Haven’t had your fill of 2014 predictions? Here are some of ours.
Xbox One and PS4 will stay neck-and-neck
Those looking for the “winner” of next-gen won’t have an answer by the end of the year. True AAA next-gen experiences will arrive sooner for these consoles than in any other transition in history, and the influx of downloadable indie games looks really exciting. There is plenty of content coming to fuel hardware sales for both platforms.
Wii U will not die in 2014
Conventional knowledge is that the Wii U is dead, and won’t even be on retail shelves for Xmas 2014. We disagree. The very best games for Wii U just arrived, and more sure-to-be excellent 1st party games are coming. We believe that the long-rumored massive price drop coming. The system won’t hit Nintendo’s overly optimistic sales projections, nor will 3rd parties flock back to the system. The Wii U will simply follow the trajectory of the Gamecube and Nintendo will make money.
Ouya will die in 2014
There is no way this system can recover. We still believe a great idea lurks here, but it’s too late for the original Ouya.
Something will materialize for Apple TV and games
We are probably in the minority here, but we expect an official announcement – or credible leak of information – by the end of the year. While many are skeptical of “microconsoles” and the viability of playing of smartphone/tablet games on a TV, we believe many people forget about the true reason for games’ success in the Apple ecosystem: the friction free marketplace. Everyone is already making games for iOS – and an iPhone could work pretty darn well as a controller.
Core games will finally mature on tablets – with no F2P and real price points
People have been making this prognostication for a couple years now, but we think 2014 is finally the year where anti-F2P sentiment, combined with top-notch developers focusing on the platform, will meet. There are plenty of people that want to spend $8.99+ for a great iPad game – just look at Oceanhorn. Maybe a few hundred thousand units sold for a few bucks up front won’t put you at the top of the Top Grossing chart, but it may be enough to where you can sustain your studio comfortably.
Free to play on phones will continue to mutate – and core gamers will continue to hate it
Core gamers aren’t going to warm up to free-to-play any time soon. But that doesn’t matter when it comes to mobile games, simply because the scale of the platform’s adoption is so vast that completely new kinds of games can be made for completely new demographics and types of players. But look for many developers and publishers to apply F2P to core brands and fail miserably.
Zynga will try to acquire themselves to former glory
Zynga doesn’t have the development DNA to make cutting edge mobile games. Let’s face it, Farmville and its clones just weren’t all that sophisticated. But they still have piles of money and will buy some mobile developers to try to leapfrog back to relevance.
Marketing costs for mobile to continue to skyrocket, BUT…
Everyone knows costs of user acquisition on mobile has become a serious barrier to discovery. But you know what? The folks at Apple and Google Play are smart and pay attention to creative games, and nothing comes close to being featured and promoted by the big boys. Left-field indie hits will still come out of nowhere, this will be enough to keep the dream alive for some.
Console streaming will continue to be a nonstarter
As long as American internet service remains patchy, streaming for console gameplay isn’t going to catch on in a meaningful way. This won’t be fixed in 2014.
Console gaming will not explode in China
Lets face it, these machines are extraordinarily expensive to most people, and it’s not like South Korea (per capita, a more affluent country) ever embraced consoles. Obviously, the cultures of China and South Korea are very different, but a key similarity is that there was never a history of console gaming (unlike Japan). PC and smartphone gaming will continue to rule in China for at least 2014.