Bold Predictions 2011

It's that special time of year again when we all put on our funny hats and predict the future. Last year wasn't pretty for me (I said that last year, too) as I predicted the decline of Rockstar Games only to give Red Dead Redemption my game of the year nod a few weeks ago. I don't think there's enough jam in the whole world to make that crow go down any smoother.

As hope springs eternal, so do our predictions. This year I'm going to nail it. Things are going to change, I can feel it. My first prediction is so rich in nutrients, you won't have to eat anything for the rest of the day.

Every MMORPG that launches with a $14.99 monthly fee will fail to meet their goals, hemorrhage staff and ultimately scale back until it's positioned to scrape by.

It's time to make your predictions, folks! Make sure you check out last year's thread and see how you did. As usual, I'll be locking this one down in a few weeks.

Shawn's Predictions

The PSP 2 Will be Announced With a Touch Screen - For real this time. Last year I predicted the PSP2 would be announced with a touch screen and 3D support. Despite the near constant rumblings, Sony still hasn't shown us what's next for the platform. But this year ... THIS YEAR, we'll see an announcement for the PSP 2 and it will retain the controls from the PSP while challenging the iPhone with a touch screen and their own app style store.

The Playstation Move Platform Will be Marginalized - Much like the Eye Toy, the Move platform will be around but it will not be a major force in the gaming scene. Software support will be tepid.

Kinect Will Have a Must-Buy Game by Fall - I mean that in the hardcore gamer sense. It won't be your typical shooter, but it will capture the imaginations of curmudgeonly gamers.

New Nintendo Console - Nintendo will announce a new home console this year.

Non-Rabbit Julian's Predictions

Blizzard No-shows - Diablo III in 2011? Not so much. I'm not sure though if that actually counts as bold prediction at this point. Anyone waiting for information on whatever MMO project the studio is hiding behind the name Titan will be disappointed, too. According to those allegedly leaked documents, it's supposed to ship in 2013. I'll eat a shoe or something should that actually happen.

The 3DS online experience will both rock and suck - It'll be smoother and more streamlined than the online approaches Nintendo took with the Wii and the NDS. Some games will use StreetPass/SpotPass to great effect and do some neat stuff with those concepts. And yet there will be something highly annoying about the way accounts, '3DSWare', and/or matchmaking are being managed that makes you wonder why the guys behind this didn't take a hint from the competition. Once again.

The Spy Who Dodged Me - Remember that PS3-exclusive Rockstar game Sony originally announced at E3 2007 and then re-announced at E3 2009 in order to dampen the noise of GTA IV being multiplatform from the get-go and Microsoft's DLC exclusivity deal? That Agent is so good and covert that he's not going to be seen by anyone in 2011 either.

The Indie Crystal Ball - The often delayed Fez will actually get released some time this year in order to avoid Vaporware 2011 honors. Monaco will be so great that it's going to knock you straight out of your socks*. Minecraft winning the Seumas McNally Grand Prize in the Independent Games Festival 2011? Yeah, probably. Also, by the end of the year, the former indie darling will have turned into a "big corporate behemoth that has completely sold out." Or so a really, really vocal part of the core community will claim before equipping themselves with pitchforks and torches.

* Even if you didn't wear any. That's just how awesome it's going to be.

Momgamer's Musings

Mass Effect 3 will not cure cancer Or anything else for that matter. It will launch with all due hype, but the first round of players will find they didn't get the epiphanic effect they got from the last two games and feel let down. The rest of us will ignore them, shudder just a bit as the game crosses and re-crosses the Uncanny Valley in all the cutscenes, and then go on to happily blow up a metric butt-tonne of Reapers.

Yet another set of game invites to ignore Civilization Network (the Facebook rendition of the classic) will finally launch to a yawn in the gaming press despite Bryan Reynolds' credentials with the franchise. The only saving grace will be that my relatives and friends who spend far more time than is healthy in Farmville and the restaurant apps probably won't jump in on this one.

Square still won't do a PS3 reboot of Final Fantasy VII Unfortunately, the fansites who keep drooling about this won't shut up, and it will continue to be brought up by wishfully-thinking fangirls at the drop of any hat. I'm basing my thoughts mostly on the fact that we're at the 10 year anniversary for Final Fantasy X, and I hope with all my heart they're going to do something to save Spira from the corner they painted it into in X-2 before the whole place eats itself. However, I will go out on a limb here and say the long rumored re-work of Final Fantasy VI will be announced for Nintendo's 3DS.

