Who's That Cunning Mind Behind The Shadowy Disguise?
Damn You, Marcus!

Looking Back At 2006

Delorean Before I share my list of predictions of things that will happen in the video game industry in 2007 I figured I should take a look back at last year's forecast and see just how well I predicted the future.  Feel free to read the entire list from one year ago, but if you're just looking for a recap and results, read on.

  • The Microsoft Xbox 360 will have a good first year.  I'd say that's accurate.  There've been some hardware issues and other little bugs here and there, but the system continues to sell well and the Xbox Live Arcade had a great year.  I did miss my guess at Halo 3, as it did not release in 2006.
  • The [Sony PlayStation 3] will launch in time for the big Holiday 2006 shopping season.  Got that one too (including the bit about shortages).  I was off the mark on Grand Theft Auto IV in 2006 though.
  • The PSP will finally get its must-own game, leading to a revived interest in the handheld unit when it also receives a minor price cut.   I totally missed that one.  Especially about how UMD movies will sell marginally well.
  • The Nintendo [Wii] will steal the show at E3 2006 and everyone who attends the pre-show press conference will exit with visions of waving a remote control.  Got that one, too.  I was off on the launch titles though.
  • There will be no successor to the Game Boy Advance on store shelves this year, as Nintendo will put its budget behind the [Wii] and the successful Nintendo DS. I was on the mark about that one (including the upgraded DS we now call the DS Lite, although I predicted WPA encryption for the Lite which, obviously, didn't happen).
  • Nintendo’s “virtual console” backwards compatibility series for the Revolution will launch with the same kinds of titles that Nintendo has been pumping out every few years in different formats. I got this one, although I didn't foresee Nintendo loading up the service with lackluster titles during the Wii launch period.  I was right about Nintendo holding back the big guns like Super Metroid and about how fans pleading for localized versions of only-in-Japan games will go ignored by Nintendo.
  • Sega will finally create an exceptional 3D Sonic the Hedgehog title when Sonic Team puts the entire extended cast (Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, Blaze, Shadow, and the rest) back in the toy box for a while and focuses on what made the original Sonic games so much fun: blue skies and plenty of speed.  I nailed this one, too.  Sonic and the Secret Rings features only Sonic himself as a playable character.  The game has been delayed into 2007, but I'm going to count this one seeing as how it was announced this year and was playable back at E3.
  • Capcom will bring us the latest installments and iterations of Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and Mega Man for the next generation of consoles.  Not quite.  These games are coming, but not for 2006.  I was right about one last Mega Man X title for the PlayStation 2 and another Mega Man Battle Network, but I missed on the port of Mega Man Powered Up for the DS.
  • Konami will wow attendees at E3 2006 with the first footage of a very dark, very cinematic Castlevania title for the Xbox 360 and PS3.  Totally missed that one (especially the idea of another Castlevania Chronicles release for the PSP).
  • Electronic Arts will continue to be both profitable and reviled.  Score!
  • Former golden boy Rare will finally start to be worth the very high price Microsoft paid for the company at the dawn of the Xbox generation when the company announces a new Banjo-Kazooie adventure for the Xbox 360.  I nailed that one, although the aftermath of the release hasn't happened yet.
  • More gaming “also-rans” will drop out of the market, as Nokia drops the n-Gage line once and for all, Gizmondo goes down in a fiery blaze, and the often-mocked Phantom finally pulls the plug when investment capital dries up (although the company’s directors will shift blame away from themselves when the actual announcement is made). Close.  n-Gage is going to be reborn as a gaming brand instead of a specific piece of hardware and the Phantom continues to cling to venture capitalist investments.  Gizmondo is gone though, and boy did it go down in a fiery blaze.

Counting up the hits and misses it looks like half of my predictions came true (11 correct and 11 wrong).  Stay tuned for my predictions for 2007, and Happy New Year!