The last year was a turbulent and exciting one in gaming.

by Asha
Chelsea Stark from mashable (extract)
The last year was a turbulent and exciting one in gaming.After Double Fine’s record-breaking Kickstarter, a gold rush began as indies funded their dreams with the masses. Facebook reported 235 million of its users play games each month. Nintendo launched a console that faced “second-screen” entertainment head on. A live-action series about Halo was watched millions of times on YouTube. These are but a handful of trends that forecast the future.

Mashable spoke to 16 prominent figures across the games industry to discern what might be coming down the pike in 2013. Many of those quoted below talked about similar themes: freemium games, the rise of digital distribution, new console and tablet hardware, and crowdfunding for indie games. Read below to see their full predictions.

Do you agree or disagree with these forecasts? What do you think 2013 has in store for gaming? Share your predictions with us in the comments.

Warren Spector (System ShockDeus Ex and Disney’s Epic Mickey)

“I’m kind of just excited about sitting back and watching how the next year is going to shake out. I’m excited and I’m scared. It’s not like the usual chaos. Gaming has always been chaos. There was always a new platform or something coming along to shake things up. Now, we still have all of that, but is Facebook the future of gaming? Probably not, but it’s a part of it. Is mobile? Is the next generation of consoles? Is indie the future? Everything is happening, and nobody knows where we’re going.

“It’s been a really long time since there was an opportunity for someone like [Minecraftcreator] Notch to come along and change the world. Jonathan Blow [creator of Braid] can come along and wake everyone up. Thatgamecompany shows us a small team of creative people can out-perform the guys with hundred million dollar budgets. It’s about creativity, not cash. I don’t know what I’m looking forward to. I’m just looking forward to the chaos, I guess, and seeing how it shakes out.”

Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO and co-founder of Major League Gaming.

“I expect free-to-play games to continue to grow in popularity. MLG is currently working with a handful of developers and publishers to add a competitive element to titles that will be released in the coming year including things like integrated rankings profiles and tournament systems that will help extend player engagement and interest in DLC / micro transactions. The other thing that I’d like to see more of is variable pricing for AAA titles. $60 at launch is understandable, but as a game hits a shelf age I think reduced pricing can open the game up to new players. Humble Bundles are also awesome and I’d love to see more publishers experiment with them.

“The move to more flexible business models opens up all sorts of possibilities that could benefit players. Episodic experiences have improved with titles like The Walking Dead game, so I’m hopeful to see a bit more experimentation in that area. Breaking games’ multiplayer and campaign modes into separate experiences is something that I’d like to see developers experiment with as well. The ability for a player to pay for what they use within a game might open up entirely new ways of thinking in the business.

“What I’d like to see decrease in 2013 are skyrocketing development costs. With studios spending more and more to polish games (and with most of that polish often going to the campaign or single player portion of a game), the costs get passed along to players. Spending too much making a game doesn’t benefit anyone and instead consumers are left with things like increased DLC pricing and fewer multiplayer maps and modes at launch. What games like Minecraft have shown us is that a quality title developed with open access can be done with reasonable resources — and that you don’t need to nail it overnight.”

Navid Khonsari, creator of upcoming 1979, The Game; cinematic director for Grand Theft Auto 3 and Max Payne

“I’m happy to see that mobile and tablet games are getting their own identity. There is a great possibility to provide a good experience that is more than just a casual game you play on the subway. We’re all still in the same family room, but there are a number of different activities happening simultaneously. I could be watching TV while my wife is playing a game. If the bandwidth is there to provide you a deep emotional experience, why not do that? We want to have more than just a five-minute experience. I have a lot of interest in seeing that area grow, and also seeing it expand for me as a creator so I can bring people new experiences. We can continue on this path of better graphics forever, we can make games more and more photorealistic if that’s what people want, but I think think the demand is for better design. How is it going to challenge or engage or immerse me in new ways?

“The main thing for me is I hope we have reached the high point for this free-to-play model. At the end, they aren’t free-to-play. To make that generalization for how all gaming should be on these platforms is damaging. It actually hurts creativity. By creating this model, if we go with mold, we are stifling creativity. ”


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