Keen is doing it. Lum is time traveling in the hopes to scoop the future before it happens. Syncaine is too. Seems like it’s the accepted thing for bloggers to take a guess at how the upcoming year will play out, and it’s time for Dblade to take his turn at bat.
Allods Online will launch to modest success. However when it becomes apparent how much the cash shop affects higher-tier gameplay, a lot of the game’s boosters will wind up deserting it, and it will settle down to be a profitable, if slightly undersubbed, F2P MMO.
F2P games that no blogger really covers, like Shin Megami Tensei Online, Mabinogi, and Pangya will continue to soldier on, adding customers and expansions, while western F2P games like DDO will start to lose ground as they try to tack on a cash shop system to games that weren’t designed for it.
Star Wars TOR will be the next Champions Online. Soloish and small group play, heavy instancing, no real large endgame or pvp structure. Bioware will try to cram KOTOR into an MMO mold, but find that story is not as important as it seems.
User Created Content will die as a gaming ideal. With Metaplace’s death, and Second Life’s irrelevancy and stagnation compared to the larger MMO market, the idea that gamers cherish the ability to make their own content will no longer be a driving force in design. In fact, user created content may even have negative perceptions, due to it being tied to a shell game of earning real life currency. Blue Mars will be a huge public bust.
WoW will be WoW. Cataclysm will be launched, forumers complain, business as usual.
Fallen Earth will lose a lot of its luster, as will Darkfall. The problem with indie developers: can they keep up with delivering content and polished gameplay? What happens when the game ages and the newness goes, and the core content starts to look stale? My cynical bet is both games will hover at a small fanbase, shedding people. This will hurt FE more.
Final Fantasy XIV releases, and is really really different from 11. Not many people understand how radical a departure 14 is from 11, and a lot of 14’s initial adopters will be people who played 11 and either loved it or left it. Chances are SE will go more for the casual side, and you’ll see a fair amount of griping from 11 vets who look at it as a semi-sequel to an aging game.
You’ll start to see the problems with sandboxes. More games will try a freeform, skillbased approach and people will no longer be able to hold sandboxing as an ideal. This actually is good, because when we stopped holding forced grouping as an ideal, we got WoW and the first mega-hit MMO. Once enough people try sandboxes, we will start to see the games designed to solve the problems with that style of play.
I will be wrong in all of the predictions but one. If I had a good sense about the future, I wouldn’t be where I was now.