers in like moths to a flame.

The issue is that the dominant player's staggering success essentially defines the expectations for the entire market, and the best way for a competitor to effectively survive in a world dominated by such a juggernaut is to go niche - and be OK with it. And in general, I really doubt people drawn in by Zynga's astronomical success are really looking to go niche.

There is a key distinction, though; the barrier to entry for bringing a facebook game to market is a lot lower, so there's less on the line and you can dick around with your VC money longer. So it's cheaper to make a Facebook game than a traditional game, and maybe you can make 10 Farmville clones for less than you can make one WoW clone, but is your chance of success ultimately any better? And, even if by some miracle you do reach a market, what kind of revenue are you really looking at from microtransactions and/or data mining?

Certis - if you take a slightly different meaning of "to release" then you were spot on about Duke Forever... it was definitely released from some sort of purgatory or spiritual limbo.

I didn't do so badly even considering most of my predictions were tongue-in-cheek.:

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

- 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.

- 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. Amazingly i've seen these two fizzle out but there's been no replacement as far as i saw

- 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.

I agree with:
- Microsoft will be the first to have rumblings of a new console in the works. It will be a smaller technological leap than before, mostly being a refresh along the lines of the PS3 slim. Expect it around the Natal launch.

- Efforts to bring more "non-gamers" into the flock will stall as "real gamers" call for games that are harder, faster and longer. Though it's more from the lack of interest from non-gamers than the industry listening to the "real gamers".

- Project Natal and the Sony Eyeraper -- or whatever it's called -- will roll out with great fanfare and then promptly fall down, as adoption of the technology into AAA games that people actually want to play will be slow and hesitant. As the lackluster reception to recent peripheral-centric games like Tony Hawk: Ride and DJ Hero suggests, consumers are fatigued with material add-ons that don't seem to hold much long-term value. High retail costs will scare people away from Natal/Eyeraper, or at least delay mass purchases until the platforms grow past the tech demo stage and it is proven that we're not looking at another PlayStation Eye or Sega 32x here.

- Gorgeous Rob Borges

- Bioshock 2 will suffer from poor sales as much of what made the original game great will have been lost in the sequel.

- I will finally find a way to make a living doing what I love, and all will be right with world. (One can dream can't he?) I think he'll star as Al Pacino's ass in a shower scene

* Issues between Hollywood and the gaming industry concerning actors in games (both voice and likeness) and their compensation will start to come to a head.

I disagree with:

- Half Life Episode 3 will be officially announced and released this year. It will feature a similar Orange Box style package and include Portal 2, which everyone will agree is fun but lacks the surprise charm of the original. Well, technically i agree with the second half about Portal 2's comparison with Portal

- DJ Hero will see a sequel

Things i would love to be true:

- Activision will suffer double digit losses vs. 2009 and 2008 as rhythm game sales weaken and the Call of Duty franchise becomes soft. By the end of the year Bobby Kotick's job will be in serious question.

My predictions:

- 3D gaming will not take off this year beyond 1 or 2 small titles.

- The Hunter will make the jump, in some form, to consoles with tweaked gameplay, stats/achievements and challenges.

- Modern Warfare 2 will receive a Zombie DLC pack which will be hugely successful.

- Zombie games will fizzle out, the meme having since been exorcised (or whatever you do with them) and Persian/Egyptian/Greek mythology will make a come-back with the Prince of Persia film and tie-in game leading the way (not to mention God of War 3).

- Information about Assassin's Creed 3 will be mooted..... People will finally realise that it's just a re-skin of what the Matrix Trilogy could have been.

- Arkham Asylum 2 will look really good (i doubt it'll be released by the end of the year)

- All the major publishers (minus Ubisoft which will continue doing its thing quietly) will take on an Activision strategy and will thus continue to haemorrhage money and jobs because they don't have the big titles to lean on.Looks like i may already be wrong on teh Ubisoft front

- The irony will be that in half a year to a year Activision will announce a renewed push towards more creative games on the back of its ailing music franchises effectively showing that it really is the market leader and the other companies are all just mindless sheep.

- Christmas 2010 will look sparse on the AAA game front and 2011 will look like a really bad year for game releases coming off the back of the economic down-turn.

