December 30, 2008


Its that time of year where we all pull up our predictions for the past year and see how WRONG we were.

1. 2008 will be a year of announcements for MMOs. 38 studios, Bioware, Zenimax, Red 5, and many other studios will all announce their MMO projects. Some will come out of left field, while others will just confirm current rumors.

Alright, we know about Star Wars: The Old Republic from Bioware. That's about it.

2. 2008 will be a year of launches for delayed games. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Age of Conan, and Pirates of the Burning Sea will all finally launch. WAR will be the only big success in the group.

I got one correct at least. All three games launched, but the jury is out on whether WAR will be a success post-launch.

3. 2008 will NOT be a year for micro-transaction or RMT based games. RMT and micro-transactions will take another hit as WAR launches and proves the monthly subscription model is still king of the hill for revenue. RMT and micro-transactions will turn a profit, but only in accounting terms. The model will barely break-even in economic terms.

Not really sure where to place this one. I was right that RMT/micro-transactions still don't bring in a ton of revenue, but on the other hand, the games are fairly successful numbers wise. Wizards 101 launched this year with the micro-transaction model and is doing quite well. SOE is still forcing Everquest 1 & 2 players to be guinea pigs for the RMT model. Maple Story still has more players than World of Warcraft. So, financially great? No. Successful? Yes.

4. 2008 will be a year of web-games. Already popular web-games will continue to grow. New web-games will launch. None of them will challenge the revenue generation of monthly subscription or box sale titles. All will be susceptible to any sort of web 2.0 wrinkles.

Some big web games are out there from years prior, but nothing blockbuster this year. Maybe this will change in 2009 with Quake Live or whenever Metaplace roles out.

5. 2008 will not be a good year for Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). SOE is closing out 2007 in grand fashion: developer scandals, buyout rumors, and reportedly falling subscriptions. Two of which, the buyout and falling subscriptions, have been denied repeatedly. Tack this onto SOE's shift in revenue models and 2008 doesn't look pretty. Grimwell, I await your response :)

SOE didn't fold, but it isn't apparent how well they did. Personally, any company that sanctions RMT in their previously not-RMT games is showing signs of desperation. I'll give myself a pass on this one.

6. 2008 will be a Dark year. Dark Age of Camelot will feel increasing pressure this year as WAR launches and replaces the Realm vs. Realm gameplay model with a newer and fresher version.

DAoC took a huge hit when WAR launched, but it looks like many players are back in DAoC, happily bashing each other's heads in. DAoC Origins is still in the works, showing that DAoC still has life left. However, Mythic is awfully quiet about Origins lately.

7. 2008 will be a Cold year. Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft's second expansion, will launch late in the year. It will be successful, but will fall short of the success of The Burning Crusade. China will not see the expansion until 2009.

I was wrong. It appears the Internets still loves World of Warcraft; Wrath of the Lich King breaking all sorts of sales records. The reviews so far are favorable and WotLK has lead to an increase to 11.5 million players. WoW will never cease to amaze me.

8. 2008 will be a year of MMO podcasting. MMO podcasting has picked up over the last couple of years, but 2008 will bring it into the limelight as more commercially driven entities enter the market. Unfortunately, popularity will remain in the hands of the "weekend warriors", not the commercially driven podcasts.

MMO Podcasting has taken off. Good MMO Podcasts are a dime-a-dozen and that's a good thing.

9. 2008 will be a year of lawyering. From the RIAA chasing grandmas with MP3s to IGE's potential criminal investigation, 2008 will be an unprecedented year for lawyers entering the online-circus. Expect to see some major court cases develop over the year, but don't expect them to finish before the year is out.

Actually, the big news of 2008 is that the RIAA has decided to stop suing their customers out of existence, instead favoring working with ISPs to block the sources of pirated materials.

10. 2008 will not be a good year for Gax-Online. This is a personal pick. The dog and pony show holding up Gax-Online will finally realize they have become what they've always chastised, sending them into a cataclysmic tailspin. Or, they'll sell out the second someone offers them half a donut and a cup'o'joe.

I don't care enough to bother looking to see if this disaster of a website is still running. The only people I know that were using the website, are no longer doing so and that is a WIN in my book.