Bold Predictions 2012

I won't lie to you. After my dismal 2010 predictions campaign I played it safe with my 2011 picks. PSP 2 with a touch screen? Sure. Playstation Move will suck? Done. New Nintendo console announced? Boom. I hit some softballs, sure. Am I proud? Not really, but I'll take what I can get. This year things get a bit hazy as the whole industry seems to be on the cusp of either announcing new consoles or coasting through one more year.

My first prediction is so bold they're going to turn it into a Doritos flavor.

Sony will not announce a new console this year. Instead, they will re-launch the PSN as a more competitive online service with heavy Vita integration.

There you have it! Read on for predictions from the GWJ staff. As usual, I encourage everyone to make their own predictions in the comments. I'll be locking the thread up for posterity in a few weeks so no take-backs! Looks like some industrious forum members have already started talking about last year's picks in this thread.

Shawn's Predictions

Nintendo will announce a price and release date for the Wii-U at E3. Price will be $299 and it will ship in the fourth quarter. Lacking any major first party titles at launch, Nintendo will lean on 3rd parties like Ubisoft to fill out the library.

Microsoft will not announce a new console this year. Expect more of the same in terms of Kinect focus and integration.

There will not be a new MMORPG released this year without a free way to play.

Onlive will begin to beta an "Onlive HD" type service that will give premium, HD resolution streaming of new games for customers with the bandwidth to handle it.

Activision will avoid launching any major new franchises this year. Instead, they'll stick with what sells and wait for the new round of consoles before announcing what Bungie is working on.

J.P.'s Prognoses

Freemium Will Innovate or Die - With the freemium model's widespread success comes increased scrutiny, even from casual consumers. Players of all stripes are getting wise to its cruder hooks, like multiple in-game currencies that can be bought for real money. The games that will succeed will be those that meaningfully reward players for microtransactions — not those that restrict access to content until cash has changed hands.

Chrome Will Emerge as a Viable Gaming Platform - Sure, pickings are slim right now; the Chrome Web Store kinda looks like a flea market stall selling cheap knockoffs of iOS and Facebook games. But the recent release of Bastion on Chrome raised a lot of eyebrows, including mine. If a game that made nearly everyone's best-of list this year can succeed in this format, other developers will take notice.

iOS/Mobile Games Will No Longer Sit at the Kids' Table on Year-End Lists - Speaking of best-of lists, the gaming press's instinct to segregate those upstart young mobile games from their console/PC elders in their year-end roundups will continue to fade. More outlets will not feel the need to publish two different lists. Instead, we'll see mobile games interspersed with traditional titles — with fewer apologies.

Sony and Microsoft Will Announce Next-Gen Consoles - ...which will be in stores for holiday 2013 at the earliest.

Diablo III Will Finally Be Released - ...but as a First-Person Shooter. Trololololo!

Erik "wordsmythe" Hanson

Indies oversaturate: The glut of bundled indie sales and markdowns will take its toll. Maintaining interest in indie development will feel like trying to keep up with RSS feeds and social networks, and we'll all have to reprioritize, trim down to focus only on curated links/reviews, or give up and stick to bigger releases.

Newsgames: For smaller games to gain attention in 2012, they'll have to either latch onto or create controversy. Simply being "fun" or "cute" or even "compelling" won't gain enough buzz. As it's an election year in the US, it won't be easy to catch headlines independent of politics in the the US. Controversial games won't necessarily be any good, but you might end up playing them so that you'll be able to speak from knowledge when your relatives or coworkers start using one thin title to rag on games in general.

Gamification plateaus: Plenty of folks hated gamification as soon as it began, and many expected the trend to disappear as quickly as it appeared. But it's not going to blink out of existence. Rather, it's going to move like any other social trend, becoming more popular with less trendy groups — meaning gamification is going to catch on more with soccer moms and middle managers of boring companies. In some places, that could just mean modest improvements on goal-setting and feedback. In others, it could mean a return of a series of cliches from Glengarry Glen Ross.

Charlie "TheWanderer" Hall

Zynga Catches Fire From The Inside Out - There are several possible scenarios I can imagine this billion dollar giant imploding from. First, there's some kind of SEC trouble, some overstatement of this or understatement of that. If that happens, then someone goes to jail and the rats abandon the sinking ship. Second, there's the human relations nightmare that ends up in civil court. They've already overstepped once and got a bit burned. If this happens the company goes sour, but since their customers have little to no brand identification with "Zynga" the company, the IP, which they do know, sells well to other gaming concerns. Zynga ownership comes out smelling like a rose. My bias is large here, but I just don't trust them.

