2014 will be an amazing year for gamers. Last year saw amazing growth in the mobile industry, release of two new consoles, and tons of great games. This year will be a continuation of the many trends that has been happening in the years before. Even with the recent new consoles and technology I think this year will not have too many surprises. Though there will be a ton of great new content.
Continued Trends in all Markets
Growth in all the markets will stay relatively the same. Consoles will see steady growth but hampered from a transition period. Since many core consumers on old generation consoles will hold out on a lot of purchases until they get that next generation console. New consoles will have a great year but lack of backwards compatibility will hurt software sales at least for one more year.
Mobile games will see a increase in sales with even more big publishers joining the market. Blizzard joining the mobile market with Hearthstone will show the gaming industry how important mobile is. When released on iOS and Android expect it to top the charts for years. This will cause other studios with large resources to think about releasing more than just small titles for the mobile market.
Indie, Free-to-play, Console, PC, and Mobile will all continue to see growth across the globe. All the trends will still be relatively the same. The markets that saw tremendous growth will still see it for atleast another year and markets that only saw modest will continue to see that as well.
Declining Markets Will Continue to Decline
That also means markets that have seen declines will continue to see declines. Thats right Elder Scrolls Online I am looking at you. Though, Elder Scrolls Online will probably sell well and have a good amount of subscribers.
Subscription based massively multiplayer role playing games have been in decline. Free-to-play mmorpg are many times just as fun and have the ability to reach a much wider audience. BioWare could not make Star Wars: The Old Republic to work with subscription model and they had the experience of BioWare and brand of Star Wars.
That said when Elder Scrolls Online releases, the amount of consumers joining subscription based mmorpgs will not help increase the market. Subscriptions in the overall market will continue to decline throughout the year though. The amount of growth Elder Scrolls might bring to the market won’t offset the amount of unsubscriptions from other games that will happen.
Oculus Rift will Not Change the Industry...Yet
I got to try Oculus Rift and I thought it was really cool. When it is released this year I believe it will do alright. I just don't think it will change the tech world just yet. It by far has the potential to change gaming as we know it but it is missing one very important piece.
The only major problem I see hurting Oculus Rift with the first year it is released is the lack of content. There will be a ton of content no doubt, but with the release two new consoles many core consumers will be spending their cash on a gaming machine they know they want.
Content is what drives the success of any device and Oculus Rift will have a hard time acquiring enough studios to provide them with it initially. The first year it is released don’t except the any more support than what the PS4 and Xbox One got for their launch day releases.
Steam Machines will Not Change the Industry...Yet
Value attempt to change the living room with the Steam Machines will not happen this year. Value is a great company with the knowledge and experience to pull off such an ambitious task but they are going into this fight an uphill battle.
There is already so much competition in the living space from competitors in the gaming market, to even the televisions themselves wanting to be the only device in the living room. What will make the Steam Machine succeed is the features it can provide that other devices won’t be able to.
Value is entering this fight with many advantages, such as support from the PC gaming community, ability to upgrade, and AAA list content from their own studios. We will see though if this device resonates with the casual family living room market because they will need them. The core market already has a built PC or console.
PlayStation Now will Not Change the Industry...Yet
PlayStation Now will not change streaming yet. Yes this is a common theme but hey I think it is true. Until technology of mobile devices have internet reliable internet speeds that our home broadband does, streaming video games will.
If Sony wants to make PlayStation Now succeed they will make this work in Japan first. Japan has the infrasture for mobile devices to stream PS3 quality games. It is a great place to test out out what features needs to be added. If Japan excels at one thing better than any other country it is mobile.
Sony will also have to make sure they get enough content at an affordable price. Depending on the pricing system and what content they can acquire PlayStation Now could disrupt how people use their mobile devices. Though with current rate of technology, one can assume they won’t change mobile gaming just yet.