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Reader Comments (51)

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 6:41PM Blacknimbus said

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"2010 is going to be a worse year for free-to-play than 2009 -- the novelty will have worn off, and I suspect fewer people will be investing in some of the item malls. Microtransactions aren't going anywhere, though, and the DDO model might get picked up a couple other times. "

I'm not sure that the way you pay for a game is all that important. If the game is crummy (or entertaining) it hardly matters if it's P2P or F2P. It will stand or fall on its merits as long as it generates revenue.

And the DDO model is very likely to be picked up by other companies if it turns out to actually be profitable. I wouldn't be surprised if another major IP goes this way in 2010.

And on the F2P front, Allods Online is still in Closed Beta, but it should do quite well, assuming they don't go nuts with the cash shop or completely blow what appears to be a very ambitious endgame.

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 6:59PM (Unverified) said

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I'm sorry, but two failing games are going to make a comeback in 2010: Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. Both of these games are fairly fun. AoC is coming up with interesting new content. Warhammer Online has done great work on their client and game mechanics, it should also make a resurgence under new direction.

SWTOR and Allods will be big, f2p will continue as always with some of the crappier old games dying, and the big surprise will be Guild Wars 2 releasing in Q4 2010! :D

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 11:30PM (Unverified) said

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"Brendan Drain:
In 2009, there was an almost industry-wide over-estimation in the future success of new MMOs. Coming up to their release days, every game was hailed as the next big thing and few did as well as predicted. I think people as a whole will have more reserved expectations for the genre this year. This may just be the optimist in me speaking, but hopefully studios will focus less on launches and stop over-estimating their ability to keep subscribers in the long-term.

I think 2010 will bring something fresh to the genre. With several sci-fi MMOs on the way to challenge EVE Online and companies currently experimenting with alternative business models, it looks like studios are up for taking some risks. Hopefully then this year will bring some much needed innovation to the industry."

What I'm sure Brendan (please correct me if I'm assuming wrong) is also predicting is the appearance of Ambulations/Walking In Stations/Incarna (will they decide some time today?) and Dust 514. What I personally predict is we will see Incarna next expansion, I'm guessing around late May, June or even July because I know they are still cleaning up from their last expansion.

Dust 514 will probably come not too long after that. XBox 360 is rumored to be coming out with an upgrade to their current console in fall 2010 to give it a little more umph and I bet Dust 514 will follow shortly. Depending on how well Microsoft likes the game it may even come bundled with a XBox 360.

Posted: Jan 1st 2010 1:07AM Brendan Drain said

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I didn't really touch on EVE Online much in my predictions because it could go either way at this point. I do expect Incarna to be the summer expansion in June/July but seeing how many delays it's gotten so far, it could come as the winter expansion. Either way they haven't released any information on what the other expansion will be (as we always get two per year), so that'll be interesting to see. It could be another disappointing "Quantum Rise" type expansion or something awesome completely out of the blue.

I'm pretty confident that Dust514 won't be launched in 2010, it hasn't been in development long enough. Remember that the development teams working on EVE Online and Dust are completely separate. They're in different countries, even. They can't just put all the EVE guys onto Dust514 and push it out rapidly.

Regarding the XBox360, rumour has it that the full-body motion capture project codenamed "Natal" is coming out by christmas 2010 ("natal" is portuguese for christmas). Maybe that's why the rumour of an upgrade is going about, it might actually be required for natal.
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Posted: Jan 1st 2010 1:32AM SgtBaker said

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They pretty much confirmed the next two EVE expansions at the fanfest already.
Summer expansion: Planetary Interactions
Winter expansion: Incarna

Dust514.. hmm, 3 years into development already - it just might pop up ready for 2010 Christmas market - but I guess 2011 is more realistic..

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Posted: Jan 1st 2010 11:18PM Brendan Drain said

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Planetary flight for summer? That'll be awesome, it's been long awaited. The new planetary graphics have probably given CCP some important tools to work with for closer planetary interaction. For example, there must be a system in place now for generating a heightmap or normalmap/bumpmap for planets as they use one in the lightmap layer. That can be used for constructing meshes of surface features for up-close interaction, though they'll need a good system for interpolating between points on the heightmap and adding more detail as the player gets closer. They talked of this being a feature of the new planet graphics, using a fractal algorithm to add progressively finer detail on zooming, but as far as I can tell it never materialised. The current iteration of the planet graphics are procedurally generated textures but they don't appear to respond to zoom or proximity apart from the simple mimapping the GPU does.
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Posted: Jan 8th 2010 3:03AM (Unverified) said

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I think the summer expansion is rumored to be related to the RTS planetary management/control stuff that will be behind the future DUST conflicts, if I remember the Fanfest 09 stuff correctly.
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Posted: Dec 31st 2009 7:29PM CCon99 said

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Here's some of my predictions for 2010. Keep in mind I'm not wishing for or against any of the following to happen, just speculating the way I see things unfolding. Feel free to agree or disagree with me.

