Posted on Sunday, January 6 @ 12:00:00 Eastern by Alex_Osborn
With 2012 now behind us, we set our sights on the future and all of the excitement that 2013 will inevitably hold. Last year was a bit lackluster due to two consoles that are starting to show their age. If anything, 2012 was the calm before the storm that will rain down all over 2013.
As such, we here at GameRevolution figured it was a good time to dig out our thinking caps and make a few predictions on what the next twelve months may hold. So without further ado, let's get right into it.
Competitive Gaming Explodes To New Heights Of Popularity
As first-person shooters, MOBAs, and real-time strategy games continue to grow in popularity, we're bound to see eSports expand throughout the year. The insanely large community that is vested in League of Legends is evidence to this fact, and a testament to the popularity of competitive free-to-play games.
Let's also not forget that we've got DotA 2 on the horizon along with the long-awaited StarCraft II expansion, both of which will undoubtedly have a strong foothold in the competitive gaming arena. Couple that with the continuing love for fighting games like Street Fighter and first-person shooters like Call of Duty, and you've got a wide array of genres that fit nicely into this professional gaming space.
Next-Gen Xbox Unveiled, Launches Holiday 2013
With Xbox Live's Major Nelson already counting down to E3, it's growing clearer that Microsoft plans to pull back the curtain on the Xbox 360's successor during their press conference in June. Judging by what they've done in the past, there's a good chance we'll see it launch mid-November.
Also, expect it to resemble more of a multimedia device than a traditional dedicated gaming console. It'll likely have a Blu-ray drive, a more robust suite of entertainment apps, and lots of new social networking features. The standard model will go for $399, while a stripped-down set-top box that allows access to entertainment apps and XBLA games will be aimed at the casual crowd for $149. Oh yeah, and I think they'll just call it the Xbox—at least, that's totally what they should do.
On the software side, don't expect to catch wind of a new Halo or Gears of War just yet, though a sequel to Alan Wake from Remedy would be a safe bet. Maybe some sort of exclusive DLC or early release deal with Activision on Bungie's Destiny as well. Speaking of which...
Respawn And Bungie Projects Amaze, Shatter Interest In Modern Military Shooters
While Call of Duty: Black Ops II sold boatloads of copies, the series' overall sales are slowly starting to decline. When new hardware inevitably rolls out, Treyarch and the remnants of Infinity Ward won't be able to rest on the laurels of such a dated engine, and something tells me that they'll inevitably get overshadowed by the forthcoming competition. The former Infinity Ward guys who left to form Respawn Entertainment have been hard at work for quite a while now, so whatever they do is certainly going to be huge, and it's about time they show us what it is.
Likewise, we've heard rumblings from Activision and Bungie regarding the Halo creator's next big thing. The studio has released some artwork showcasing their vision, and I must say, it's quite compelling. If any team of developers can knock Halo off its mantle as the number one sci-fi shooter, it's the guys who created the franchise in the first place. Expect some revolutionary approach to online as well.
Next-Gen PlayStation Unveiled, Launches Holiday 2013
The PlayStation 3 was late to the party and overpriced when it first launched, and it really hurt the console's first couple of years. As such, don't expect Sony to make the same mistake again. The PlayStation 4, Orbis, or whatever you want to call it (I think they may actually abandon the numbering this time, in part because of the superstition of the number 4 in Japan) will almost certainly be priced competitvely, with the entry SKU starting at $399 and one with a larger hard drive likely pushing the $499 mark.
When the console is revealed (during E3 at the very latest), expect to see Sony harp on how the PS Vita adds second-screen functionality. As far as games go, there's a good chance we'll see Killzone 4 and Uncharted 4, but probably no God of War 4 just yet, considering Ascension is right around the corner. Come to think of it, with all these '4s,' maybe Sony will stick with the numbering and kick off some big PS4 marketing campaign that highlights all these big sequels. There are also The Last Guardian and the acquisition of Gaikai to consider, but we'll get to that in just a moment.
Sony Drops Vita Price To $199, Lack Of Compelling Software Continues
Those of you expecting 2013 to be a big year for the Vita are going to be sorely disappointed. There isn't a whole lot of compelling software on the horizon and with such an underwhelming install base, don't expect third parties to jump on board anytime soon. I hate to break it to you, but that BioShock Vita title you're hoping for is all but a pipe dream at this point. I think Killzone: Mercenary will be great but unfortunately won't sell all that well—the same will likely go for Soul Sacrifice, Tearaway, and Dragon's Crown.
As such, we'll likely see a price drop for the device sometime in the latter half of this year to $199. This will (hopefully) cause a small spike in sales that will at least get the device in more gamers' hands. Unfortunately for Sony, I think strong competition from Nintendo and smartphones will make it clear by the end of the year that they're just barely keeping their head above water in the mobile space. Perhaps they'll find more success with their PlayStation Mobile platform instead.