OnLive Gets Bought Out - AT&T, already an investor in the company, doubles down. They then take a hard left and lunge for Nintendo's jugular. Seeing weekness and before their next console can even get any attention in the media at large, AT&T waves their e-peen around ushering in the post-console era. Their color is white like Nintendo's, 50% child-focused, and heavy on the touch and waggle. Piggybacking on an unlimited data plan with a monstrous monthly fee, they promise and deliver AAA games anywhere. Their cloud-only strategy, iOS integration, and thousands of miles of bandwidth support it. Hard line, in home connections continue to work okay, but mobile reception is still sh*t. In 2013 the gambit fails taking OnLive with it.

Board Game Revolution - Something snaps with the old gaurd and a traditional board game springs forth on the dinner tables of America with integral, inviolate tablet integration. It is something engaging that captures the minds of old-school wargamers as well as children.

Games Meet Politics - In this hotly contested election year there is more advertising than ever in the game space. On Facebook, in MMOs, there is a heated race to capture the votes of gamers. It all goes sour when someone plants the wrong ad in the wrong game, and there is a slew of attack ads where gamers are villainized and caught in the middle. Eventually it blows over, and nothing comes of it but a Twitter-rage filled fury of "email your senator"-ish bluster. Obama wins in a squeaker. On page two there is a bit of a blowback towards the makers of Bioshock: Infinite. They get too close to the flame of American history as understood by those who misread it regularly. They become the topic of a few immigration debates on the floor and much lol'd at Fox commenters.

Christos "CY" Reid

Mojang's Cobalt and Scrolls do not perform well - Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that neither game is even going to touch the level of popularity Minecraft experienced, but from what we've seen, Cobalt is a decent platform-shooter hindered by overly complex and badly thought-out controls, and Scrolls is simply a CCG with the looks of a Dragon Age Flash title. I think their overconfidence in their IPs running against the confusion or cynicism of those waiting to experience them is going to hurt.

World of Warcraft will become unrecognisable - Having just come back after a break since mid-Burning Crusade, it's clear that with Pandaria heading towards our computers, the most popular MMO in the world is shifting rapidly towards becoming more accessible, more open to microtransactions, and less like the hardcore screaming-on-vent experience it started out as. What this will do to its client base seems simple - out go the old, in come the new/young.

Non-Rabbit Julian's Predictions

The Indie Crystal Ball: Fez and Monaco will actually get released this year. And it's not like I already predicted that last year. Most of the reviews of Dear Esther will, in some way or another, debate the question whether this experience constitutes a game or not. "This game is 'Minecraft meets [insert game/genre]'" is a description we'll be reading and hearing more often.

Poof: Social games are here to stay, but this year we're going to see some companies fold or at least shrink notably. Turns out that, surprisingly enough, the growth potential of the market is not endless.

Been there, done that #1: It's been more than 10 years since Nintendo introduced a new major IP with Pikmin. (I'm not really counting software like Wii Sports/Fit/Party here since they don't have a specific universe, narrative, and identity: It's about generic Miis being integrated into mini-games.) While they surely know how to innovate within existing franchises, I wouldn't mind exploring a completely new world for a change. The Wii U line-up to be shown before and at E3 2012 probably won't deliver on that though. Nintendo will also admit that they were never quite able to figure out what to do with the Wii Vitality sensor.

Been there, done that #2: Activision will announce the return of Guitar Hero.

Captain Ob(li)vious: 99 percent of the people who threw temper tantrums about Diablo III featuring an RMT auction house and requiring the user to be online all the time will get in line on launch day. Quite the daring prediction, I know. Also, I'm guessing the game will ship in March.

Allen "Pyroman" Cook

Apple with open the AirVideo spec to device manufacturers, with an eye on turning the iPad into a viable home gaming system.

The big three of the next gen of consoles will be Microsoft, Nintendo and Apple. Sony won't show up until it's way too late to matter.

Microsoft's next console will focus on digital distribution, and more importantly they will fix XBL Indie Games so it can more directly compete with the various App Stores that are popping up all over the place.

Games that require specialized peripherals will continue to succeed, despite the music genre implosion.

OnLive will announce their integration with a major digital distribution service.

