Everyone else is doing it, so why not… Here is a post full of stuff definitely going to happen in 2008. If it doesn’t, you’ll forget I ever wrote this. If any of these things actually do, I’ll be sure to link back here so I can look like a genius.
- Pirates is finally going to launch. Our pre-order head start begins next week, so as prophetic declarations go, this one is something of a no-brainer. I think we’ll do pretty well, but I’m far to close to the game to be objective.
- Warhammer Online is going to launch late in the year. Yeah, they’re saying spring but they’re going to slip again. It will be the second “traditional” MMO to crack one million subscribers between the US and Europe, but isn’t going to approach WoW numbers.
- Age of Conan is going to ship too. Unfortunately they are going to launch before they’re ready and are going to have a rough first couple of months and disappointing numbers.
- NCsoft Austin is going to downsize in a major way. They will have significant layoffs and cancel a bunch of projects. Hopefully none of the folks I know who depend on NCsoft to pay the rent will be affected.
- Game journalism will suck in 2008. Mark my words.
- Microsoft will announce some sort of marketplace where games developed in XNA Studio can be played without requiring the $100/year Creator Club membership. If they’re smart the game-makers will even be able to charge for their creations. Unfortunately they won’t be able to let go of the “we must have the final say on what games get made” neurosis that platform-holders seem to all have and will strangle their own marketplace to death.
- Bioware Austin will finally tell us what they’re working on. My money is on Dog Online– a game where you can only communicate with other players via your sense of smell. Red 5, NC Orange County, Space-Time, King’s Isle, that thing Scott and Sean are on at NC Austin, and 38 Studios will also announce what they’re working on, but the Bioware announcement will generate more buzz than all the rest of them combined.
- Somebody is going to put out a game on a social network (via Facebook Platform or Open Social) that makes eleventy billion dollars. they’ll do it by actually taking advantage of the social network’s strengths instead of just using it as a user-acquisition strategy. Lots of talks at GDC and AGDC will bring up this game as the Hot New Thing. Many companies will ignore what’s actually good about the successful game and simply try to use Facebook as part of their user-acquisition strategy. (2009 prediction: Backlash against games on social networks, and maybe against social networks in general.)
- Metaplace will launch around mid-year and will start to pick up a little steam by the end of the year. It will take a while to reach critical mass, though, so the Metaplace story will be a lot more interesting in 2009.
- 2008 is the year that World of Warcraft’s subscriber base will peak. Some people are saying they’ll hit 10M first, which seems likely. It’s all downhill (slowing) from there.
- The failure of the “let’s get a bunch of VC and make a couple MMOs at once with our brand new studio” approach will continue. Perpetual was the big 2007 demonstration, but at least one more will happen in 2008.
- Valve will begin work on an MMO using the half-life IP. They won’t tell anyone about it in 2008, of course, but when it finally ships in 2013 it will be awesome.
- There will be no significant new products in the AI, Nanotech, or Flying Car industries in 2008.
And speaking of 2008, whatever happened to 2000s two through seven? Have I been living in a cave the past 5 years, or is this just how it feels to get older?