STO: Will likely have a pretty successful launch if they can keep the beta tight lipped and limit how much time the open beta players have with the game creating the illusion that it's a complete game. Sadly like CO, I predict this game will lose a lot of it's subscribers 2-3 months after release due to the game being unstable from not being thoroughly beta tested with mass numbers and not much to do after the quick rush to end levels these action-instance heavy games produce.

Champions Online: I think this game is going to be hit very very hard by STO's release. The population is already dwindling and what is going to happen when all of those Cryptic Fans ditch CO for STO? If Cryptic doesn't come up with some kind of "Subscription Pass" for both their games, I think CO is going to end up in more serious trouble then anyone expects. I'm starting to regret jumping on that lifetime sub now.

Fallen Earth: I don't think this game will have as big of a launch as STO, but I think this game will be a sleeper that will gain numbers steadily as the year goes on.

CoX Going Rogue: The first major expansion since CoV will breathe enough life back into CoX and continue to keep the game a float till DCUO launches in 2011.

Allods: I think this game is going to be huge and I hate F2P games.

SWTOR: Won't be out in 2010.

Guild Wars 2: Won't be out in 2010.

DCUO: Won't be out in 2010.

Stargate Worlds: Will finally be announced as dead.

Cryptic's Mystery Game: Will be announced and will be something that has a ton of awesome potential, but will wind up boring us when Cryptic applies their "vision" to it and it ends up a dumbed down, over instanced, button masher that rushes to launch 9 months after it's first announced.

Vanguard: Likely won't make it to 2011.

Warhammer Online: Will announce they will be shutting down it's remaining merged server in December 2010.

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 9:55PM CCon99 said

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Oops, when I said Fallen Earth, I meant Global Agenda.
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Posted: Dec 31st 2009 10:59PM phobic99 said

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I think your predictions are the most accurate. Good stuff ;)
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 12:13PM (Unverified) said

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Stargate Worlds was turned into a First Person Shooter non-MMO already
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Posted: Dec 31st 2009 7:47PM Crsh said

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I'm eagerly waiting for SWTOR, Bioware genius is long overdue in the MMO world.

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 7:55PM Seffrid said

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My predictions:-

Fallen Earth will grow steadily through the year, as will Age of Conan and Warhammer Online.

Vanguard will close before the year end, and SOE will announce the abandonment of the Agency. SWG will also close. Early in the year Smedley will announce that the EQ titles will continue on a subscription-based business model. Station Access will be dropped, and before the end of the year Smedley will announce that the EQ titles are being switched to a RMT-based business model.

Alganon will close early in the year. David Allen will blame Blizzard for having copied the early design of his game.

Star Trek Online will launch with server queues and massive gold selling problems but will then go downhill over the following months ending a roller-coaster year much like Warhammer Online did when it launched.

Champions Online will continue to decline and will end the year on routine maintenance only with little in the way of new development taking place. It'll be strongly tipped this time next year for closure in 2011.

SWTOR will continue to be unseen and untested for much of the year but as more snippets emerge from an eventual closed beta there will be growing concern as to whether the storyline and interraction elements so critical to the success of Bioware's offline games can be successfully applied to a MMO that people will want to play for years rather than weeks.

Guild Wars 2, Hero's Journey and Huxley will remain vapourware for another year.

Allods will have an initial success at the younger end of the market, with a growing resistance at the older end to the "cutesy anime meets Free Realms in the style of WoW" type of MMO.

EVE and LoTRO will still be around. DDO will go from strength to strength as a result of this year's switch in the business model.

Unbelievably, Horizons/Istaria will still be going.

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 8:34PM (Unverified) said

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I wouldn't consider Guild Wars 2 vaporware anymore. 6 months ago, yeah, but Anet has started to release trailers and reveal more about the game recently, and they have at least made a schedule of when they plan to release more information and start the beta. Also keep in mind that GW2 was only announced like 2 years ago, and development had most likely started only half a year before that (if even that long).
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Posted: Dec 31st 2009 7:57PM (Unverified) said

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Dunno if it will release next year in the US or not, but Dragon Ball Online will totally be the destroyer of MMORPGs.

No other MMORPG will be able to handle the players with their power levels of over nine thousand and their kamehamehas.

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 7:59PM (Unverified) said

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I think FFXIV will impress many in 2010. :)

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 9:29PM Valdur said

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1.2010 will be another let down year for MMO.

2.EvE online will continue to grow.

3.38studios will reveal more on their secret IP and announce their release date in 2011.

4.AoC will make an incredible comeback.