Cory "Demiurge" Banks

Apple Targets Consoles With New TVs - Not at launch, but by the end of the year the House That Steve Built will actually, honest-to-God take on the big 3 with an app store. We already know there are Apple TVs coming with iTunes integration, so it's not a stretch. The controller? Your existing iOS devices. Get ready for Tiny Wings 2 on your TV.

More Kinect in 2012 - It's selling gangbusters, even without significant 3rd party support. That will change, however, when Activision announces a major Kinect title at E3 from one of its big development house. Outside of optional support in AAA titles, Sony's Move will sit still.

Diablo 3 Becomes Top-Selling Title of 2012 - Just because I was wrong last year doesn't mean I'll be wrong this year. Diablo 3 will sell more than any other title, including console titans. Why not?

The Old Republic Starts Feeling Old - First, EA will announce that its shipped record numbers of SWTOR and generated huge subscription numbers (whatever number it takes to justify $150 million in development costs from BioWare to shareholders). Then, as the months creep in, subscription levels will drop. You'll see excitement when BioWare announces its first expansion at E3, but even with a full dev team working on it, it won't ship until next year. It'll be a shame, since SWTOR is the best MMO to come out in years.

WoW Will Not Go F2P - Ever. But Mists of Pandara will be the lowest-selling expansion yet.

Wii U Will Not Cost U Much - After the 3DS pricing error, Nintendo will cut features to bring the new Wii down to $199, if not cheaper. Should be easy to do, since they've hardly announced any features anyway. There still won't be much software support for launch, however, and Nintendo will scramble to get big third party publishers to release early.

That's all I've got for now. Kind of hardware heavy, but oh well.

Sean "Elysium Sands

XTV -- Xbox will announce plans to incorporate Xbox and Kinect technology integrated into a television as part of their next gen plans.

SWTOR clears 3 Million -- By end of 2012 Star Wars: The Old Republic will clear 3 million users.

The Three Box -- Valve will announce and release a pack akin to the Orange Box that will include Left4Dead 3, Portal 3 & HL2 Ep3

Digital Distribution -- 2 major publishers will announce proprietary digital distribution services built off the EA Origin model.

F2P -- No plans are announced in 2012 to move World of WarCraft or SWTOR to a free to play model.

Julian "rabbit" Murdoch

1: Wii U launches with the ability for two controllers. We don't care very much.

2: The new Xbox is officially announced, and Microsoft aggressively
pursues the inclusion of basic Xbox functionality in other devices
(ala Airplay), like TVs.

3: Diablo 3, while selling very well, fails to get the kind of "still
playing it 3 months later" legs that gamers expect.

4: A major successful release comes out exclusively for Native Client.

5: We'll see a major successful iOS game get the boardgame treatment,
not the other way around.

Colleen "momgamer" Hannon

Mobile Gaming and AAA Gaming Will Continue to Blend: With the release of classics like Final Fantasy III (and the rumored rest of the series) on the iOS devices, the line between tablets/phones and big disk games will continue to blur.

WiiU is going to show great potential, but choke on content: Once they get gamers past the rumored painfully high list price, they're going to have to get game developers to deal with a whole new control model. It will be a painful, spotty mess for at least the whole first year as companies scrabble like mice in a Mason jar to figure out how to work old-school keyboard and controller control schemes intelligently with the tablet interface.

Comments

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Stop stealing my thoughts! I like your first party list, but find it very hard to imagine Smash Bros will appear at launch.

I hadn't realized that Project Sora was doing Kid Icarus: Uprising, so yeah, not much chance of Smash Bros. at launch.

I had typed up what I thought the pack in would be (it is what you say) in another thread and realized it was in the wrong place.

It wasn't until I saw Wuhu Island in Pilotwings Resort and Mario Kart 7 that I really realized that Nintendo sees that as the setting for it's Wii (game) franchise. It's the counterpoint to non-Rabbit Julian's comment: "(I'm not really counting software like Wii Sports/Fit/Party here since they don't have a specific universe, narrative, and identity: It's about generic Miis being integrated into mini-games.)"

I do wonder if Retro will bring anything to market for launch. I've gotta believe Nintendo really wants them to get something out there and it's been a good wait, with their only other credit since DKCR being some classic track modeling in MK7.

They have a WiiU dev kit and are working on "something everyone wants [them] to do." Who the heck knows what that is? They seem to release a game about every 2-3 years, so even with the development assist they gave to Mario Kart 7, I can't imagine they don't have something ready to go.

