2014 MMO Predictions – Let Gamers Be Heard
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Looking back at 2013, the year has been an odd year. The industry has become a little bit smaller, but also a little bigger. We have seen a lot of new tech, and a lot of new paths for developers to take, it isn’t necessarily the wild west again but I do think the industry scrambling to solve a bit of a puzzle right now. But more on this later, looking back at 2013 I really think we made a step forward in the right direction of the existence of the gaming industry.
Bound by Publisher Dollars No Longer
The internet is voicing its own opinion, each day getting louder and stronger and there’s a heavy focus on the outcry towards the gaming industry. No longer are game studios bound to having a publisher, with a good idea and enough initiative you no longer need to ask the bigger publishers to get interested in your game. No, this isn’t needed anymore and instead you can interact directly with the gamers to see if enough of a market is there to fund your development cost. One of the biggest developments we have seen in 2013 is seeing Star Citizen develop. This is no longer a game that is still in progress, no it is actually a project made by gamers like you and me, and developers working in the industry as long as it exists. They have no publisher that keeps reminding them that a game has to be out by the end of the year, but rather deadlines are set by the team that understands expectations versus the reality of the project. The success they garner should inspire plenty more indie developers to give their project a try on the open market.
Kickstarters, crowd funds or anything else like this will be making the year of 2014 a revolution for the gaming industry. I believe that publishers will have to take a step back, perhaps even rethink their business plan because with the start of Star Citizen a whole new window opened and I predict that many more will follow this crowd funding project.
Return to the TCG Roots
There’s a less noticeable movement gaining momentum in 2013 that’s only going to grow this year. 2014 will be the return of the card game, and no not the physical packs we picked up as kids. With the Hearthstone beta being out for quite some time now, and seeing more and more card games coming onto the market, I think we will once again see this simple yet amazingly fun concept rise into prominence. It’s a rule that Blizzard has to be copied in this industry after all.
Besides this I have always thought it was hard to predict something to happen, especially in our unstable industry today. We have seen an influx of ideas looking to change the way we input controls into gaming. Among them the Oculus Rift stands positioned to turn the entire PC industry on its head with fully immersive 3D+ gaming. But what if that’s just a distraction? Could there be even wilder hardware about to burst onto the scene to bring the connection between our brain and our avatar closer than ever before? One thing for sure, a revolution in the way we view gaming is coming.
I like the word revolution, though it’s typically related to the overthrow of government and social institutions, it relates to the state of the gaming industry well. “A sudden or momentous change in a situation.” And while most of our fellow writers are focusing on the revolution in the standard realm of MMOs, I the shooting genre shifted away from static arena combat and into further levels of persistent survival. And how perfect that such a movement was built on an unexpected successful mod rather than a publisher pushed initiative. It’s yet another way the audience is rising up to slam the industry in the face with their demands, and the industry is reeling in the current economic crisis to offer their loyal fans just that to stay afloat. Let us hope that 2014 will make the voice of us gamers even louder. Let us be heard even more, for our criticisms as well as our praises, because 2013 has shown us that desperation has finally brought the online gaming industry to the point that they are ready to listen and react.