Allen "Pyroman[FO]" Cook

Minecraft wasn't an anomaly
There will be another out-of-nowhere indie breakout this year with the multi-million dollar magnitude of Minecraft. It will be a very good game and probably the last thing you expect. It will be a small development team unaligned with any major publisher and still be considered a "fluke" by most of the gaming press.

"Gamers" will discount Kinect/iPad for serious games, and nobody will care
The gaming press and community will continue not to embrace the iPad/Kinect for "serious" games in 2011 despite record sales of games for both. There will be some very impressive and unique games for these platforms but gamers will discount them because of the ease-of-use and lack of discrete buttons. The millions of people who don't follow gaming blogs won't care one iota, and will have tons of fun.

Without-glasses 3D (a.k.a 3DS) will become the central feature of next-gen portable devices
TVs will limit the home consoles from getting too excited about 3D without glasses, but for portable devices the floodgates will open. Almost everyone who is releasing a portable device capable of gaming will announce a glasses-free 3D device by the end of the year. Apple probably won't, but will be planning one anyway.

wordsmythe

A new golden age of game criticism
Game writers love to complain about how bad most writing about games is. A few have taken real steps to do something about that, but they're often steps in opposite directions, leading to too many cliques of isolated thinkers. I think this yearn a network communication model will emerge that helps form a real, cohesive culture of thoughtful criticism that isn't ashamed to leave the DudeBros behind.

Rise of alt cons
I know it's only half the cost of airfare to SFO, but the cost of entry to GDC is still prohibitively high, and other options are getting more and more attractive. There's space between PAX, GDC and academic conferences for something special, and I think we see something start to fill that space this year.

Indie freak out
The indie scene is strong, but a lot of attention lately has been on polish--old mechanics and ideas with good art and sound and tight controls. This year we see the crazies come back into the spotlight, and Fringe Busters will forget about featuring games that are "just a fun, little" anything. Also, Pyroman might punch me for that last sentence.

Cory "Demiurge" Banks

The MMO Will (Finally) Evolve - Driven by the financial success of Turbine's free-to-play model and a desire to break away from WoW clones, the MMO industry will finally push the envelope on what a massive online experience can be. My guess? The first true successful FPS MMO will be in beta at least by end of 2011.

The 3DS Launches Soft - Consumers will love the concept of 3D without cumbersome glasses, but the steep price point - and continued availability of the DS and DSi - will drive too many of them away. Expect lower revenue numbers for the Big N.

Android As A Serious Gaming Platform - If it's ever gonna happen, it'll be this year. Google will finally get the kind of gaming developer support it's needed, in spite of their "anything goes" model. Serious mobile development houses will follow the same path of Angry Birds developer Rovio for Android success - Ads.

Dominion Will Die - I have nothing to back this claim up, except the breath of a prayer. Please, if there is a Maker, let him end the suffering that is every new expansion of this deck-building dick of a game.

A Digital Distribution Titan Topples - One of the digital distro houses will fall in 2011, due to the simple fact that there's a lot of competition and not enough consumers to go around. Could be Impulse - the PR disaster of Elemental will haunt Brad Wardell for years - or it could be GamersGate. Doubtful that it's Direct2Drive, since it's sitting on that fat IGN cash. Spoiler Alert: It won't be Steam.

Diablo 3 Launches, Top Seller of 2011 - Why the hate, guys? This year's the year we all go back to hell. And it's gonna be awesome.

Dr. Who Special Will Feature Old Doctors - Not gaming related, but every bone in my body tells me this will happen. Just like classic serials "The Three Doctors" and "The Five Doctors," Matt Smith will have an adventure that brings him into the same timestreams of David Tennet and another classic doctor - probably Peter Davidson, the fifth doctor. Rose and her terrible accent will not be featured, thank Baker.

Comments

The FF VII remake is inevitable. A surefire platinum seller has to be more appealing than ever to the execs. Wada was stated as 'considering' the idea as far back as February last year. At the least, we'll get confirmation of its development this year. Super shocker would be if that announcement came at this month's 1st Production Department Premier.

BishopRS wrote:

The FF VII remake is inevitable.

