Archive for the ‘Game Industry’ Category

2011

In the interest of seeing just how wrong I can be twelve months from now, here is a list of things I think will happen in 2011. This is possibly the worst day of the year to write such a post, what with CES starting on Thursday, but that’s never stopped me before.

  1. Netflix will continue to kick ass. Their selection of streaming movies and TV shows will explode in 2011, though they will have to pay more for all that content.
  2. My internet connection will improve. Self-fulfilling prophecy? I hope so! I’ve had 1.5Mb/768kb DSL for ten years. It’s well past time to upgrade. In theory Qwest will be putting 20Mb service into my neighborhood soon, so maybe that’s in my future.
  3. Android will continue to kick ass and take names. 2011 will see >60% smartphone market share, a dizzying array of tablets and phones, and probably even some netbooks by fall. More and more apps will start to ship on both Android and iOS at the same time.
  4. Android 3.0 will include improvements for the annoying OS upgrade delays on that platform. Google will come up with some way to apply pressure on handset manufacturers and carriers to deliver the latest version of Android to uses in a more timely fashion.
  5. Still no consumer-level visual pass-through AR glasses. I said it last year, and I’ll keep saying it every year until I’m wrong. :)
  6. This will be the year the electric car revolution began. The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt will both sell well and set the stage for the electric cars of 2012 (including the Tesla Model S) to blow the doors off.
  7. This year will feature one “unthinkable ten years ago” level medical advance. Will it be a cure for cancer? Regrowing limbs from your own stem cells? Repair of severed spinal cords? Pain medication with no side effects? Who knows, but something big is going to happen this year.

And that’s it!  If it’s not on this list it’s not going to happen in 2011!

(Think maybe something might happen in 2011 that wasn’t on this list? Please add your own prediction in the comments and we’ll see how you do!)

How did I do with my 2010 predictions

I realize these “predictions at new years” posts are a little cheesy and that you see them everywhere. I enjoy writing them, so I’m going to do it anyway. This is my look back at my predictions of one year ago to see how I did.

  1. Correct. It is arguably fair to call STO the only significant MMO launch of 2010. APB sort of fizzled, after all. I haven’t heard much about STO since its launch though… not sure how it’s actually doing.
  2. Sort of Correct. I could only come up with two cancellations from my list:
    • APB was actually cancelled after it came out. That’s the wrong way around.
    • The Agency is rumored to be more or less shut down at this point. Nothings been announced here and probably never will be.
  3. Correct. Reports are that they’ve both sold millions of units.  Natal (now named Kinect) has also incited thousands a cool Kinect Hack YouTube videos. Dance Central is pretty cool, so at least one great Kinect game is already out.
  4. Correct. According to this chart the unemployment rate in the US peaked at 10.6% in January 2010.
  5. Wrong. I’ve seen no evidence that Junaio, Layar, or Wikitude are ready to stray from their AR roots yet. In fact they seem to be doubling down by making the set of things they can position at a GPS location much more complete.
  6. Correct. There haven’t been any interesting new products in the area of wearable displays. Lots of talk at ARE2010 and elsewhere, but nothing concrete yet.
  7. Correct. Google Goggles came to the iPhone, but other than that neither company has done anything on the AR front.
  8. Wrong. There’s no indication that the marketing world (or consumers) are tired of simple AR campaigns. If anything the campaigns are continuing to grow in popularity and complexity.
  9. Correct. The iPad and iPhone 4 came out. Good thing I didn’t predict how well the iPad would do… I would have massively underestimated it.
  10. Correct. App store approval times are reported to be under a week these days. They also published the review guidelines, which is a big step up from 2009.
  11. Sort of wrong. Technically 200,000 is more than 50,000, but I completely underestimated the meteoric rise of Android during 2010. I thought that Android phones would only outsell iPhones until iPhone 4 came out, but they topped the iPhone in May (in the US) and never looked back.
  12. Correct. Nobody figured out what to do with it so Google mothballed the project.
  13. Wrong. Wave doesn’t inter-operate with anything. That’s a bit part of why it failed in my opinion.

