Prognosticamation 2011

Every year I make crazy predictions that fail miserably.  A little less then a year after that I review them so you can see my humility as someone who can't predict industry trends at all.

Here's how I did last year.

[The Old Republic] will ship in 2011. It has to.

I was right! Barrrrrrreeeeeellllly.

The biggest event, and the one that will shape 2011 in terms of MMO development, will be, of course, the Old Republic.

I was wrong, unless you think 2011's MMO development experience is shaped in its final week. 2012 is the year of the Old Republic (and for what it's worth, from everything I hear it's going to be a pretty monster hit barring last minute infrastructure/bug stupidity), not 2011.

By the way, this made pretty much my entire slate of predictions inoperative, since they (correctly, I think) noted that the MMO industry is basically waiting on the Old Republic to ship and, well, it hasn't yet.

2011 is the year of WoW: Not WoW.

Pretty much. WoW did take a back seat, and shed a million customers - that in any other company would have been cause for bodies falling out of high windows, and for Blizzard is still essentially a bookkeeping error. Blizzard did announce a new expansion, and as expected it will be released in 2012, not 2011. But mostly it was time for a lot of other games to ship. How did they do?

DC ONLINE: went free to play in short order RIFT: the most successful new release of 2011, and the most WoW Not WoW WORLD OF TANKS: started free to play, made tons of money PLANETSIDE NEXT: not yet released TERA: not yet released GUILD WARS 2: not yet released NEVERWINTER: not yet released, being restructured FAXION: released, then cancelled shortly thereafter JUMPGATE EVOLUTION: most likely did not survive the collapse of NetDevil THE AGENCY: cancelled THE SECRET WORLD: not yet released GODS AND HEROES: yes, it released, no, you probably didn't notice

Unless you're Scott Hartsman or some crazy Belarusian guy, that's a whole lotta ouch. But how did other subscription MMOs do?

EVERQUEST 2: went free to play CITY OF HEROES: went free to play LINEAGE 2: went free to play AGE OF CONAN: went free to play STAR TREK ONLINE: went free to play FINAL FANTASY 14: still involuntarily free to play EVE: attempted suicide by CEO, layoffs, trying to come back STAR WARS GALAXIES: cancelled LEGO ONLINE: cancelled WARHAMMER ONLINE: still exists, releasing a free-to-play arena MOBA version AION: still here, kinda! FINAL FANTASY 11: Quick! Look over there! EVERQUEST: *whistling* ULTIMA ONLINE: yep! don't mind us! DARK AGE OF CAMELOT: feelin' spry! don't look this direction plz

So, if your MMO of choice was a subscription game, it was either: (a) World of Warcraft, (b) Rift, (c) free-to-play, (d) cancelled, (e) assaulted by crazy lutefisk-wielding Icelandic people, or (f) so old no one remembered the server was on.

I'd say I get a bye on all predictions, because the market kinda went bloop. Yes, bloop. That's the technical term.