Top Games Industry Predictions 2011

Top Games Industry Predictions 2011

When a new year begins, those of us who enjoy games feel a compulsion to go all digital Nostradamus and predict the industry events that will mark up the stretch of virgin days ahead. Sometimes we hit the mark, sometimes we’re way off, and sometimes it seems unlikely that God himself is capable of foreseeing some of the strange twists that fall upon the games industry in the course of a year.

What will 2011 bring? Who knows? None of us are seers. But by reading current trends, we can get a decent idea about what might transpire. And if none of it happens, hey, at least it’s fun to speculate.

More Indie Companies Will Go Digital-Only: Relentless Software, which worked on the Buzz games, was the first studio to move exclusively to digital distribution in 2011. It won’t be the last.

“Our real strategy going forward is to change the company from a disc-based, console games company only – which is what we were, we were only PlayStation 3, we were only console, we were only quiz, in fact,” says Relentless’ co-founder, Andrew Eades. “We wanted to change the company to have much more breadth and embrace the new digital platforms we saw coming in.”

More developers are finding that their creative and financial freedoms benefit when retail stress and third-party publishers are ditched. And with the skyrocketing popularity of digital content–a trend that’s certain to continue into 2011–we’ll see more studios peel themselves from physical mediums in order to focus on digital offerings.

A Big, Big Year For Handheld Gaming – 2011 is the year the Nintendo 3DS–the follow-up to the most successful handheld console of all time–sees launch in Japan, North America and Europe. But Nintendo might not bank on an express ride straight to the top just yet: Apple’s iOS devices are becoming the system of choice for many handheld gaming enthusiasts. On the other hand, if Nintendo knows anything, it knows portable gaming. Steve Jobs may want to learn how to wrangle plumbers safely: They have a heck of a bite.

Sony Shows Off PSP 2 at E3 – Sony won’t be sitting out the handheld race this year, either. News about Sony’s PSP 2 has been sparse, so far: A slip-up here, a remark from a developer there, or the whisper of a rumor. But the machine is almost certainly coming, and chances are we’re going to see a lot more of it at E3 2011–or maybe even handle it ourselves.

PlayStation 3 Price Drop – As things stand right now, a PlayStation 3 Move Bundle costs $399.99 USD. The PS3 by its lonesome (the 160 GB model) costs $299.99 USD. That’s quite a drop from the console’s initial release price of $599 US dollars, but it wouldn’t hurt Sony to cut the price a little more as this generation of consoles begins its bow-out. Well, technically, it would hurt them in the pocketbook, but it sure wouldn’t hurt anyone who’s been holding off on buying the system for financial reasons.

Nintendo DS Support Will Plummet – Kind of a given. News on new Nintendo DS titles for 2011 is already a bit thin, no doubt because of a shift in developer focus to the Nintendo 3DS. The downturn is not dissimilar to the Nintendo DS ending the Game Boy Advance while the handheld was still relatively popular–no doubt a major reason why Nintendo has squeezed everything out of the DS before moving on.

Motion Control-based Games Will Remain Segregated–but Will Maintain a Big Fan Base – Microsoft’s Kinect met with huge success over the holiday season, selling no fewer than 8 million units. That adds up to a pretty bright future for motion controls, though more traditional gamers will probably remain disinterested. Or will 2011 offer up some games that will bridge the divide between the “casual” and the “hardcore?”

All we can do is settle down and start watching. Why not play some games to pass the time?

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

1 Comments

  1. Mariette Saurey

    Man, sucks to be under 18. What if you’re parents aren’t home to give you assistance with the wooden stake attachement and a dracula shows up during gameplay? That’s tough.

Leave a Reply