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Games in 2011: Predictions for the new year

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Bejeweled 3

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The future is...a blurry Xbox pad

It's been a record-breaking year for the video game industry, but 2011 is lining up to be even bigger. But what games will be making headlines? Which consoles are set for success, and which are ready for replacement?
What'll we all be playing this time next year? We peered into our Yahoo!-issue standard crystal ball (purple, naturally), and here's what
we think the New Year will hold for game fans.

No new home consoles

The PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 are both still selling, and although the
Wii's slowed down, it still managed to post record numbers over the
Black Friday weekend. The typical five-year lifespan of a gaming console
is a thing of the past, and we're expecting Microsoft and Sony to
concentrate on their motion-control strategy this year rather than
teasing future new consoles. At the outside, we might finally hear
Nintendo talk about an oft-rumored HD remake of the Wii, but their focus
needs to be on delivering a slate of truly desirable games to the vast
array of existing Wii owners. Plus with the 3DS handheld launching in
April, they've already got their hands full.

Social games spread their wings

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Farmville: farmtastic

Already massive hits on Facebook, social games will become even more ubiquitous in 2011. They'll show up on new platforms -- especially mobile devices -- and, for the holdouts, become harder to ignore.  Look to see traditional video game publishers making greater pushes into the scene,
even using techniques pioneered by the likes of Farmville and Bejeweled Blitz to enhance their non-social games.

Kinect outsells Move...

Despite a limited software selection, both Kinect and Move seem to be
resonating with consumers this holiday season -- but Kinect's winning
the sales battle, and we don't see the systems switching places next
year. Expect Sony and Microsoft to make a big push on their
motion-control software selection throughout 2011, but Kinect's more
innovative approach will pay off in the long run.

...but Sony has a great year anyway

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Uncharted's Nathan Drake

Uncharted 3 (Buy | Search). Killzone 3 (Buy | Search). LittleBigPlanet 2 (Buy | Search). Twisted Metal (Buy | Search). Resistance 3 (Buy | Search). The Last Guardian (Buy | Search). Infamous 2 (Buy | Search).
And those are just the PS3 exclusives. It's going
to be a great year -- not a cheap year, but a great year -- to be a
Playstation 3 owner.

3DS trumps Playstation Phone...

The existence of Sony Ericsson's Android-based PSP phone is possibly the
worst-kept secret in all of video gaming. In 2011, it'll take on
Nintendo's 3DS, though it's hard to call how consumers will react to the
predicted high price of both. Critics, however, are going to love the
3DS; reports from those who've tried its innovative stereoscopic display
are overwhelmingly positive. Expect to see it topping many wish lists
this time next year.

...but Apple comes out on top

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iPhone: bigger and better

It's much easier to predict Apple's likely moves, though. Expect incremental revisions to the iPad and iPhone in February and July, respectively, and iOS games will continue to make greater and greater inroads into the
portable gaming scene. They'll get bigger, better, and more successful
-- and more closely related to the games we're playing on "real" consoles. Infinity Blade is just the start.

A massive November for everyone

For years game publishers have crammed their biggest releases into a
bulging November, and 2011 isn't going to break with that tradition.
Expect Uncharted 3 (Buy | Search), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Buy | Search), Mass Effect 3 (Buy | Search), Gears of War 3 (Buy | Search), and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Buy | Search) to make their appearances, not to mention countless other franchises hoping to grab some of your 2011 holiday bucks. You might want to start saving now.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the year's biggest hit

And chances are you'll be spending some of those dollars on the next Call
of Duty game. Modern Warfare 2 in 2009 and Black Ops in 2010 both
smashed sales records at their debuts, and while traditional Modern
Warfare studio Infinity Ward might be a mere memory,
we're sure Activision will be looking to make it three in a row
regardless. We might not know much about it yet, but you'd have to be a
fool to bet against the first-person juggernaut.

But that's enough from us. What do you think will be making headlines in 2011? Which games do you think will rule, and which will drool? Let us know in the comments.


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