Soldant: Prophet, nurse, student paramedic, and all-round hero.
I did some predictions for 2012, which I think are worth revisiting. You can read them here. How did I do? Sort of okay I guess. Valve didn’t really talk about Ep3 or HL3 though there’s some evidence that something might be going on out there. Consoles are definitely the focus for the AAA devs (and increasing numbers of indie devs) but the PC is still a major force which might be picking up steam. Apple did release the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3… as well as the iPad 4, because fuck you early adopters. Social gaming is in a slide, but mobile games are picking up. Windows 8? T’was not late! And yet it sparked a huge debate! About the benefits of a touch GUI (sorry, out of sweet rhymes for today).
So, what do I foresee for 2013?
5: Steam Linux takes off, but few switch
Right now the internet is buzzing with Valve’s plans to push into Linux gaming. If you’re optimistic, it’s because Valve really care and want to bring games to a platform that gamers threaten to use, but never actually switch to. If you’re a realist, you’d recognise that Steam would be the biggest fish in the very small pond that is Linux gaming, and would capture the vast majority of the market by default. Add on to that the logical progressing towards selling their own custom PCs with a SteamOS (where Steam is the store that takes pride of place), and it’s clear that Valve’s intention is to capture as much of the PC gaming market as possible. Mr Newell, doesn’t it seem a bit hypocritical to dislike Microsoft for adding their own store (which poses zero threat to Steam) while pushing to create your own very similar solution? But I digress. In any event, the chances of Steam coming to Linux pushing us all off Windows is somewhere around “bugger all”. It’ll see adoption, just like the OSX version of Steam, but given that Valve didn’t really convince a lot of people to make more games for OSX, I don’t think they’ll manage it for the fractured Linux landscape. We’ll still be on Windows this time next year.
4: New Consoles
Yeah, it’s a bit of a safe prediction, but I’d wager that we’ll see the new consoles either on sale or at least announced next year. The xbox 360 and PS3 are getting long in the tooth, and it shows. Ever played Far Cry 3 on a 360 and a PC? On a PC it looks stunning. On a 360 is a muddy, blurry, confused mess which is difficult to watch in motion. While I disagree that they’re “holding back” PC development (though they did put a stop to the never-ending upgrade cycle, and that’s not a bad thing at all) but they are holding back games in general, namely due to their now-tiny amount of RAM. Yes, they’re different architectures from a PC and blah blah, but 512MB of RAM is still 512MB of RAM, and after a while you hit that limit. The 360 landed in 2006. My PC from 2006 was a goddamn dual core e6300 with 2GB of RAM and a… um… well, I don’t even remember what the GPU was, but it had trouble with Oblivion. Might’ve been a 6600GT. It wouldn’t be able to do anything today, yet the consoles have hung on for this long. Time to upgrade, guys.
3: Windows 8 Average, Windows 9 Much the Same
Windows 8 is a bit like Vista. Vista came out years after XP had entrenched itself, and dragged us kicking and screaming into the new era. It suffered from major performance issues because driver manufacturers had apparently done nothing during the lead-up to release, and proceeded to do nothing until Windows 7 landed. Win8 is different in that it actually improves performance, but brings with it a new UI and an attempt to unify the mobile and desktop platforms. People either love it or hate it, and lots of people are saying “Wait for Windows 9 when this will all be forgotten.” Except I’m betting that it won’t, Win9 will be Win8 with a few new improvements, and if you don’t like Win8 you won’t like Win9.
2: Piracy War Gets Worse
This year the piracy war heated up quite a bit, with an insane number of DCMA takedowns being issued for lots of things (including works that the DCMA takedown had absolutely no relevance for), along with more lawsuits, more laws, and more high-profile closures. Even usenet wasn’t safe this time, with popular indexing site NZBMatrix throwing in the towel after a mass of DCMA takedown requests were issued. It’s only going to get worse. Brace yourselves. Lawsuits are coming.
1: Ep3 is Dead, and No HL3
Even if they haven’t said it, it’s pretty clear that Episode 3 is dead. No doubt Valve were working on it, but they’ve clearly screwed up and to release a 4 hour episode after five years would be rightfully ridiculed. There’s no way they’re still doing Ep3, it’s been too long. The more likely scenario is that Episode 3 has become Half Life 3, and will be a proper game with 8 hours of gameplay. But even still, 2013 will probably pass by with nothing more than trolling attempts by Valve or fans to suggest that HL3 is on its way. We won’t hear anything concrete. It won’t be released. Valve will screw around some more. Situation normal!