5.Vanguard will probably be shut down

6.Warhammer will replace Vanguard status of a promising game running on life support and will probably closed down Dec 2011

7.More hatred for Smedley from the gaming community

8.Brad McQuaid will announce his new project

Posted: Dec 31st 2009 10:36PM Brendan Drain said

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I genuinely hope AoC makes some kind of incredible come-back, but I don't think they can do it. Funcom can't be blind, they must know the number one problem with their game is that the game after tortage isn't nearly as complete and polished as those first 20 levels. It's basically the one thing blogs and reviews have been unilaterally agreeing on since launch and fixing that would make AoC incredible. There's no way that's escaped Funcom's attention, so it's a safe bet that they just don't have the money to do it.

But like I said, I genuinely hope they do manage to make a come-back because like many people I found early AoC and Tortage to be one of the best MMO experiences I've ever had.
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Posted: Dec 31st 2009 10:56PM Wisdomandlore said

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1. FFXIV will follow the path of FFXI. It will be the surprise hit, drawing a steady audience over the months. However, as players realize that Square-Enix doesn't care about what they think and that the game is not evolving at all, most players will move to SW:TOR, leaving FFXIV a mildly-successful game.

2. SW:TOR will come out in Q4 2010. It won't deviate too much from the WoW model, and it will lack high-end and PvP content. It will still be a good game and launch to massive sales.

3. Turbine will announce a (heavily-modified) version of Lord of the Rings Online for Xbox 360. It will have a fully playable evil faction.

4. Updates for the PC version of LOTRO will slow to a trickle.

5. WoW will come to the iPhone.

Posted: Jan 1st 2010 1:45AM Bezza said

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I think 2010 will show a change in attitude to WoW by the community and by non-blizzard studio’s. WoW is a phenomena in it’s own right. Cataclysm will only strengthen the phenomena but ultimately this will not overly impact on the rest of the MMO community. 2010 will reveal that both players and developers will continue to realise that World of Warcraft does not speak for or define the rest of the MMO Genre. The “average” wow player is not a traditional gamer and they do not make the transition to other MMO’s comfortably. I think the industry will come to recognise that they will not produce a wow-killer game because the vast majority of wow players aren’t gamers. At least not the kind of gamers who will objectively try another mmo. (and have the hardware capable of doing so)

That said I feel that wow will do well and the rest of the mmo genre will continue to evolve. Studio’s will realise the market outside of wow is significant but not infinite. A lot of half-pint mmo’s will go up against the wall.


2010 will reinforce two simple facts:

FACT-1) ALL MMO’s UPON RELEASE HAVE SOME BUGS AND LACK OF CONTENT ISSUES. ALL MMO’s ARE WORKS IN PROGRESS.

FACT-2) THERE WILL ALWAYS BE WHINEY BOYS WHO FAIL TO UNDERSTAND FACT ONE.


Now specific to mmo titiles i predict the following;

I suspect Champions Online will carve a niche for itself, a small comfortable one that Superhero MMO fans will enjoy. It will shrink before it grows again due to the lack in depth and content.

CoX will make a small but significant bump in the night that will keep it going for a while longer yet thanks to the Rogue graphics engine upgrade.

Star Trek online will do well. The size of the fan base will ensure its success. It may even do exceptionally well if it is marketed aggressively to star trek fans who are not traditional gamers. Either way it will do well based on the fact it is the first Star Trek MMO.

Assuming SWTOR is released in 2010, (irrespective of what wow is doing) it will do well. SWTOR is the Star Wars game that star wars fans have been waiting for. Unlike STO it has been marketed very successfully so far and word of mouth everywhere is that everyone is waiting for it. Except those people who hate star wars, and they don’t count because they will be busy playing wow (joke) or STO (not so much of a joke).

Age of Conan is at a cross roads, it could crash in a burning heap or rise from the ashes of a bitterly unfavourable launch. I hope the latter as the game has broken much new ground and funcom seem to have learned from the errors of their ways.

Vanguard will continue to decline and perhaps close altogether.

Warhammer is a mystery to me, I never played it, it has no appeal to me. I do recall that alot of AoC whiners left AoC and went running to Warhammer only to learn a nasty lesson. Refer to FACT-1. Quite frankly I feel they got what they deserved. Whether Warhammer will improve or fall further I can’t say.

EVE will continue, personally I feel this game is a bit of an enigma. I did the trial account thing and found it to be the most unfriendly game to play as a new comer that I have ever played. The UI is clunky and awkward and seemed unnecessarily complicated. Having to open windows and drag and drop things from one to another seemed ridiculous to me. But the game has a cult following and must suit a type of player that I am not.

Fallen Earth will mosey along, as a post apocalypse title it is making a nice little place for itself in the genre.

Guild Wars 2 won’t be out in 2010 but news of it will continue to proliferate information and become a more solid and very real project.

SWTOR will be the highlight of 2010, it will turn heads and set the benchmark for a good mmo that much higher. Other than SWTOR and STO I don’t think 2010 will be a big year for MMO releases, more a year of consolidation and learning from the mistakes of 2009.


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