Predictions: Video Games in 2010

Our 2009 predictions were here.

Our 2010 predictions are here . . .

What id I get right?  A new PSP, more emphasis on the PS3 as media system, X-box expanding, a Wii slump, Midway being gone, increase in social networking, iPhone seen as a gaming platform.  As for wrong, well gaming did good but still had its hits, I don't see as much emphasis on multimedia IP (but I think the quest for it is still there), and though I hear grumblings in the market about limited offers it hasn't really become a big thing.  I also didn't call DLC close enough.

This year's predictions:

  • Sony keeps experimenting and trying to throw everything against the wall, but also focuses on shoring up their base.  Increasing amount of titles helps make the PS3 a solid seller.
  • Microsoft coasts on the X-box.  Natal may get press, but will ultimately be a gimmick.
  • DLC is big and gets bigger, as does simpler software like what one sees at  DLC becomes more and more the norm for games.
  • Monetizing old assets – in the form of DLC and cheap re-releases – will come back into the spotlight more in mid-2010.  Picking over and re-releasing or re-using old IP will also increase later 2010.
  • Gamestop will develop a fuller DLC plan in late 2010 that will mean a shift in focus, market, and dealership in 2011.  It doesn't matter if this is an actual plan – they will announce one so people know they're still in the game.  50-50 shot they do have an acquisition this year.
  • Game tie-ins will get more prominent in media properties.
  • The iPhone and mobile gaming will continue to grow, and the iPhone will be treated as a gaming device (even if Apple keeps pitching it as multimedia/communication).
  • Someone will discuss the NEXT generation of consoles around Q2/Q3.
  • Crazy Peripherals will be out, as we've learned from DJ Hero and other ill-advised ventures.


  • In a word: Think small. Mobile phone gaming, which is already a significant part of the industry, will take off like a rocket in 2010, and not just on the iPhone – Android will come into its own as a gaming platform. (Look for the AT&T vs. Verizon war of words to expand into this arena, which each side touting its phone as the superior gaming device).
  • Speaking of mobile gaming, EA will continue to increase its participation in this arena, and other major gaming companies may follow suit, possibly leading to some grumbling among indie game developers that they can’t grab eyeballs for their creations when they have to compete with Mobile Sims and God of War iPhone.
  • Furthermore, this may be the year that Sony finally produces that much-rumored PSP Phone. The PSP is still struggling to get a foothold in this country, and increased competition from mobile phones is only going to make the situation worse, so look for them to go with the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach.
  • Nintendo will go back on its word that no next-generation Wii is in the offering and announce a new system in the second half of the year, with it actually hitting the shelves in time for the holidays. (It will spend the first half of the year denying the system’s existence). Wii II will play catchup with the Xbox and PS3 in the “total lifestyle device” sweepstakes, with integrated movie rentals, virtual worlds, music software, etc.
  • There will be many predictions made of the death of the boxed game, but it won’t happen. While game companies will continue to expand their downloadable content offerings, boxed games will remain the bedrock of the industry, much to the relief of GameStop.
  • More companies will seek out multimedia synergy marketing strategies for their biggest releases, like EA is doing with Dante’s Inferno (which is increasingly looking like the James Cameron’s Avatar of video games). Look for tie-in DVDs, comics, novels, etc.
  • Sony and Xbox will debut their motion control systems by the end of the year, though they’ll be slow to catch on, with limited numbers of titles available. This is going to be more of a 2011 story.