People have been saying that for years. That said I'm not sure what's the future for FF seeing as 13/14 haven't been exactly hot stuff.

BishopRS wrote:

The FF VII remake is inevitable. A surefire platinum seller has to be more appealing than ever to the execs. Wada was stated as 'considering' the idea as far back as February last year. At the least, we'll get confirmation of its development this year. Super shocker would be if that announcement came at this month's 1st Production Department Premier.

I honestly think Sony is waiting for the end times to come before they release the FFVII remake. It alone could save their games division.

Hell, they've probably had one for years and just keep reiterating on it every now and again and are just waiting for when the PSP marketing budget in NA kills their budget.

This will be the year that 15-30$ digitally distributed experiences will start to eat away at the mindshare of the AAA 60$ titles.

HockeyJohnston wrote:

This will be the year that 15-30$ digitally distributed experiences will start to eat away at the mindshare of the AAA 60$ titles.

I'd agree, except for my anxious excitement for Deus Ex, Batman, and a calvacade of other highly anticipated AAA games.

HockeyJohnston wrote:

This will be the year that 15-30$ digitally distributed experiences will start to eat away at the mindshare of the AAA 60$ titles.

In terms of the big overall picture, I don't think so, or at least there are bigger fish to fry first.

-If you're thinking about the PC side, PC is a small piece of the pie. Small indie titles aren't really competing with big games
-If you're thinking of console games, I don't see the big price point drying up, used sales are probably a bigger threat, and there's already schemes being tried to deal with that.
-Older price reduced titles allows people on a budget to get to play the AAA titles, just later than those paying full price, still paying for the same game.
-Piracy might be an issue, and may become a bigger issue with the PS3 hack although I don't see that being a widespread problem soon. I don't see it impacting prices
-If you're thinking of XBLA/PSN, I can't see any major moves or a company putting it front and centre in front of AAA. MS especially seems to just give XBLA just lip-service, than going all-out with it.

Medium budget games really should be a bigger part of the gaming picture, but I can't think of anything on the horizon this year to signal a sudden shift more than any other year. Perhaps I've missed something though.

garion333 wrote:
BishopRS wrote:

The FF VII remake is inevitable. A surefire platinum seller has to be more appealing than ever to the execs. Wada was stated as 'considering' the idea as far back as February last year. At the least, we'll get confirmation of its development this year. Super shocker would be if that announcement came at this month's 1st Production Department Premier.

I honestly think Sony is waiting for the end times to come before they release the FFVII remake. It alone could save their games division.

Hell, they've probably had one for years and just keep reiterating on it every now and again and are just waiting for when the PSP marketing budget in NA kills their budget.

I'm still voting that they'll eventually announce the remake, but it will be a PSP game. Sony owns the publishing rights, after all, and if you're going to give it a graphics upgrade then the PSP is the ideal platform for least-cost and yet obvious differences. Plus, if Sony and Squenix team up for a special edition FF7 PSP Bundle, well, everyone wins.

ccesarano wrote:

I'm still voting that they'll eventually announce the remake, but it will be a PSP game. Sony owns the publishing rights, after all, and if you're going to give it a graphics upgrade then the PSP is the ideal platform for least-cost and yet obvious differences. Plus, if Sony and Squenix team up for a special edition FF7 PSP Bundle, well, everyone wins.

Oh, hadn't thought of that... Then the smart move is for it to be a PSP2 launch title. Hey, one can dream.

Seems to me that the smartest move for all involved would be to release it as a PSN download playable on either the PSP/2 or the PS3. Sony might want it PSP-exclusive since that platform needs a big title more than the PS3, but Squeenix would want it available to as many customers as possible to maximize sales.

hbi2k wrote:

Seems to me that the smartest move for all involved would be to release it as a PSN download playable on either the PSP/2 or the PS3. Sony might want it PSP-exclusive since that platform needs a big title more than the PS3, but Squeenix would want it available to as many customers as possible to maximize sales.

I have not ignored this possibility either. I do know that whichever platform it is on won't make much difference since people will buy a PSP for it, or buy a PS3 for the download. But generally I foresee Squenix putting as little money into it as possible to make as much profit as they can.