My score was 9 correct and 4 wrong. Better numbers than last year, but I think I made more safe bets for 2010 too. 2010 went pretty much how I expected it would (with the notable exception of Android going gangbusters.)

How was your year? Did anything surprising happen?

11 days left to submit your LOGIN session proposal

The 2010 LOGIN conference is accepting session proposals for just 11 more days.  January 25 is the last day to submit something, so hurry up and get your talk proposal sent in!

2010

This rounds out my trilogy of year end posts. Here is what I think will happen in the coming year. I would love to hear your thoughts on these predictions:

  1. Star Trek Online will be the only significant MMO launch in 2010. It will do well enough to make Atari and Cryptic plenty of money, but will not do nearly as well as World of Warcraft, so many people will consider it a failure. (Those people are dumb.)
  2. At least three of the major unreleased MMO projects will be cancelled. I have a guess about which two are most likely, but I’ll keep that to myself.  Qualifying projects include:
    • Guild Wars 2
    • Whatever Carbine is working on
    • That console MMO Turbine hasn’t said much about
    • Whatever Trion is working on
    • The Sci-Fi channel tie-in MMO that Trion has said they’re working on
    • Whatever Zenimax is working on that may or may not be Fallout
    • Whatever 38 Studios is working on
    • The Agency
    • Whatever Gazillion’s Gargantuan studio is working on
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic
    • The second MMO that CCP is working on down in Atlanta where all those White Wolf people are.  Hmm. What could it be?
    • Whatever Red 5 is working on
    • DC Online
    • That other MMO I know NCSoft is working on that is completely under the radar
    • Whatever Slipgate Ironworks is working on
    • The second MMO Blizzard has in the works
    • APB
    • Jumpgate: Evolution
  3. Project Natal and the Playstation Motion Controller will both come out.  Natal will do fairly well. Both controllers will allow some new kinds of games, but we won’t see any compelling examples of those games until 2011.
  4. Unemployment will peak and then start to fall.
  5. The compass+GPS augmented reality products will begin to shift to general location-awareness and away from their Augmented Reality roots. They will de-emphasize magic lens and start to emphasize aggregation of nearby content.
  6. No consumer-level see-through displays will come out in 2010. Significant progress toward them will be made, but nothing will be released.
  7. Neither Google nor Apple will release any kind of AR-focused hardware
  8. The use of “wave it in front of your webcam” type AR in advertising will peak with an AR-enhanced ad in the Superbowl.  The backlash will begin. By the end of the year the advertising world will have moved on.
  9. Apple will release its tablet and a new iPhone (faster and more storage) but won’t release anything that is specifically an AR product.
  10. Apple will address the pain caused by its app-store approval process, at least in part. I have no idea what their specific solution will be, but they aren’t going to let their developer community grow to hate them.
  11. Android will continue to pick up steam. By the end of the year Android will boast 50,000 applications.
  12. People will spend the entire year trying to find something really useful to do with Google Wave. They won’t succeed in 2010.
  13. Google will make Wave interoperate with email. This will make it useful as an email client if nothing else.

Ok, that’s the last of this kind of post for at least a year.  If only I could get back to posting regular stuff again. :)

The twenty-teens

Around this time of year for the past few years I have written a blog post listing what I expected to occur during the coming year. Since this new year marks the start of a new decade, I thought I would start a new tradition and write a post on my expectations for the coming decade. 2020 is a long way away, so I’m sure most of this will miss the mark. Hopefully at least 48 year old me will be amused by what 38 year old me had to say.

Please note that just because something is on this list does not mean that it’s something I want to happen, only that it’s something I think will happen. Anything that’s missing from this list is probably just something I didn’t think of.

I would love to hear your thoughts on any or all of these.  Please comment below.

