This is what I thought would happen a year ago.Â Let’s see how I did.
[This is my second time writing this post.Â For some reason WordPress or Firefox or somebody ate what I wrote on Thursday and was planning to publish today. *sigh*]
- Â Pirates did, in fact, launch. We launched in the US and Europe in January, then in Australia in February, and finally in Russia in September. What I didn’t predict a year ago was that I wouldn’t be at FLS anymore.
- Warhammer slipped and then launched in the fall just as I (and everyone else) predicted. I was a bit off about the numbers, though. They seem to be doing well, but are definitely below the magic million. Lich King almost certainly put a dent in their numbers, though.Â Personally, I enjoy Warhammer Online quite a bit and hope it keeps going well for them.
- Age of Conan shipped in the spring, and while the first 20 levels were quite good, everything else fell flat. Quite a few people who left PotBS to play AoC came back a month or two later. Apparently boobs and gore aren’t enough to carry an MMO all by themselves.
- NCsoft basically gutted their Austin studio, pushed out the Garriots, andÂ moved powerÂ over everything outside Asia to the ArenaNet folks. That’s great news for Seattle, but not so great for all the people I know who were laid off. Wish I’d been wrong about this one.
- Maybe it’s just me, but it actually seems like game journalism is getting better. Maybe that’s because we’re mainstream enough for real reporters to cover game stories? Â It’s arguably still in the “suck” category, but I don’t think I’ll be making this prediction for next year.
- At GDC08, MicrosoftÂ announcedÂ that community games would be available to people who weren’t members of the Creator’s Club. In July they announcedÂ more details. They also did it without requiring certification for every XNA game. Way to go, Microsoft!
- Bioware announcedÂ Star Wars: The Old Republic. A few people noticed, including the few remaining Star Wars: Galaxies players.
- Red 5 hasn’t announced anything.
- NC Orange County changed its name to Carbine (or maybe was always Carbine and I was clueless), but hasn’t announced anything.
- Space-Time was cut loose in the first round of cuts at NCsoft, announced themselves, spent 6 months looking for a publisher, then laid everybody off and started hiring Flash developers.Â
- King’s Isle announced, beta’d, and launched Wizard 101. I hear it’s pretty good.
- The thing that Sean and Scott are working on at NC Austin was killed and never announced. Fortunately they both seem to have landed on their feet.
- 38 Studios hasn’t announced anything.
- Although lots of games have become fairly popular on Facebook and other social networks, none of they have blown the doors off. They’re still more about grabbing eyeballs than revenue. As ad rates continue to plumet thanks to the Economopalypse and funding becomes harder to secure, that may not bode well for the social game world in 2009.
- Metaplace hasn’t launched exactly, but they’re in a beta where anybody can invite more testers. They have come pretty far during the year. Areae also renamed itself to the people-know-how-to-pronounce-and-spell-it Metaplace.
- World of Warcraft actually hit 11 million subscribers a couple months ago. Wrath of the Lich King will probably give them a boost this winter too. Is this the peak? Â We won’t know for quite a while; Blizzard is never going to announce a number under 11 million. [Update: Blizzard just announced 11.5M as the post Lich King number.]
- It seems that Cheyenne Mountain is this year’sÂ example. They reportedly raised their money from angels rather than venture capitalists, but the problem is still the same. Â Trying to build more than one game at the same time with a brand new company is stupid.
- I was right! Valve didn’t tell anyone they were working on an MMO in 2008! Â Whether they actually areÂ or not is more of a mystery. Â They were recruiting at Austing GDC for what it’s worth.
- I don’t have a fully automated nanotech powered flying car, do you?
- (from theÂ comments)Â WhirledÂ launched. It got the Penny Arcade bump forÂ Corpse Craft, and has quite a few people on there playing games. We’ll have to wait until Daniel shows us all the numbers at GDC to know how it’s really doing, but it seems pretty good from the outside.
That makes ten (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14) correct predictions, two (8, 9) incorrect predictions, and two that are impossible to determine (10, 12). I’m pretty happy with those results. Maybe next time I’ll put in fewer gimmes (1, 5, 11, 13).
The big MMO event from 2008 that I missed completely isÂ Atari acquiring Cryptic. It makes a lot of sense for publishers other than EA to want to get into the MMO space, and acquiring an experienced developer (like Cryptic or Mythic) is the best way to go about it. Â I wonder if we’ll see similar news next year from Turbine.