BishopRS wrote:

The FF VII remake is inevitable. A surefire platinum seller has to be more appealing than ever to the execs. Wada was stated as 'considering' the idea as far back as February last year. At the least, we'll get confirmation of its development this year. Super shocker would be if that announcement came at this month's 1st Production Department Premier.

The problem is who will develop it? their teams are already producing other titels. And, it will be as costly as producing a completely new game because they cannot reuse any assets.

I hope it is remade so people can see that FFVII isn't that great of a game.

Ulairi wrote:

I hope it is remade so people can see that FFVII isn't that great of a game.

Good luck. Instead people will just say they ruined it and go back to playing the original on PSN or their Playstations.

One more prediction: every major 360-exclusive title released this year will have some sort of Win Phone 7 tie-in like the tower defense game for Crackdown 2.

Ulairi wrote:

And, it will be as costly as producing a completely new game because they cannot reuse any assets.

Couldn't they reuse assets from the FFVII spin-offs if it was a PSP game?

I didn't get my 'predictions' into the main article, but here they are anyway!


Clemenstation's Peach Cobbler

This year, SquareEnix will announce a complete multi-platform re-release of Final Fantasy VII, having greedily enjoyed the rather undeserved profits from Final Fantasy XIII, and figuring that if people would buy that at full price, well then. Plus, they were out of ideas anyway. Square moves ahead with the project behind great fanfare, and the game is eventually released in 2013. It looks gorgeous (except on the 3DS), introduces a new sidequest about Vincent Valentine (with extra DLC adventures available, except on the 3DS), and adds emphatic voice acting for all the characters, which absolutely crushes the game beneath a mountain of cheese. Additionally, the plot has been 'slightly tweaked'.

Nobody is entirely happy. Shortly after, full 3D remakes are announced for perennial SNES favorites Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy III.

Spoiler:

Final Fantasy 6

Next, the AAA studios fall behind as video game storytellers. This has been happening for some time now. I don't see a lot of difference between Mass Effect's conversation wheel, the conventional list of conversation topics seen in recent Fallout games, or good old fashioned commands to 'talk' (The Sims). I get a certain thrill when I'm fooled into thinking that an AI character within a fantastical, well-crafted fiction can respond to me, has emotions, is a viable entity to consider. It's just not happening here. These three-branched conversation trees and pre-canned dialog are placed well apart, disconnected from the otherwise act of play. The stories told are interesting, but they're rarely engaging. You stop to watch them. Fable II was onto something with those crowd-affecting expressions -- they just needed to stop treating them like an unending poot joke -- but the recent third game lobotomized them entirely.
So my prediction here is that some enterprising young start-up will spend a lot of time crafting an ingenuous and generally compatible system of generic social interactions, emotional sliders which are convincing and more importantly finally fun for the player to play with. Yes, it will be fascinating to play and react to, even without the added benefit of characters and plot and dialog and million-dollar animation slotted on top. BioWare will snatch it up on the cheap.

Finally, someone will get the bright idea to make an 'ultra-competitive' game for the Kinect, to attract hardcore audiences. It will be motion gaming's Halo, or Modern Warfare, or hopefully even Mortal Kombat. Perhaps there will even be a professional (promotional) competition in 2013. The problem is, as people will quickly find out, you can't really base a high-level competitive game -- where the rules must be precisely balanced for all players -- on a system where the input device is variably interpretive in what it chooses to recognize. That's what buttons are good for: you either pressed it and won, or you didn't, and lost.

ccesarano wrote:
Ulairi wrote:

I hope it is remade so people can see that FFVII isn't that great of a game.

Good luck. Instead people will just say they ruined it and go back to playing the original on PSN or their Playstations.

That's my current plan.

Clemenstation wrote:

Next, the AAA studios fall behind as video game storytellers. This has been happening for some time now. I don't see a lot of difference between Mass Effect's conversation wheel, the conventional list of conversation topics seen in recent Fallout games, or good old fashioned commands to 'talk' (The Sims). I get a certain thrill when I'm fooled into thinking that an AI character within a fantastical, well-crafted fiction can respond to me, has emotions, is a viable entity to consider. It's just not happening here. These three-branched conversation trees and pre-canned dialog are placed well apart, disconnected from the otherwise act of play. The stories told are interesting, but they're rarely engaging. You stop to watch them. Fable II was onto something with those crowd-affecting expressions -- they just needed to stop treating them like an unending poot joke -- but the recent third game lobotomized them entirely.
So my prediction here is that some enterprising young start-up will spend a lot of time crafting an ingenuous and generally compatible system of generic social interactions, emotional sliders which are convincing and more importantly finally fun for the player to play with. Yes, it will be fascinating to play and react to, even without the added benefit of characters and plot and dialog and million-dollar animation slotted on top. BioWare will snatch it up on the cheap.

