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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Gaming Landscape 2000 to 2009 Part 7: What Will The Next Ten Years Hold?

There are lots of predictions floating around about the next ten years of gaming.  Yoichi Wada of Square Enix just said that "In ten years' time a lot of what we call 'console games' won't exist."  There's talk that gaming will move to "the cloud," and the whole nature of the industry will change.  What's true and what's false?  What will happen and won't?

Digital distribution will not become the norm.  As much as companies would like it to be, it won't ever take off the way they would like.  I'll have more on this in a different article.

3-D gaming will be the only reason to get a 3-D TV, but it won't catch on until the end of the decade.  Everyone just upgraded to HDTVs and aren't going to shell out even more money for a 3-D TV, and they aren't going to be buying 3-D TV to watch The King of Queens reruns, that's for sure.

There will be a completely unheard-of genre that will take the world by storm.  Just like music games became huge last decade because of improved technologies, a new genre will arrive next decade due to the new motion controls and 3-D gaming.

All three companies that are standing at the beginning of this decade will be in the game during the end of the decade.  Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all have too much money and too much at stake to back out at any point.  Sony's been to the peak and wants to go back.  Microsoft wants inroads into the living room.  Video games are all Nintendo does.  No one's going anywhere.

Microsoft will recognize its need for a stronger first-party lineup after the PS3 passes it by early next decade, and will make overtures to a big studio.  They already thought about acquiring EA, even though they didn't do it.  They'll try again.

Consoles aren't going anywhere, but it will be a while until Sony and Microsoft release a new one.  Nintendo will put one out early next decade, though, and put the screws to both companies in the HD market.

Nintendo will go through another bust cycle, but it won't be the Wii's fault.

Nintendo will radically redo Zelda at some point next decade, and not just by adding Super Guide.

Microsoft will stop trying with Japan and let nature take its course.  They've sunk so much money into Japan for such a little return that it's not worth it anymore, especially with the shrinking market in Japan.

Miyamoto will retire, and there will be much sadness.  However, Yoshiaki Koizumi will step in and nothing will change.

Sony will stick to the ten-year plan and be rewarded at the end with either a victory in the console race or a tie with Nintendo.

Natal will be a game-changer, but traditional controls aren't going anywhere.

Call of Duty and Guitar Hero will see diminishing returns.  By the end of the decade, they'll be non-starters.

EA's patience with new IPs will be rewarded, but not until there's more corporate bloodletting.

If the 00's were the start of the indie developer, the 10's will be the decade of the indie.

Single-player games on the PC will be even fewer by the end of the decade.  MMOs will start migrating to the consoles, but they won't be there by the end of the decade.

Diablo III will be excellent, but it won't arrive until 2012.  I can't believe there's even debate about the quality of it.

Blizzard will refocus on new IPs and will struggle for it.

We'll see a new No One Lives Forever game.  Maybe that's just wishful thinking.

The Old Republic will be the next big MMO.  World of Warcraft will still stick around, just like Everquest and Ultima Online have.

Someone, somewhere will finally revisit X-Com.  It's been far too long to let it lie fallow.  It will disappoint the hardcore fans.

Finally, the more things change, the more things stay the same.  We're not going to be jacking into the matrix by the end of the decade, and we won't have everything streamed to us in a set-top box.  We'll still be putting discs into machines and sitting on the couch with controllers.  Granted, it'll be a space couch, and we'll be wearing hovershoes while connecting to the overmind, but some things simply won't change.