In the year 2011

What good is having a blog if you can’t have some fun? For the last post of the year, I’ll make some predictions about 2011. Next year we’ll so how I did, ok?

  • The Old Republic will not release in 2011: I know, they said its coming out then, but as I see it this game has two problems going for it: 1) It’s hugely ambitious, and 2) it’s hugely ambitious. What does that mean? Well for starters its got full voice acting throughout. This means that bug fixing is no simple task. In a non-voiced game, if something didn’t work as intended, you could change and tweak things until it did. Did the quest giver tell you to go to the shore of the ocean to get something for a quest, but the shore wasn’t designed to supply the quest item for as many people as need it? Well, you can’t change the location, since it’s spoken in dialog, you have to do a lot more work to get it fixed. The second part of hugely ambitious is that this is likely going to be a VERY different game than people are expecting. It’s a lot more story focused, more like a traditional Single-player game that you happen to play with thousands of other people on-line at a time. It’s something that hasn’t been tried in MMO’s yet, but the genre is approaching it slowly. TOR just leaps and bounds its way past other MMO’s and goes hog-wild into the idea of character-focused gameplay. Something WoW players will find pretty alien, and I am not sure that’s a good thing.
  • There will be a successful MMO on the iPad: Well, with as many iPads as were handed out at Christmas, the market is screaming for a good MMO to be released on it. Likely to be fantasy-based, and use a lot of “traditional” MMO trappings. The world will start small, but grow as more and more players join whatever realms are available to them. They will be able to claim 100,000 users by the end of the year, which I believe is an achievable goal for any MMO that is worth it’s salt.
  • A Zynga (or just a good social-network game) will snag a major license. Something along the lines of Star Wars or Marvel. Maybe it needs to be something that appeals to housewives as well, like Avatar possibly. It will be a big deal.
  • Blizzard will unveil their next MMO, “Titan” at the next Blizzcon: They kinda have to, right? I expected it last year, but if the leaked “release schedule” has any air of validity, they would need to announce it in 2011 to get the hype-machine going. Its fuzzy what it will be, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be microtransaction-based (as the $25 mounts and $10 mini-pets have proven a success in WoW). This one is almost a gimme, but I’ll only take credit if it’s MTX-based.
  • Zynga will attempt to unshackle itself from Facebook, and fail: Never before have I seen the success of a company so attached to another one than the Facebook/Zynga relationship. Zynga needs to make a break and I think they will attempt their own version of Facebook just for their games. Unfortunately teaching old dogs new tricks is incredibly difficult, so getting people to make the switch will prove to be an insurmountable hurdle. So I can set up the 2012 prediction: Facebook and Zynga merge into a single entity (who buys who, I am not sure).

What are YOUR predictions for 2011? Keep it to one prediction per comment. I’ll try to approve new commentors as quickly as possible.

9 Responses to “In the year 2011”

  1. Bioware will announce plans for a Mass Effect MMO.

  2. kidengineer says:

    I’d agree with most of those predictions except the one with the iPad. And I think the Zynga trying to free itself bit will not happen until well after 2011 (Google or something else big might buy it first though). I think multiplayer mobile gaming will branch off and evolve separately from multiplayer gaming as we know it now. But there is no telling which of IOS and Android will be the dominant platform.
    Also, with TOR, it has even more than that working against it. Working off the Star Wars IP, the approval process for contents is (most likely) a super PITA. That was one of the (many) reasons SWG went south when it did. Whether that mistake was learned or not remains to be seen.

  3. Jaybonaut says:

    I hope the Zynga thing won’t end up like the Pixar/Disney fiasco.

  4. Slickriptide says:

    I like your outlook, Matt. All of those predictions make sense.

    Your final prediction is already coming true. I saw just today that Zynga has an official Zynga Poker App in the Android Market. The Zynga games I’ve played have all been either Flash apps or straight-up HTML-based apps. The back-end is already conceivably running on their own servers. An Android or iPhone app is the first step to de-coupling themselves entirely from Facebook.

    The problem is really a simple one of exposure – Where else besides Facebook can they get the kind of exposure and instant marketing that they’ve achieved on their platform? I’m half-convinced that the answer is “nowhere”. That answer would seem to lead into your second Zynga prediction. It will be interesting to see how 2011 shapes up for them.

    SOE is currently cloning the Zynga business model to produce their own Facebook games that work pretty much identically to Farmville, et al. I have to admit that I’ve been sort of waiting for the day that Paragon Studios announces a Facebook game based on City of Heroes.

  5. MythicFox says:

    Yeah, admittedly my hopes for TOR have been a little shaky
    for a while. Im getting the impression more and more that its not
    as much an MMO as it is KotOR with a co-op mode. Theres nothing
    wrong with that, inherently, and it might work for enough people
    for the game to succeed. That said, Im getting a really limited
    feel from the game. The restricting race/class selections, the
    extremely character-focused plots and some of the very specific
    features for certain classes (Smugglers getting a Wookie sidekick,
    for instance) give me the impression that its aimed at a much
    narrower market than a lot of games.

  6. Rogziel says:

    Planetside 2 will be released by SoE.

  7. kevinearllynch says:

    Considering how many people are screaming that SWTOR is just a “WoW clone” on their official boards, it just might not be all that alien to your average MMOer.

    And seeing as how EA is really throwing money into the thing, it’ll need to be pushed out by Nov – Dec 2011 or interest among the fan base will start to wane BADLY. Fans are already claiming that the game has been secretly delayed 3 to 4 times. You can only be teased for so long, and the buzz has been building for more than 2 years already…

  8. UnSub says:

    2011 wasn’t kind to your predictions, Matt. :-)

  9. MMiller says:

    TOR in 2011… Dec. 20th technically is 2011, but only JUST barely, and many would say it could have used at LEAST 11 more days of development, so I’ll be kind and call that a tie.
    iPad MMO: There were a couple attempts, but nothing really stuck. I think the WoW clone was well done, but the interface was simply horrible.
    Zynga will snag a major license: I’d call Indiana Jones a major license, so that’s a win in my book.
    Blizzard’s next MMO: I don’t know how much longer they can go on without this being announced officially.
    Zynga unshackle: They did go public, and then proceed to tank right out the gate. This probably puts a crimp in their plan to unshackle for the time being. Still, a loss for me.
    1-3-1. Not horrible for a first try at this.

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