I'd add we'll likely see another Rabbids game (after a much need break. 1 was fun, 2 was ok 3 was getting old) and a Just Dance game, because that list needs more Ubisoft.

Undoubtedly the final launch list will have a lot of Ubisoft. I'm thinking at least one other military-themed thing in addition to Future Soldier like Splinter Cell Retribution. I'd also forgotten about Killer Freaks from Outerspace.

shoptroll wrote:

Probably not. I'm just accustomed to Nintendo's release schedule of late where you get dollops of first party games every few months and that's all you get from them for the year. Mario, Smash, Pikmin and something from Retro is a hell of a first 3 months. Not that I'd complain if that actually happened.

Of course, they'd probably not release much else for the rest of the year ;)

They don't have anything announced, Wii-wise, except for Xenoblade Chronicles, which has been finished for a couple years, and Mario Party 9. Otherwise, it's all 3DS stuff.

I don't post much around here, but I was listening to the podcast and had these thoughts, so I figured why not have everyone tell me how crazy I am?

Bold predictions from a guy you don't know:

1.) The next generation xbox will be announced - not very bold, I know, but it's a foundation for what's to come

2.) That next generation xbox will launch with Kinect 2 integrated. There won't be a non-kinect option to purchase.

3.) A major MMO will be announced for the next gen xbox and it's primary control system will be Kinect 2. The game in question, be it an already existing MMO or a new IP, will take advantage of a more powerful system designed from the ground up to work with a motion control scheme. The additional processing power of the new system will permit the new Kinect to effectively distinguish between voice commands for the game and normal in-game chat. A combination of motion control and vocal commands will be used to control your character.

4.) If Prediction 3 is true and the announced title is a currently existing MMO that MMO will be The Old Republic. Though I believe the kinect integration plans for ME3 have been scrapped it's an indication that BioWare has already been thinking about ways to properly integrate kinect and motion control into their existing control methods. I can personally think of many motion/voice commands that could be used for the skills associated with TOR and I've only spent 45 minutes pondering it. BioWare, who has been proven to have a host of very smart people paid to do that kind of thinking for a living, will make it work.

There you have it. Feel free to tell me how crazy I am!

WildKnight wrote:

[b]3.) A major MMO will be announced for the next gen xbox and it's primary control system will be Kinect 2.

That sounds exhausting.

wordsmythe wrote:
WildKnight wrote:

[b]3.) A major MMO will be announced for the next gen xbox and it's primary control system will be Kinect 2.

That sounds exhausting.

Honestly, I'm hoping for it. It may be exhausting, but it's bound to be more fun than P90X.

The Wii U will launch this fall and be ignored by a lot of the games press like the Wii and any Nintendo platform has been. GTAV will be a launch title on the Wii U (Not exclusive)

The Nintendo 3DS will break out this year after the release of a Lite version which will include better battery life and second analog stick.

iOS will continue to get an unproportional level of press compared to the revenue derived from the platform. People still forget that pokemon black has earned Nintendo more revenue than all the iOS games sold combined. but since a lot of press people have iphones and don't play ds games they won't care.

diablo iii will release this summer and be a huge hit. julian will be wrong.

bioshock infinite will not make it out this year but will be out in early 2013.

Ulairi wrote:

iOS will continue to get an unproportional level of press compared to the revenue derived from the platform. People still forget that pokemon black has earned Nintendo more revenue than all the iOS games sold combined. but since a lot of press people have iphones and don't play ds games they won't care.

It's a little more complicated than that, innit? Where does that statistic come from? How much do the Pokemon games cost to develop compared to iPhone games? How much extra does Nintendo have to spend on things like the manufacturing costs of the game cart and packaging, advertising, etc.? What's the average return on investment for non-Nintendo games on the 3/DS versus iOS?

One ultra-successful platform-exclusive franchise doesn't make that platform a success for anyone other than the company that owns that one franchise.

hbi2k wrote:
Ulairi wrote:

iOS will continue to get an unproportional level of press compared to the revenue derived from the platform. People still forget that pokemon black has earned Nintendo more revenue than all the iOS games sold combined. but since a lot of press people have iphones and don't play ds games they won't care.

It's a little more complicated than that, innit? Where does that statistic come from? How much do the Pokemon games cost to develop compared to iPhone games? How much extra does Nintendo have to spend on things like the manufacturing costs of the game cart and packaging, advertising, etc.? What's the average return on investment for non-Nintendo games on the 3/DS versus iOS?

