Predictions: Video Games in 2011

Last year's predictions are here.

And for this year . . .


  • Sequels, sequels, sequels.  We're still going to get sequels, and people will complain about it while it continues.
  • More re-issues and remakes of old-games will occur.  This will build on nostalgia, name recognition, but may actually be refreshing among sequelitis.  This will be helped by DLC.
  • A bit of a malaise will settle over gaming due to the constant sameness. Due to the sequels and re-issues, some brave souls will be plotting more original IP, these will be divided between indies and companies working on distinct IP with plans (like the way Dead Space was conceived)
  • MMOs: DC Universe Online will do well, leveraging both quality, name, and the fact it's on a console, but its "arcadey" nature may not draw in the casual.  The Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO will be delayed to Q4 or possibly 2012, and will probably do decently (but will probably not be seen as innovative).  Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium will probably not come out.  Warcraft will continue to function as a money-printing device.  People will keep jumping on the MMO bandwagon, and a cry for innovation will probably be heard.  Pocket Legends will get a competitor.
  • DLC continues to be common and further accelerates towards replacing usual distribution.  Some mid-range companies may take the chance of releasing straight DLC for a full-scale title.
  • More and more "App Store" like concepts and setups will become common in gaming.  Companies will start with comletely virtual distribution – and others will move to it deliberately.
  • More focus on mobile devices, especially by EA who has done very well with i-Devices.  This will lead indie developers claiming they're getting squeezed out by the big boys jumping into mobile.
  • Gaming on mobile will continue to be big, and the iDevices will prove the natural competitor to the DS.  More talk will occur that Nintendo is falling behind.  The Sony PSP Phone will come out, and though good, the first generation will be a bit erratic.
  • Sony will continue to soldier on and make their consoles and components a full-media device.
  • Microsoft's X-Box will be the system to beat, but if they do not innovate, the talk in late 2011 will be that they're falling behind a more dynamic Sony.
  • Nintendo will need to decide on direction for their console and game strategy – but I'm not sure they have one.  Nintendo will be a company people have decreasing confidence in throughout 2011.
  • Single-platform games will be increasingly rare.


  • Social and casual gaming will be the bandwagon of the year. Look for everyone and their grandmother to hop on Facebook at an even greater rate than they are now – including established console gaming companies. However, they’re not going to be able to put a dent in the territory that has been well-staked-out by Zynga and DeNA.
  • Meanwhile, Rovio will survive its small Privacygate to turn Angry Birds into a true video game-to-multimedia empire unseen since Mario descended into the pipeline and came out as Captain Lou Albano.
  • As for the House that Mario Built, Nintendo will be quietly working on Wii 2 throughout the year while very loudly denying its existence. They will drop the bomb about its impending release around the turn of fall, and it will hit stores in time for the Christmas season, complete with HD (which they also have been loudly denying) and an improved motion capture system.
  • Sony will continue its push toward making the PS3 a Total Lifestyle Device, adding more and more multimedia features to the point where at the end of the year, they will be able to start marketing it to flat-out non-gamers as a super PC plus BoxeeBox plus stereo system. Meanwhile, rumors will start flying about an Android-powered PS4. Sony will deny it. An official announcement about PS4 With Android will come before the end of the year.

Steven Savage