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.
- 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.