January 17, 2010

Top 10 Predictions for 2010

Jason Trent says The new year is only a couple weeks old, which gives us time to speculate on what we can look forward to. It's bound to be another great year for gamers, and I can't wait to see what twists and turns the industry will offer us. Some will be sure-shots while others will be nothing more than hopeful wishes. Discovering which ones fall into which category is where the fun is.
  1. The PSP was never the overwhelming success that Sony had hoped. I have a sneaking suspicion that this year we'll see an Uncharted title announced for the system. It's really a no-brainer. Sony needs to move systems and there are few better ways to do this than by giving gamers something they already love.
  2. Halo Reach will have no Natal support. Despite both Natal and Reach being released at similar times, I just don't see Bungie's final entry in the Halo series deviating too far from the already established formula. They're going to play it safe, which means not including what their fan base might see as a gimmick.
  3. Portal 2 will be announced alongside Half Life 2: Episode Three, and will be released this October, three years after The Orange Box. The past two years have seen both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. At this point, not even Valve can convince me that we need a third game in the series so soon.
  4. Microsoft will introduce a rental service for Xbox Live in conjunction with a day-and-date release plan for all new Xbox 360 titles. Ideally, discounts would be offered on the full versions of titles that were previously rented so that you can try before you buy without ever having to leave your home. Not only would this help encourage purchases, but Microsoft would also see increased revenue that would have normally gone to other companies like Gamefly. It's a win-win.
  5. Sony will release a teaser for the successor to the PSP. The major selling point of this new system will be how it interacts with the PlayStation network. We'll finally see friend lists, voice chat, and trophies available on the handheld. Titles will be download only, something that should help Sony better protect their content. This will also be the first hi-definition handheld available, with 720p resolution.
  6. Gears of War 3 will be announced for a 2011 release with first details emerging at E3 this year. I expect there to be minor Natal support, though nothing drastic. It seems like chainsaw duels and Natal were made for one another. With this announcement we'll also see another incremental update to the Unreal Engine 3.
  7. Twisted Metal will see the light of day this year exclusively on the PlayStation 3. The series will bring us another dark and moody chapter in the Twisted Metal universe. The best part? It will be here in time for Halloween.
  8. Super Mario Galaxy 2 will arrive this fall but Zelda and Metroid: Other M will not be released this year. Nintendo has a huge consumer base, but generally speaking, they're not going to buy three hard core titles for the Wii during one holiday season. They'd do best to space these out a little bit. I expect Metroid: Other M to be released next February at the earliest, with Zelda following shortly after in Spring.
  9. There will be no announcements of a new Xbox, Nintendo, or PlayStation this year. With the big three having hit their stride this generation, we're probably not going to see any new consoles be released for several more years. This has been a period of incremental upgrades, meaning that companies no longer need to develop new hardware in order to implement new ideas. Project Natal and the PlayStation Motion Controller tell us a lot about where we are in our current consoles' life cycles, and where we can expect gaming to take us in the near future.
  10. We're going to have fun. In the end that's what gaming is all about right? No matter which console you prefer, or what genres of games you enjoy the most, you can be assured that you'll be taken care of. See you on the other side.