For the first time I will attempt to predict the future in the MMO world. And for not the first time, I will undoubtedly make a fool of myself on the blog. But since that has never stopped me in the past, on with the predictions.
Although a lot of new MMOs are scheduled for release, I'll only make predictions about 2 games that I hope to play in 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic and RIFT. First, SWTOR. As much as I would like to go out on a limb and predict the game will not launch in 2011, I just don't want to look like that big a fool. Then again, I want to play this game, so picking an earlier date may just be wishful thinking. So I will predict a 2011 Q4 launch for the game. If I have to pick a month, I'll pick December.
I have greater hopes for RIFT. I predict that they will make their announced launch date of Q1 2011 and will do very well, ending the year with between 300-400 thousand subscribers.
Eve Online - I will predict that not only will I finally get to walk around in stations with Incarna, but that during the month Incarna is released the peak concurrent user mark will once again break and will hit over 67,000 concurrent accounts. According to Eve-Offline, the current mark is 60,453.
Other predictions for Eve Online is that the game will end the year with between 380-400 thousand active accounts and that the Sansha invasions introduced in Incursion will no longer be active.
EverQuest 2 - EQ2 will continue to lose players throughout the year, especially to RIFT. By the end of the year, talk will again begin about the need for another round of server mergers. In the meantime, EverQuest 2 Extended will do well, but the F2P service will still remain separate from the subscription service.
Star Wars: Galaxies - I'm going to go off on a limb and predict no server merges in 2011. I am also going to go out on a limb and predict SW:G will not go F2P in 2011. I think that SOE is saving its Star Wars love for Clone Wars Adventures.
One thing I really love is when games turn into true virtual worlds that spill over outside the computer screen. I think that 2011 will prove to be a banner year in this regard for my favorite game. In Eve, Incarna will give New Eden's film makers something new: avatars. No longer will player-made videos be restricted to ships and still photos of players. I predict a flood of new Eve videos will flood YouTube and that by the end of the year bloggers will be making up lists of best videos of 2011.
Also in Eve, I expect the podcast community to grow. Lately the number of podcasts has grown (I currently have 7 in my feed) and I will predict that by the end of 2011 I'll be able to not only list 10 Eve podcasts on the blog, but get some flak for leaving someone out. Hopefully that is not just wishful thinking.
That is all my predictions. I could make more if I actually got into the world more, but New Eden has been such a good place to be that I haven't really wandered around too much.