One ultra-successful platform-exclusive franchise doesn't make that platform a success for anyone other than the company that owns that one franchise.

From Mark Rein at Epic Games the average iOS game earns about $700 in revenue. That information comes from Nintendo's annual report and what Apple said this past summer when they did their iPhone press conference. Even when people point out games like Final Fantasy III coming out on iOS, it's only because they can release these games at the much higher price point first. We haven't seen any Pokemon/Final Fantasy/Mario level game released only on iOS and at the price point of a premium game. My point was that we have people who were never really that interested in portable gaming until the iPhone and that's why we get these narratives out there that may not be based in fact as much as the vacuum that people live in.

I flopped on 2011 saying that Valve will ship Half-Life Episode 3.

So this year, I will make an entirely new and bold prediction: Valve will ship Half-Life 3 in 2012.

Yes, you read that correctly. Half-Life [not Episode] 3! Also, Valve will create an announcement ad that will show the word "Episode" in front of a "3" that will slowly dissolve or crumble away leaving just the "3."

Most people will find the ad funny and charming and will see it as self-deprecating humor on Valve's part. A small but vociferous group will berate Valve for "failing" the whole episode experiment and will also declare that the game will probably suck.

Bungie will announce their next game and it will be a strategy game involving medieval style combat (swords, bows and arrows, etc) :).

Minecraft Meets Real-Time Strategy In "Castle Story"

Even on the same day. First of many. I win!

Ulairi wrote:

iOS will continue to get an unproportional level of press compared to the revenue derived from the platform. People still forget that pokemon black has earned Nintendo more revenue than all the iOS games sold combined. but since a lot of press people have iphones and don't play ds games they won't care.

In the US at least, iOS and Android are 58% of the mobile game market by revenue, assuming this research is accurate:

http://9to5mac.com/2011/11/09/flurry-ios-android-destroy-nintendo-sony-in-u-s-portable-gaming-revenues/?utm_source=feedburner

Prediction: The next-generation Xbox will come in two very different SKUs. One will be a slim, budget-priced set-top box geared toward media streaming and social apps, with enough horsepower to run small, downloadable XBLA-style games. It will have no physical media drive and a token amount of storage, say 16 GB of flash memory. The other will be a gamer's game machine with a big hard drive, Blu-Ray player, and all the bells and whistles, and will be fully compatible with the same downloadable stuff as the Xbox Lite but with the ability to run more demanding disc-based games as well. Both will come fully integrated with Kinect 2.0 and share compatibility with most peripherals (controllers, etc.).

Prediction: Bioware as we now know it will no longer exist by the end of the year. The name will still be around as a brand, but EA will gut the talent for other projects, leaving just enough manpower to do upkeep on SWTOR. Mass Effect 3 will be remembered as the last "true" Bioware game. Several key designers will quit to form their own independent studio.

hbi2k wrote:

Prediction: Bioware as we now know it will no longer exist by the end of the year. The name will still be around as a brand, but EA will gut the talent for other projects, leaving just enough manpower to do upkeep on SWTOR. Mass Effect 3 will be remembered as the last "true" Bioware game. Several key designers will quit to form their own independent studio.

I kind of agree, but I'm not going to detail anything to the level you did. I can already think of one long term important Bioware (Montreal) guy who left as DA2 was starting because the direction they were taking didn't interest him. What concerns me more is that companies like EA isn't where interesting projects like Mass Effect start, it's where they go to get milked and die.

There will be the two original Bioware studios that have some staff hang around and put out some games of merit, but their glory days are behind them, and it seems to be a common thing for people to quit and go their own way.

Prediction: Another "Minecraft clone" will come on the scene and emerge as an indie hit, creeping up on the million mark sales-wise. Someone will have to come up with a better term than "Minecraft clone," because like "Doom clones, "Street Fighter clones," and "GTA clones," we're looking at the emergence of a full-fledged genre here.

Prediction: Microsoft aggressively cuts the price of the Xbox 360 Kinect bundle to counter the Wii U launch. The MSRP will be either $250 or $50 cheaper than the Wii U, whichever is lower. (Prices will get even cheaper than that during Black Friday / holiday sales.) The Kinect add-on will drop to $99.

Prediction: No 3DS price cut all year. I didn't think this was bold enough to warrant posting until I listened to the conference call; apparently not everyone agrees that this will be the case. Just to make things bolder, I'll say no PS3 price cut as well.