Just out of curiosity, did you give Alpha Protocol a shot?

Clemenstation wrote:

Next, the AAA studios fall behind as video game storytellers.

The thing is, it's not as though *anyone* has really good storytellers in the games space, so I don't see so much falling behind, as maintaining the status quo. What you might be driving at is that the AAA studios are mostly risk adverse, but one segment being risk adverse doesn't automatically translate into other smaller developers having a game storytelling epiphany that leaves the AAAs in the dust.

garion333 wrote:

Just out of curiosity, did you give Alpha Protocol a shot?

I'm getting a copy next week actually! Will it revise my opinion?

Scratched wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

Next, the AAA studios fall behind as video game storytellers.

The thing is, it's not as though *anyone* has really good storytellers in the games space, so I don't see so much falling behind, as maintaining the status quo. What you might be driving at is that the AAA studios are mostly risk adverse, but one segment being risk adverse doesn't automatically translate into other smaller developers having a game storytelling epiphany that leaves the AAAs in the dust.

I was more driving at the point that the mechanical systems of social interaction in these games are stale, rather than the stories themselves. I don't see smaller developers as better storytellers but (as you say) they are less risk-adverse -- meaning the possibility of a bold new system that encompasses conversation and general public sociability seems more likely to arise here, rather than via a AAA game.

But yes, you're right: a prediction rather than an inevitability.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

At least one big name Japanese publisher is going to unexpectedly close up shop or downsize dramatically, due to financial problems. Sega always seems like an easy pick whenever futility is part of the conversation, but Konami, Capcom, and Square Enix have all had their own red flags in 2010.

Having spent the day looking at the company, my money's on Konami.

Clemenstation wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Just out of curiosity, did you give Alpha Protocol a shot?

I'm getting a copy next week actually! Will it revise my opinion?

A bit, probably. It's still very much the Bioware/Mass Effect model, but with some interesting twists that make it seem less binary and more realistic. I wouldn't say AP does all the things you're talking about, but it definitely innovates conversations.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Ulairi wrote:

And, it will be as costly as producing a completely new game because they cannot reuse any assets.

Couldn't they reuse assets from the FFVII spin-offs if it was a PSP game?

And if an FF7 remake would sell as well or better than a completely new game, does it matter?

  • Many more titles will release with support for PlayStation Move this year. It will largely be ignored by everyone.
  • Kinect hardware will continue to sell, despite only seeing a very small number of titles trickle out until the Christmas season.
  • One more Guitar Hero each for consoles and portables. Still no Sitar Hero.
  • No FFVII HD remake. But it will come to iOS.
  • A redesigned Wii will be announced without Gamecube compatibility. It will not be the Wii HD. It will not play DVD movies. It will also not be that much cheaper.
  • OnLive will be offered as a channel on the Wii.
  • The 3DS will have shockingly competent online capabilities.
  • Mass Effect 3 will slip into 2012.
  • L4D3 will appear, set on the west coast.
ccesarano wrote:

There will be at least three awesome third party games on the Wii that everyone ignores. The perpetuating myth of the Wii having "no good hardcore games" will continue.
[/b]

ccesarano - A bit off topic, but I would be interested to know what good hardcore games there are on the Wii. Mine sits gathering dust between my wife's rare bursts of WiiFit activity.

Bold prediction: Battlefield 3 turns out to be a ground breaking FPS MMO rather than merely a slightly better version of Bad Company 2. Wouldn't that be good?

Kurrelgyre wrote:
  • A redesigned Wii will be announced without Gamecube compatibility. It will not be the Wii HD. It will not play DVD movies. It will also not be that much cheaper.
  • I'm curious: what do you think they would change about it in a redesign if they don't add features? It's not like it needs a Slim version.

    don_quay wrote:
    ccesarano wrote:

    There will be at least three awesome third party games on the Wii that everyone ignores. The perpetuating myth of the Wii having "no good hardcore games" will continue.
    [/b]

    ccesarano - A bit off topic, but I would be interested to know what good hardcore games there are on the Wii. Mine sits gathering dust between my wife's rare bursts of WiiFit activity.