General Technology Trends:

  1. Moore’s Law will continue to operate for the entire decade. That means a given form-factor of computing device will be approximately 100x the power of the same form-factor today.
  2. Mobile computing will dominate. Everyone who owns a laptop or desktop today will have a mobile device that is about 10x the power of their current computer.  We may still call these “phones”, but placing voice calls will only be one tiny part of what they do. This device will replace most users’ desktop and laptop computers.
  3. Digital Distribution will be king. Only a tiny fraction of the media that’s currently consumed digitally (TV, movies, music, and software) will be purchased on a hunk of plastic. Both the subscription model (aka Rhapsody or cable television) or the purchase model (aka iTunes or DVDs) will have at least 20% market share, but one of those two models will be gradually taking over. Advertising supported media will be just as big of a deal as it now, but the user will have much more control over how they consume that media (think Hulu rather than broadcast television.) Books are on the same trajectory, but in 2020 the majority of books will still be sold on dead trees.
  4. Speach recognition will gain a lot of ground as the primary way we enter text into a computer. Offices are one place where this trend won’t have advanced very far mostly because of the noise involved.

Game Industry Trends:

  1. Total revenues from video games of all kinds (including mobile and social games) will exceed revenue from movies and television (independantly, not added together.) Games will finally learn to exploit merchandising and secondary markets as vigorously as movies do.
  2. In 2020 no one will be selling a dedicated gaming console. All computing devices in production in ten years will be about consuming other kinds of media just as much as they are about playing games.
  3. Desktop PC gaming will be all but dead, with the majority of triple-A games coming out for multi-media consoles or mobile devices.
  4. Gaming that involves exercise will be the primary way that the majority of people get their exercise.
  5. Location-aware games will be common.

Augmented reality:

  1. A growing minority of people in the developed world will wear heads up displays almost all the time. These displays will be capable of information overlays, but will mostly be about contextual information that is not overlaid on the world. These products will be on the verge of hitting the mainstream, but won’t quite be mainstream yet.
  2. Development of these displays will be by small companies (perhaps companies that are around now) but those companies will be acquired by massive consumer electronics multinationals before wearable displays hit the mainstream.
  3. Recognition of people and text in images (and video) will be nearly perfect, at least in reasonable lighting conditions.
  4. Gestural interfaces will be commonplace. Many hard-core computer users will be sad at how clumsy they are compared to keyboard and mouse.

The fate of specific companies:

  1. Google will be huge and influential. Their influence will likely peak in the 2010s, but it will difficult to see that from the ground. Google will have had some sort of anti-monopoly action taken against them.
  2. Microsoft will fail to transition to the new mobile-centric world and will be in decline. They will still be a very powerful multi-billion-dollar company, but will not own the end-user to nearly the extent they do now.
  3. A company that exists today will be the dominant social network.  that could be Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, but it probably won’t be MySpace.
  4. Apple will be huge and influential. They won’t ever be as dominant as Microsoft was in the 90s, but they will be very successful. Steve Jobs will still be running the company.

US Politics:

  1. Gay marriage will be legal in most states.
  2. Marijuana use will be legal in California and a few other states.
  3. We won’t have elected a woman president. (My wife came up with this one, but I agree with her.)
  4. The problems of illegal immigration will not be solved.
  5. The problems of providing health-care to everyone that needs it will not be solved.
  6. Privacy in an age of always-on location-aware devices will be a huge topic of debate.
  7. Silicon Valley will remain the world’s premier startup region.
  8. The US will still have troops in both Iraq and Afganistan. These will be like the troops we still have in Germany and South Korea, and will not be in combat often, if ever.

International Politics:

  1. Carbon emissions will be at approximately their peak in 2020.
  2. Oil production will also be peaking around 2020.
  3. Most other countries will be ahead of the US in terms of switching to renewable energy.
  4. Most of the rest of the world will have consumer-friendly privacy regulations in place. Those countries will scratch their heads at the debate raging in the US.

Things that will not happen:

  1. We will not have flying cars, jet-packs, or most of the other things promised by Sci-Fi in the 50s.
  2. There will not be peace in the middle east.
  3. Africa will still be the poorest continent.
  4. Brain-computer interfaces will still not work very well. No one will be uploading themselves into a computer.
  5. We won’t have a human equivalent AI.
  6. We won’t know how to reliably unfreeze people.
  7. World War Three won’t have happened.