Scratched wrote:

I kind of agree, but I'm not going to detail anything to the level you did.

Ah, c'mon! Detail is good, that's what makes it a BOLD prediction! (-:

Foregone Conclusion: I still won't care about non-PC gaming in 2012.

Safe Assumption: Mass Effect 3 will be awesome.

A little risk: The current proliferation of indie bundles will have one of two effects on the industry, or possibly both at once: It will drive down the perceived cost of games, which may discourage indie developers and/or may prompt a lot of them to market aggressively in bundles and other low-cost ways to get in volume what they miss in individual unit revenue. Also, I predict a certain level of "bundle fatigue" may set in among indie games fans like myself, as having several new games added every week or so is going to create HUGE piles of shame. EA will get sued (probably class action) for the heavy-handed misuse of their banning authority.

A lot of risk: Heavy-handed DRM will continue to fall out of favor as sites like gog.com continue to succeed without it. Ubisoft, however, will double down, declare the PC the work of the devil and will stop allowing their IP to be sold on it entirely, including pulling their back catalog and possibly even invalidating existing sales.

wiiU predictions It will be in demand but be ignored by the core. The online features will be on par with the launch of PS3 PSN and will generate a LOT of critiques.

PS Vita predictions The handheld will generate a lot of buzz once gamers get it in their hands but a draught of game releases after launch will slow sales to a crawl until the holidays when a big title is released. Like the 3DS before it people will keep asking if the iOS and Android are going to kill it yet a devoted fanbase will secure the Vita its place on the market by years end.

Cross posting from the other thread so this will be easier to find next year.

Last year:

* Diablo 3 will launch. It will be a monster success and the same people who complain about Starcraft 2 being an updated Starcraft will say that Diablo 3 is just an updated Diablo 2. (personal side note: I don't care about Diablo 3, so this is what I think, not what I hope)

-1

* 3DS will launch to great acclaim, but moderately good sales. The platform will be a slow burn but will probably never reach the heights of the DS.

Not entirely off, so I'll claim it +1

* Rumours will surface of the next Nintendo console, but nothing official.

Official announcement without rumours. Totally backwards -1

* We will hear something about Half life 2:Episode 3. Gabe's just sick of the nagging so they are going to get it done.

Sigh. I will disappoint myself every year until I'm right. See below. -1

* The Old Republic will have a solid launch, then settle to a Warhammer Online like level of activity.

Too early to call. 0

* LA Noire will disappoint thanks to being over hyped and too much attention to the tech.

I'll claim it. +1

* Indie game successes will become more regular in the wake of Minecraft.

And this +1

* Guild Wars 2 will come out, it will change things, it will be great. People will complain that it isn't enough like WoW.

Sigh. I am disappoint. -1

For 2012:

Carry overs:

* Diablo 3 will launch. It will be a monster success and the same people who complain about Starcraft 2 being an updated Starcraft will say that Diablo 3 is just an updated Diablo 2. (personal side note: I don't care about Diablo 3, so this is what I think, not what I hope)

* We will hear something about Half life 2:Episode 3. Gabe's just sick of the nagging so they are going to get it done.

* Guild Wars 2 will come out, it will change things, it will be great. People will complain that it isn't enough like WoW.

New:

* New Xbox generation announced at E3.

* Bioshock Infinite will be very good. People will get overhyped, there will be hype backlash. I don't care, I'm going dark as of now.

hbi2k wrote:

Prediction: Bioware as we now know it will no longer exist by the end of the year. The name will still be around as a brand, but EA will gut the talent for other projects, leaving just enough manpower to do upkeep on SWTOR. Mass Effect 3 will be remembered as the last "true" Bioware game. Several key designers will quit to form their own independent studio.

Dragon Age 1 was the last true BioWare game.

Coldstream wrote:

Bold Prediction: Cory 'Demiurge' Banks will, in what Penny Arcade will immortalise as the greatest marketing effort of all time, reveal himself as a plant, and begin shilling Grate Cloths 4 U with Litle Monies!!!!!!!

I want this to be true so bad.

Going for bold / nearly-implausible.

A loyal Sony-only developer will be on the bandwagon when the next Xbox is unveiled, with a game to go along with it. Might even be Naughty Dog...

Microsoft will raise the friend limit.

Nintendo will nail E3 with exactly what their hardcore gamers have been wanting: hardcore games. MiiTroid will lead this charge.