    Bold prediction: Battlefield 3 turns out to be a ground breaking FPS MMO rather than merely a slightly better version of Bad Company 2. Wouldn't that be good?

    Not really, I don't think so. Rank unlocks make the game unbalanced until you get them - an unnecessary hurdle on a game that aims to be competitive. Having some sort of "crafting", dailies and other grind-friendly systems would lock the game further away from those that do not have the time to unlock stuff, but actually have skill from playing first person shooters for so many years.

    If anything, I'd rather have BF3 follow the models implemented on versions prior to the Bad Company series: everything unlocked, only skill and team work making the difference.

    reductio ad absurdum: I fear that in the future gamers stop thriving to hone their skills, unless the game provides some sort of usable carrot. That is to say, gamers stop yearning the pride of becoming better just for the sake of it.

    oMonarca wrote:

    reductio ad absurdum: I fear that in the future gamers stop thriving to hone their skills, unless the game provides some sort of usable carrot. That is to say, gamers stop yearning the pride of becoming better just for the sake of it.

    While I understand that the skill-challenge aspect of play is important to you, I don't feel that same importance. Care to convince me that games should encourage honing such skills?

    don_quay:

    About the only hardcore games I know of only really release on the PC platform, and most of those are in Japanese. I'm not sure you'd really want to play them, though. Even I don't play all of them - the ones that verge on things like incest and rape are just offensive to me.

    As for Wii games, a fair bit of them would really only appeal to traditional and very dedicated or skilled gamers. For instance, Monster Hunter Tri is, well, a Monster Hunter game. Muramasa is a very traditionally designed somewhat technical side-scrolling 2D brawler. Easier than the old Ninja Gaidens, but apparently still a fair challenge for today's gamers. Shiren is a Roguelike, as is Baroque. Chocobo Mystery Dungeon is Roguelike-lite for the less insane, and it's FF VII inspired - that appeals to some people who were around to enjoy FF VII when it was still fresh.

    There's an interesting Pokemon-clone adventure game on it called Spectrobes, but the documentation on the game is (intentionally?) weak so you have to figure most of it by yourself.

    As a final suggestion, Red Steel 2 now retails cheaply, and you get the WM+ add-on bundled in at a very cheap price if you can find the bundle. Level design is bare, but the combat mechanics are darned good for the first entry in a new genre.

    hbi2k wrote:
    Kurrelgyre wrote:
  • A redesigned Wii will be announced without Gamecube compatibility. It will not be the Wii HD. It will not play DVD movies. It will also not be that much cheaper.
  • I'm curious: what do you think they would change about it in a redesign if they don't add features? It's not like it needs a Slim version.

    I think it would be exactly a slim version. Something to further reduce the cost of making it so they can keep a healthy margin and while dropping the cost. $199 still isn't $99.

    Kurrelgyre wrote:
    hbi2k wrote:
    Kurrelgyre wrote:
  • A redesigned Wii will be announced without Gamecube compatibility. It will not be the Wii HD. It will not play DVD movies. It will also not be that much cheaper.
  • I'm curious: what do you think they would change about it in a redesign if they don't add features? It's not like it needs a Slim version.

    I think it would be exactly a slim version. Something to further reduce the cost of making it so they can keep a healthy margin and while dropping the cost. $199 still isn't $99.

    I don't see this happening, at all. The Wii doesn't need a slim model, and Nintendo can more easily reduce costs by not engineering a new model.

    The Gamecube compatibility won't go away, because it is using basically the same OS as the Gamecube. It's like an iteration of Windows, rather than an entire new platform. I'd really like to see Microsoft do the same thing with the 360 when it finally comes time to do a new console.

    I don't think a DVD player will make it into a Nintendo console, ever. They see no need to pay a royalty to add that functionality when it will likely never be used by most of their customers. And now that the Wii does Netflix streaming, it is even less necessary.

    I'm sure Nintendo is looking for ways to reduce the cost of production all the time, that's a cost to them. They're likely looking for ways to preserve the current pricing as long as possible, and if they do come out with a new model they sure aren't going to make it cheaper.