Video Games: The State of Play in 2010

xbox-360It seems everyone in the technology industry is looking to 2010 with high hopes, especially the folks in the video game realm.  Aside from December–which actually had outstanding video game and gaming hardware sales–2009 gave the gaming industry a 8.6 percent slip in video game sales, a 23 percent decline in sales for computer (PC) game software, and a 10 percent fall in console and portable software sales.  In simpler words—the gaming industry took a sledge-hammer to the heart via 2009’s economy, crushing the dreams of future gamers and hampering the release of many big name titles. But that was then and this is now: With a new year upon us and the industry’s top analysts assuaging our future fears, we can rest assured that 2010 will have a far better outcome.

If you’re looking for some “hardcore titles” to add to your gaming repertoire, then you’ll be pleased with the selection 2010 has to offer. According to Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter, this year should see a solid sales growth of at least 10 percent due to the variety of blockbuster titles debuting. With God of War III and Gran Turismo 5 on PS3 and Halo Reach, Mass Effect 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, Fable, Alan Wake and probably Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360, credit an impending shift back to more traditional gaming topics.  “Last year was supposed to be the year of the casual gamer, with fewer hardcore titles than normal, says Pachter. “But this year, it’s all hardcore all the time.”

Pachter says there’s bound to be compelling content released almost every month in 2010, with Mass Effect 2 this month, BioShock 2 next month, God of War the next, Splinter Cell the next, and Gran Turismo after that. In utter agreement, Jesse Divnich, Vice President of Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, claims 2010 is definitely on track to outperform 2009 with hot titles and quality entertainment. The entire year will be packed with new and exciting titles, gaming accessories, and technologies that are raising the stakes for developers. If you were bummed about Sony’s Motion Controller being put on hold until Fall 2010—chin up, avid gamer—Divnich says there will be plenty of appropriately matched titles to boost excitement around the new release date.

“2010 is looking to produce the most blockbuster titles in the history of modern gaming,” says Divnich. “Regardless of the type of gamer you are or the genres you prefer, once you put down one title you can bet there will be another one set for release right around the corner.”

Another boost for the video game realm in 2010—or so we’ve heard—will be Apple’s new tablet PC. Reports of the device being a multimedia fanatic and the new beast of the mobile gaming market have poured in from all over.  Apple has found ways to excel in mobile gaming due to its iPod touch and iPhone platforms—and we can only imagine what new innovations the Apple tablet will bring to the table.

Pachter and Divnich also foretell of a better year in mobile gaming, although that sect of the industry took the least blows. Last year, mobile devices such as the PSP and Apple’s iPhone/iPods put up some staunch competition within the gaming industry and gave non-mobile game developers a quick scare. The Apple tablet will not be some “ultimate iphone-gamesgaming device” that can put up a challenge to actual consoles, but it will add a new flavor to gaming mix.  “It’s not just the availability of those new [mobile gaming] technologies that raise the stake for developers; it’s their convenience that makes the space more competitive today than in previous years,” says Divnich.

Another newly competitive area to get some attention in 2010 is online gaming. Our in-house video game industry analyst, Scott Steinberg, says we will be seeing some “tremendous innovation” from Facebook, MySpace and other “free-to-play” online gaming mediums.  This new development in gaming has filled that “casual gaming” void and relieved many gamers’ pocketbooks this past year. Steinberg says that, if anything, these online games have helped build the grandiose gaming hope for 2010, because they pushed game developers to challenge themselves with more compelling content.

“Video game developers must raise the bar for quality games, and we don’t mean just in terms of review scores,” says Steinberg. “They must be innovative and compelling and be more creative to offer shoppers a reason to buy, especially when there’s a number of competing mobile [games] and free online games vying for players’ disposable dollars.”

In the end, it comes down to what unique and quality games developers can and will provide for game-hungry consumers. Steinberg reassures us that 2010 will see “tremendous evolution across the board” with lower price points, new gaming devices, and fantastic new titles that will provide the uniqueness and value today’s gamer needs, possibly taking the field to the next level.


Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From DirectX Box to 720, it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Gaming

Everything we know about the PS5, including its impressive hardware specs

PlayStation 5 rumors have circulated for over a year, but there's still plenty we don't know. Here's everything you need to know about the PS5, including rumors about its release, specs, and games.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Gaming

Fortnite’s adorable pets are no longer hands-off, thanks to latest update

The latest update for Fortnite rights a heinous wrong. Pets were introduced in Season 6, but players were unable to pet them. Update v8.40 fixes that so players can now pet whatever adopted creature other players have on their back.
Gaming

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.
Gaming

Cuphead is like a Saturday morning cartoon I never want to end

Revisiting Cuphead on Nintendo Switch is just as memorable as it was on Xbox One nearly two years ago. Cuphead's aesthetic has a magical quality that transports you back to the childhood joy of discovery.
Gaming

From the games to the hardware, here's what we know about the Sega Genesis Mini

The Sega Genesis Mini console was just announced, and it's set to release later this year. Here is everything we know about the console, including its hardware, as well as a list of included games.
Gaming

How to get into the Halo: Reach beta on Xbox One and PC

Halo: Reach is coming to The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One and the recently announced PC port. Ahead of its unknown launch date, Microsoft and 343 Industries will host a Halo: Reach beta for both Xbox One and PC users.
Gaming

How to sync and troubleshoot your PS4's DualShock 4 controllers

Sony's Bluetooth-enabled DualShock 4 controllers for PlayStation 4 are some of the best on the market, but connection issues aren't unheard of. Here's how to sync them to your console.
Gaming

Kick off your streaming career with our complete guide to Twitch broadcasting

Streaming games on Twitch for the first time can be daunting to say the least, but with a few simple steps, it's remarkably easy to do. Here's how to do so using a PC, Mac, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 console.
Gaming

How to share your best gaming moments on the Xbox One and its app

The current generation of consoles makes it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.
Gaming

Make some room in your backlog. Here are all the games to look out for in 2019

2019 is already a huge year for video games, with a large number of series getting new installments, including some that have been dormant for years. Brand new franchises are also being created.
Gaming

Halo: Reach beta might be delayed, PC version needs more work

Halo: Reach is coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection this year for both PC and Xbox One players. Invites were expected to go out toward the end of the month, but 343 Industries now says they may be delayed.