Demiurge wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

Prediction: Bioware as we now know it will no longer exist by the end of the year. The name will still be around as a brand, but EA will gut the talent for other projects, leaving just enough manpower to do upkeep on SWTOR. Mass Effect 3 will be remembered as the last "true" Bioware game. Several key designers will quit to form their own independent studio.

Dragon Age 1 was the last true BioWare game.

Leave me with my dreams that they won't ruin ME3, please.

I see all future Bioware games created with a path towards MMO-hood. So if TOR remains a success, we'll get a ME MMO. Then a DA MMO. Then, if the next IP is successful after a couple of games, it'll be the "Next IP" MMO.

I sort of doubt that. Taking on the 800 lb. gorilla that is WoW is ambitious enough, let alone splitting your base by doing it multiple times. I might not like everything Bioware did this year, but I tend to think they're smarter than that.

Prediction: Nintendo will release the WiiU without a killer app. Its expanded market will respond tepidly, but some traditional gamers will try out the new tablet control scheme on ported traditional games to mixed response. Poor internet functionality will ultimately doom the life of multiplayer-centric titles.

Prediction: Apple will consider or announce greater interest in handheld and/or console gaming markets as the App Store's gaming presence intensifies. More traditional games get ported as proper gaming controllers of the wired and wireless varieties appear on the market. Rumors surface of plans to use current hardware functionality for Apple to break into the console market in a big way, even as tech enthusiasts use their tablets over Airplay to play traditional games on big home screens using dual analog controllers.

hbi2k wrote:

I sort of doubt that. Taking on the 800 lb. gorilla that is WoW is ambitious enough, let alone splitting your base by doing it multiple times. I might not like everything Bioware did this year, but I tend to think they're smarter than that.

Plus it takes spending hundreds of millions and many years of development every time you try it.

I predict there will be at least one major catastrophe/scandal that highlights inherent shortcomings in the digital only distribution model, and that nobody will care.

At least one non-handheld next gen console will be announced with no optical drive.

At least one next gen console will be announced with some kind of integrated social media. if it's Sony, given their awe inspiring business sense, they'll probably go with Myspace.

Bioshock Infinite will fail to live up to the hype. Nobody will notice.

The themes of Bioshock Infinite will be misunderstood by anyone who has not read Jonah Goldberg's book on fascism in America. This will likely include some of the people who worked on it.

The GWJ pledge drive will surpass all previous years' participation and dollar totals.

We will hear one new regular voice on the conference call.

Julian Rabbit Murdoch will spend too much money either buying or building another shrine to awesomeness in his basement. My bet says it will be a Mechwarrior pod repurposed to play Skylanders.

And finally, a not so bold prediction:

There will be at least one critical darling that gets near universal raves from the forums and podcasters here on GWJ. I will buy it, and play at least three hours of it before wondering what the fuss is all about.

This is not a bold prediction, because it happens every dang year.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

I predict there will be at least one major catastrophe/scandal that highlights inherent shortcomings in the digital only distribution model, and that nobody will care.

Digital pretty much has a 'golden halo' at this point, given what happened to GOG (2010), PSN, steam, Live showing leaks, and people still readily hand over their money.

Scratched:

It's just a reality at this point. The value content of offerings from Steam, PSN, GOG are commensurate with their pricing, even taking the known shortcomings into account. Digital distribution is at least one order of magnitude more efficient than physical distribution. The efficiency advantage could be likened to the difference between hand made and assembly line production.

I would argue that, despite seemingly to the contrary, the change has not yet started in earnest. Once all the major players shift business models, physical distribution will be the exception, not the rule.

LarryC wrote:

I would argue that, despite seemingly to the contrary, the change has not yet started in earnest. Once all the major players shift business models, physical distribution will be the exception, not the rule.

I'll agree. It'll take a while, especially on consoles, but I agree.

Let's turn that into another prediction?

In the coming and forseeable future, there will be a strong shift to digital distribution of media content, owing to strong advantages in penetration and lower production costing, plus an insurmountable advantage in eliminating fixed costs.

Physical distribution will not disappear but will be shifted to representing collector items, memorabilia, and promotional items (free disks containing the basic experience or install software). In addition, some small businesses in isolated locales may find it profitable to reproduce content for physical sale at the local level, as demand arises, by paying a set, well, "copyright," (like a broadcast right, but for producing copies) to the distributor.