- Drakensang 2 will be released to little fanfare but will be popular amongst RPG fans for its particular, if safe, style of play.

- Alpha Protocol will be compared, unfairly, to Mass Effect 1 and 2 and will sell poorly due to a lack of marketing and confusion amongst the general playerbase.

- id's Rage will be released (it will be good) and the id Tech 5 will be acclaimed by the industry however Zenimax will not share it with other people, older id tech will not become "free" as has been the case in the past.... there will be no mod tools for the game.

- Post apocalyptic game settings will increase toward the end of the year and climax in mid/late 2011 as 2012 approaches but then disappear along with the Mad Max remake/sequel which will be "forgotten" and people will say, "You know, it's a shame they only ever made three Mad Max films...".

[edit] Gah! What the hell, i'll make a valve prediction too:

- I predict that Portal 2 will be announced and it will be released by the end of the year (end of Nov, early Dec). HL2 Ep3 will be mooted for summer 2011.

Coldtouch wrote:

-WoW Cataclysm will be the highest selling game of the year. It will garner most of the end-of-the-year awards, even though it will be the exact same game it was years ago with a face-lift.

I really don't know how anyone could possibly think that WoW is the same game today as it was years ago, even before the release of Cataclysm. It boggles my mind that incomprehensible thoughts such as these, akin to claiming the original and recent re-release of pacman are the exact same game, continue to be flouted when the only thing they could possibly be (as seen through the eyes of someone who actually knows what they're talking about) is pointless denial of it's unbounded success, and continuing innovation and refinement.

Haters gotta hate (hell, I do it regularly) but todays MMO's have a lot to thank WoW for, just as WoW has a lot to thank its predecessors for.

harrisben wrote:
Coldtouch wrote:

-WoW Cataclysm will be the highest selling game of the year. It will garner most of the end-of-the-year awards, even though it will be the exact same game it was years ago with a face-lift.

I really don't know how anyone could possibly think that WoW is the same game today as it was years ago, even before the release of Cataclysm.

It's an interesting topic. I'd say that there's a lot more difference in gameplay between WotLK-era WoW and vanilla (and possibly even BC) than between, say, Overlord and Overlord II, or Half-life and Half-life 2. I guess a lot of the differences are less glaring since they trickled in, but if you tally up the changes (better quest design, flying, dual specs, improved viability of different specs, new LFD system for starters) they're more change than you'd normally get with a sequel in a lot of genres. I wonder how much the perception of same vs. new game is tied into the graphics engine?

harrisben wrote:
Coldtouch wrote:

-WoW Cataclysm will be the highest selling game of the year. It will garner most of the end-of-the-year awards, even though it will be the exact same game it was years ago with a face-lift.

I really don't know how anyone could possibly think that WoW is the same game today as it was years ago, even before the release of Cataclysm. It boggles my mind that incomprehensible thoughts such as these, akin to claiming the original and recent re-release of pacman are the exact same game, continue to be flouted when the only thing they could possibly be (as seen through the eyes of someone who actually knows what they're talking about) is pointless denial of it's unbounded success, and continuing innovation and refinement.

Haters gotta hate (hell, I do it regularly) but todays MMO's have a lot to thank WoW for, just as WoW has a lot to thank its predecessors for.

All I have heard about Cataclysm so far is that it will have two new races, more dungeons, flying mounts in old content, and a graphics overhaul. Sounds like its the same game with a face-lift so far. The content being overhauled (levels 1-60 experience) is not going to be altered in any other way. The new content is combination of fluff, some extra levels, and more gear to grind for. If you think that this is enough to garner critical acclaim, then so be it. I personally don't agree that it should as the features stand today.

If you are upset simply because of the "same game it was in the past" remark, then Sonicators' post is a good beginning for my response. Most of WoW's changes have been features refined and added over a long period of time. Those features streamline the gameplay experience to make it a more enjoyable game than it already was. WotLK added some interesting tools to do this, especially the cross-server dungeons. It also improved the game's appeal by adding a nice introduction sequence to their new Death Knight and improved overall narrative development in MMORPGs (something very difficult for MMOs to do well). WoW often brings in feature improvements that it refined from competitor MMOs, which is exactly what Blizzard does best. However, I don't see much of this innovation in regards to Cataclysm, and it leads me to hypothesize that the enthusiasts will be overly generous in their praise of the game.

