2011 is going to be a very interesting year for MMO gaming. “Regular” gaming will go on as per usual…not really ever taking notice of how important 2011 is, and in particular how important one soon to release MMO is. In the non-MMO space we’ll see some really excellent titles come out and really, that’s where I’ll be spending most of my time in terms of gaming. Really, my patience has come to an end with MMOs. I can no longer justify playing anything other than WoW right now because, well, they get it and they do it right every…single…time. Sure, shout against the rain all you want but your game will never be as good as WoW is right now. So, I’m embracing this fact and just sticking with WoW for the foreseeable future. RIFT and DCUO are good games, make no mistake. They will deliver for certain players and more than likely they will “succeed” by all internal measurements. If this was “Darren of 2009″ talking, I’d be a first day subscriber….but it’s not, so I won’t.
2011 will be a milestone year for MMOs and it all comes down to one title. Say it with me…Old Republic. Old Republic will either be the kick in the nuts to Facebook (…or the ever hated “social gaming” scene…) or it will be the knockout blow to all other MMOs going forward. Everyone is watching TOR right now as it will answer an extremely important question: are big budget MMOs dead? If the answer is “yes”, there will be much rejoicing in Facebook land as literally millions more VC money funnels into their coffers to finance more cow clicking games that apparently everyone loves. If the answer is “no”, then prepare for 2004 all over again. Heck, prepare for the late 90′s all over again. It will be glorious! Either way, the launch of TOR will be the beginning of the end for somebody.
Which do I think will happen? Like everything, the answer will be somewhere in the middle. TOR will probably re-establish the monthly sub model as the way to go. TOR will probably give users a new appreciation for story driven content. Much like what we’ve seen WoW start to do, story driven content will be a key feature for TOR…and it will either be orgasmic or highly annoying. We all know what I want to happen. I don’t want social gaming to win on this one. They are the Justin Bieber of gaming: young, full of shit, totally manufactured and HAVE NO TALENT! I want TOR to succeed…at least to the extent that make it possible for other games like it to be developed.
Either way, I think 2011 will belong to the single player experience, specifically to one often discarded section of gaming: indies. Watch out for indies this year because if Minecraft is any indication, we’re going to see a VERY strong push from the smaller players. While the Big Boys are distracted by ever increasing development costs, smaller shops are going to show up and show them all how it’s done. Look for Steam and other portals to be the go-to place for most indie developers. I really expect GDC to either be taken over by indie devs or for the indie game conferences to just trample everyone.
Well..that’s it for now. Talk to you all later.