Proxzor’s Predictions for 2012
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
2011 wasn’t only a year with awesome gaming titles but it was also the year of a lot of ups and downs. A lot of companies publishes their games and had a lot of success, and unfortunately some gaming studios saw their game fail in the market and had to change their original plans to grasp at what profit still remained for them. 2011 was a year of vast market expansion, but just as many games closed down due to increased competition. It seemed as if there was a surge of female gamers as well, though it’s likely due to the increased western publicity of e-sports bringing the faces behind the avatars to life. This rise in competitive gaming is what has captivated me and many others on the OnRPG staff the most in the past year. In fact in the past six months there were some western events that invited gamers to all gather at a local bar to watch their favorite Starcraft players battle it out on the big screens. This is something remarkable which hasn’t been seen before and wasn’t even expected to happen until a few months ago.
But enough of 2011. Looking at 2012 we will have some great games which we all have been anticipating for several years now closing in on their expected release deadlines. For all genre’s there will be something someone is waiting for and dying to play. You thought 2011 couldn’t be any better release-wise? Well then you are wrong! Dota 2, Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Mass Effect 3 have me hyped beyond expression. These are only a few games that have been announced and caught my eye early; who isn’t waiting for these shiny stars to be released?
In my eyes 2011 set the stage for a new golden age of competitive gaming in 2012. Games like Counter Strike, Call of Duty, Starcraft, and Halo have created a want in the western market and League of Legends has rushed in to fill this desire for e-sports with record numbers. Those familiar with the trends in the MMO market know that development will follow where the money goes, so expect many games to try to cater to the e-sports frenzy as 2012 stretches on. Personally I’m rooting for Dota 2 to become one of the biggest competitive games in the e-sports scene. The MOBA genre is quite popular right now and Valve is putting their full effort into building DOTA 2 as the premier e-sports title, hosting a major international tournament months before launch.
Before I trail off too far on the e-sports tangent and steal some thunder from Kluey’s upcoming e-sports prediction article, I want to look at the future of current MMOs on the market. Star Wars the Old Republic recently launched with a healthy pool of one million subscribers after the first few days. I expect this game to keep up its momentum into 2012 but don’t expect everything to be peachy. Like all major MMO launches in recent memory, it will have a loss of hype and a few players will fade away from the game, but not to the extent seen in games like Star Trek Online or Warhammer Online. Expect BioWare to release a free update in 2012 that will make history as one of the largest free expansions for an online game. Constant minor tweaks and updates as well will keep the majority of current subscribers satisfied well into 2012.
Diablo 3 is another title that has been a hot topic on gaming forums for a few months now. A lot of people have tested the first few levels and are having a fit that they will have to wait a few more months until experiencing the entire game. This game, like most all Blizzard titles, will be by far the most anticipated title among gamers and rake in the dollars in 2012. I do however think that the economic system is a huge flaw that will hold it back from its true potential. People that have been reading my articles about Diablo 3 might have read about the announced market system should agree with me that there are far too many holes in the system Blizzard has to account for. I believe this is going to be a mess that will take many months before Blizzard can iron out the faults. Knowing Blizzard the situation will be given their upmost attention and resolved successfully to ensure a bright future for Diablo 3 and the franchise as a whole.
So what about the current plethora of online games filling the market today? I think gaming studios already in the market will recognize their dwindling player bases and engage in marketing battles with each other to claim a particular niche for themselves. Also many upcoming pay-2-play games will eventually end up free-to-play with some sort of cash shop. Only a handful of games will be able to survive through 2012 on a subscription system, and I hope their managers realize this sooner rather than later.
Happy New Year OnRPG viewers and thanks for reading my 2012 predictions!