I never stated that WoW was a bad game. I never stated that WoW made zero improvements in it's own development or that it has had no influence in the genre. Please stop putting false words in my mouth. Despite your assumptions, WoW was fun game for me in the time I spent with it.

Wow...people in here are so well informed. I feel ashamed now. I know nothing of developers and distributors and share holders as much as you guys do. Anyway, I'll take a stab at it:

*Starcraft 2 chapter 1 is released to Beatles-like-popularity. People will go Ballistic over it, and won't be able to wait for the other chapters to release probably in 2011.

*FF13 becomes top 5 seller, but not in North America. Game will have 8average reviews and won't sell as much here. Overseas might be a different story.

*TF2 releases Engie update, and Meet the Medic/Pyro videos finally!

*TF2 contribution site update will see the actual implementation of at least 4 user-made weapons/items in game.

*Valve releases its L4D plans of creating groups of survivors in different parts of America, and all of them traveling to one location. Each installment will provide 4 new survivors, and in the end, some will die, rest will be in final L4D chapter. News is released in 2010, but actual games, no information is given.

*EA finally reveals secret project they're working on turns out to be a "Syndicate" continuation.

*2010 will be a year without any Metroid.

*LucasArts decides to give other old franchises a go. Makes episodic Day of the Tentacle/Maniac Mansion game, in the veins of what they did with Monkey Island.

*No new 3 main consoles released. But perhaps updates announced.

*Bayonetta gets a sequel announced. Kexx pukes in immediate reaction.

That's it!

Coldtouch wrote:

If you are upset simply because of the "same game it was in the past" remark, then Sonicators' post is a good beginning for my response. Most of WoW's changes have been features refined and added over a long period of time. Those features streamline the gameplay experience to make it a more enjoyable game than it already was. WotLK added some interesting tools to do this, especially the cross-server dungeons. It also improved the game's appeal by adding a nice introduction sequence to their new Death Knight and improved overall narrative development in MMORPGs (something very difficult for MMOs to do well). WoW often brings in feature improvements that it refined from competitor MMOs, which is exactly what Blizzard does best. However, I don't see much of this innovation in regards to Cataclysm, and it leads me to hypothesize that the enthusiasts will be overly generous in their praise of the game.

I never stated that WoW was a bad game. I never stated that WoW made zero improvements in it's own development or that it has had no influence in the genre. Please stop putting false words in my mouth. Despite your assumptions, WoW was fun game for me in the time I spent with it.

Seems like the only person getting upset here is you.

Eerie. I had a dream last night that GoG will close its doors. Get those deals while you can!

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Seems like the only person getting upset here is you.

It's kinda hard not to get a little upset when someone throws out a bunch of bad assumptions while knowing nothing about the person. I clarified why I made my stupid, poorly worded prediction and I'm content to leave it at that.

All I have heard about Cataclysm so far is that it will have two new races, more dungeons, flying mounts in old content, and a graphics overhaul. Sounds like its the same game with a face-lift so far. The content being overhauled (levels 1-60 experience) is not going to be altered in any other way. The new content is combination of fluff, some extra levels, and more gear to grind for. If you think that this is enough to garner critical acclaim, then so be it. I personally don't agree that it should as the features stand today.

I think it's legitimate to look at it both ways.

Rather, I think you're completely wrong and that this is a superficial take on the game that lacks nuance at best, BUT I think as someone who may not be engaged by the fundamental game or who has lost "faith" in the model the sophistication of Cataclysm's change isn't significant. I can say pretty confidently that Cataclysm will be nothing like Vanilla WoW, but I say that as someone who has bought into the system. I _don't_ think Cataclysm would overcome most initial objections to the base gameplay -- not like I can run around saying if you hated WoW you're going to love it now, which I suspect is more in line with where you are coming from.

It's also worth stating that Blizzard would be monumentally foolish to change the core game that has earned them millions of subscribers.