2012 was a great year for gaming, but I have a feeling that 2013 will be even better. We've got a lot of exciting game releases coming up in the next few months, and if we're lucky, we might have a new hardware reveal or two as well. Of course, we won't know for sure what happens until we're further into 2013, but that doesn't mean we can't drop some predictions in the meantime. Read on to see gaming predictions and even a few hopes for 2013!
First and foremost, we have the obvious question about new hardware. With Nintendo releasing the Wii U back in November, it's now up to Sony and Microsoft to really get the next generation of gaming underway. While I've been convinced for a while that Microsoft is plotting to reveal the next Xbox sometime this year, to be honest with you, I couldn't figure out whether Sony was going to announce the next PlayStation this year or wait for 2014. Then Sony started sending out press invites to an event it's holding at the end of February.
The immediate thought is that Sony will officially pull the veil off the next PlayStation at this event, and that could very well happen. I think Sony wants to get the jump on Microsoft in the next generation, and I also think neither company wants to leave Nintendo alone as the only company with a "next-gen" console on the market for very long. Sony as a whole has been struggling a bit lately, but its games division has been performing relatively well - getting a new console on the market before Microsoft does could mean great things for Sony's pocketbook. Does this mean that Sony will reveal the PlayStation 4 (or whatever it'll be called) at this event? I'm not willing to call it either way. Here's what I am willing to say, though: by the end of the year, both Sony and Microsoft will have revealed their next consoles, and we'll have one (maybe both) available by the time 2014 rolls around.
While a new PlayStation reveal seems likely for this event, there's something almost certain to happen there. I think Sony will use this event to announce a price drop on the PlayStation Vita. The Vita hasn't been performing well at all, and Sony needs to do something if it wants to have any hope of competing against the 3DS. If no one is buying the handheld, no one will want to develop games for it, which in turn means that there's only one thing to do: cut the price. A Vita price cut has to come this year if Sony wants to stay relevant in the handheld space, the earlier the better. So, it makes sense that Sony will announce such a price cut at an event where its bound to get a lot of press attention.
If announcements of new hardware are coming this year, then it stands to reason that we'll see a bunch of new properties revealed as well. Of course, 2013 will be chock-full of sequels just like 2012, 2011, and 2010 were, but I think a lot of the big studios are going to step up to bring us exciting new games to play on the new hardware. If you're suffering from sequel fatigue like so many of us are, just hold on, because once those consoles are revealed, we'll more than likely see a whole bunch of new IP that we can really sink our teeth into.
Now for game-specific predictions: I think Nintendo isn't going to waste any time introducing the world to a brand new 3D Mario game for the Wii U. New Super Mario Bros. U is great and all, but it doesn't exactly serve as a worthy replacement to the likes of Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy. The Wii U has been performing well, but if Nintendo really wants to see consoles flying off the shelves, it will use 2013 to reveal a new HD Mario adventure, preferably before Microsoft and Sony can get their next consoles to retail. I'm hoping that we'll see the reveal of a new Zelda game for the Wii U, but with Skyward Sword only hitting at the end of 2011, that may be nothing more than a fool's hope.
Just as well, I have a feeling that 2013 will be the year that Bethesda reveals Fallout 4, complete with the Creation Engine it used in Skyrim. This one is actually a pretty tough prediction, as I think the reveal of Fallout 4 relies heavily on when Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles launch. If we see a new Xbox or PlayStation this year, I wouldn't be surprised to see Fallout 4 following closely behind. Bethesda put Oblivion on the Xbox 360 early in the console's life, and by doing so, Bethesda became a much more common name in the gaming community. If it can use Fallout 4 to show off the tech behind these new consoles, I have a feeling it will.
Sadly, 2013 isn't going to be an all-around great year for Bethesda. The Elder Scrolls Online is scheduled to launch early this year, but I have no problem predicting that it'll be dead on arrival. Don't get me wrong, the game looks great and it's finally giving us a multiplayer Elder Scrolls experience, but I don't think it's the multiplayer experience many players wanted. It'll also come with a subscription fee at launch, which we know now is only something a select few MMOs can pull off. If Star Wars: The Old Republic can't make it as a subscription MMO, I sadly don't think The Elder Scrolls Online can either. I hope I'm wrong, because it does look beautiful and I'm excited to finally have a chance to explore all of Tamriel in one game, but I think history shows that it's going to be an uphill for the battle for the title, and one that's going to be nigh impossible to win.
Even though I'm beyond excited for the return of SimCity, I don't think that's going to be a success either. EA's insistence on using always-on DRM will be what ultimately kills SimCity, as I have a feeling many SimCity players will experience launch problems very similar to the issues Diablo III had. Fans didn't like Diablo III for many other reasons, but Blizzard's use of always-on DRM got things off to a very rough start. I just don't think a game can survive if it sports always-on DRM, so sadly, players might lose interest in the game only a few short months after its release.
On the other hand, I think DmC: Devil May Cry is going to hit a sweet spot with critics, despite the fact that fans have thrown a fit over the changes being made. Change is always a difficult thing to accept when it comes to gaming, but I think that DmC might just offer the shake up the long running series needs. Early impressions have been good, and while I may end up eating my words sooner rather than later (DmC is out in just a couple of weeks, remember), the game could be the start of something great for the franchise.
2013 will also be the year that Kickstarter proves its worth to the gaming world. A lot of the projects that were funded in 2012 will be releasing in 2013, and while there will be some failures, there will also be some smashing successes. Some games will fail to find an audience outside of backers, sure, but that's okay - the developers get to make the game they wanted without relying on funds from publishers, and those who were truly interested will get to play it. Unless a studio needs to use some of its own funds to further fuel development, a game funded through Kickstarter doesn't necessarily need to make millions after launch. In any case, 2013 should be a pretty inspiring year for the game projects that found funding success in 2012.
There is one Kickstarter project from 2012 that might struggle a bit after it's out of the gate: OUYA. The tiny little Android console has a separate problem from simple games that were funded using Kickstarter, in that it needs support after launch. Yes, it's an inexpensive console, but I'm still having a hard time seeing how there's going to be any sort of large-scale success outside of the initial Kickstarter campaign. We shall see soon enough, as OUYA is scheduled to launch in just a few months, and while I don't think it'll fail outright, I think that 2013 is going to be a much harder year than OUYA's makers were anticipating.
So there you have it - some of my gaming predictions for 2013. There's no guarantee that any of this is going to play out as I've predicted, but looking at the lead up to 2013, this is where I feel the industry is headed this year. What do you think? Am I completely missing the mark here, or do you think some of these predictions will play out in the year to come? We'll find out whether I'm right or wrong soon enough as 2013 is already underway, but in the meantime, leave a comment with your own gaming predictions for 2013 below!