This one is going to be massive. It has the sort of line-up to overly excite any fanboy and some of the most advanced tech seen in a handheld. New online functions, multiple control mechanism, movie services and a Game Boy Virtual Console come with the package. Oh, and there’s something about glasses-less 3D, too.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
The 1998 Nintendo classic gets the 3D treatment and could be one of the new handheld’s first killer apps.
3. Resident Evil 3DS
Capcom has two Resident Evil games set for 3DS – the action-heavy Mercenaries and the all-new adventure, Revelations.
4. Kid Icarus: Uprising
It was the headline 3DS game at Nintendo’s E3 press conference last year. It is the first title in the series since 1991.
5. Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater
Kojima Productions is readying a 3D-update of the PS2 hit for next year.
6. Nintendogs + Cats
The original title sold around 22m units, and now Nintendo is hoping to pull in cat lovers, too.
7. Retail gets digital
Following the lead of GameStop, UK games retailers will work hard this year to profit from the lucrative digital download space. In fact, MCV understands many of the UK’s biggest online retailers will launch their own PC download services for a start.
8. Angry Birds lands on consoles
Forget Call of Duty, this is the real game of the year. At the time of writing it has been downloaded an incredible 50m times. And this year it’s coming to Wii, 360 and PS3.
9. PEGI is law
The video games classification system will be officially, 100 per cent, legally enforceable later this year. Then begins the hard task of getting the message out to parents and gamers.
10. Uncharted 3 cometh
Sony’s jaw-dropping action adventure series is back. The original has a Metacritic score of 96 and sold almost 4m units worldwide. Can this one trump that?
11. Another E3 extravaganza
Do you remember last year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo? Iwata holding the 3DS aloft? Microsoft giving away its new Xbox 360 to everyone at its press conference? Valve burying the hatchet with Sony? Well you can expect a whole lot more from this year’s spectacle. A new Wii perhaps? The PSP2 line-up? The return of Dreamcast? We’ll know more come June 7th.
12. Return of the Duke
13 years in development, multiple engine changes, redesigns and a switch of developer. And now finally, finally, Duke Nukem Forever is ready to hit shelves. Right?
13. Supermarkets take a bigger cut of the games market
Indies, avert your eyes. 2011 will be the year that the likes of Asda and Tesco establish themselves as two of the UK’s biggest games retailers, which in-turn will help grow the market, too.
14. The year of 3D
Even more 3D TV channels and a plethora of 3D movies could make 2011 a tipping point year for 3D in the home. There’s some great looking 3D games coming, too, including Killzone 3, Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat, Virtua Tennis 4 and everything on 3DS.
15. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
If there’s one game that has managed to top sliced bread in the ‘best thing ever’ list, then it’s probably a Zelda one. Almost every game in Nintendo’s adventure series has been dubbed ‘the greatest game of all time’ and has sold a few million units to boot. You should probably expect more of the same from Skyward Sword.
16. PSP2 launches
The industry’s worst kept secret will be unveiled and released this year. What exactly the PSP2 will be like is subject to feverish speculation, but rumours point to cameras, dual analogue sticks, touch pads and PS3-esque visuals.
17. Sony’s mobile gaming gambit
The PSP2 isn’t the only portable in the works at Sony. Sony Ericsson has teamed up with PlayStation to develop a ‘PS Phone’, which should be unveiled any day now
18. MCV Awards 2011
The biggest night on the trade calendar returns on April 7th and this year will be more affordable to attend. There will be 18 awards up for grabs across retail, sales, marketing, PR, services and more.
19. Console prices to drop
Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii prices remained steady in 2010 so you can expect some big cuts this year, which will take these machines further into mass-market territory.
20. Will and Kate tie the knot
So the royal wedding might hit sales. But it’s still four days off. Except, of course, for team MCV. Who will be working hard to deliver you the next edition of the market-leading trade weekly. Ho hum.
21. Portal 2 materialises
The original Portal was the best part of The Orange Box. Its sequel is out in April.
22. Set-top gaming
Watch out consoles. The next generation of set-top boxes will hit shelves this year with the ability to download and play games. One such box – YouView – has the backing of the BBC, ITV, C4, BT and Five.
23. Second-hand gets more competitive
GAME, Gamestation, HMV, Blockbuster, Argos, Asda, Tesco, Amazon, CEX and Best Buy (phew) now all buy and trade used games. This year, Asda and Tesco will continue to roll-out and improve their offers, while you can expect others to follow Amazon’s lead and do trade-ins online.
24. Grainger opens 10,000 stores
“How do they do it?” asked MCVuk.com readers of Grainger Games. “By being bloody brilliant,” comes the reply. Grainger will open its 50th store this month and there’s more in the pipeline.
25. More from Rockstar
Red Dead Redemption reaffirmed Rockstar’s place amongst the world’s most important games developers. But there’s more to come, including the incredible looking new IP LA Noire (just watch the trailer) and the third in the Max Payne series.
26. Big year for movies
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Captain America, Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, X-Men: First Class, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Tin Tin and Cars 2. It’s a bumper 12 months of blockbuster movies this year, and plenty of opportunities for tie-in success. On, and let us not forget the Inbetweeners movie.
27. The digital download chart
It is coming, honest. PC downloads will be added to the GfK Chart-Track figures this year. Hopefully.
28. Batman returns
Batman: Arkham Asylum was one of the greatest licensed games of all time. Arkham City is the sequel. Enough said.
29. Everyone loves LEGO
There’s at least two LEGO titles due this year, including LEGO Star Wars III and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. And we’re calling it now: LEGO Lord of the Rings for 2012, anyone?
30. Implementation of the Digital Economy Act
A pirate’s life gets harder this year with the implementation of the DEA. Copyright holders will now be able to scan filesharing networks for pirates and get ISPs to contact them. Of course, it won’t be long before a blind, single mother of six is sent a letter and we’re made to look like bad guys.
31. Gamescom 2011
Almost 19,000 trade visitors descended upon Cologne last year to see new games announced from Sony, Microsoft, EA and more. You should expect a bigger international focus and even more attendees this August.
32. Gears of War 3
Sure, Kinect may be getting a lot of focus from Microsoft this year, but there’s still plenty for those core customers to look forward to, namely the third in this series.
33. The best networking events
Want to meet your peers, forge new alliances and develop new contacts? Then you’ll want to attend the big networking events of the year, such as the MCV and Xbox 360 Pub Quiz (May), or the London Games Conference (November 3rd), or the Games Media Awards (October 13th).
34. More from Move
There’s some cracking Move games due this year, which is sure to drive sales of Sony’s motion controller. Games to look out for include Killzone 3, Virtual Tennis 4, SOCOM 4 and Sorcery.
35. ...and Kinect
As for Microsoft’s accessory, there’s Star Wars Kinect, Child of Eden, Forza 4, Yoostar, Steel Battalion and a lot more.
36. Livingstone-Hope Skills Review published
Later this month Ian Livingstone and Double-Negative’s Alex Hope will publish their skills review that will make recommendations to Government on how to become the best global source of talent for video games. Let’s hope they listen.
37. Lots more from Bethesda
Sure, there’s no new Fallout on the horizon. But Bethesda will publish some great looking games in 2011, namely Rage, Brink, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and maybe, just maybe, Doom 4.
38. A very busy Q1
Remember the days when nothing whatsoever came out for the first few months of the year? Once again there’s a lot of top games coming soon, such as LittleBigPlanet 2, Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, LEGO Star Wars III, Killzone 3, Dragon Age II and apparently there’s a new handheld on the way, too.
39. THQ learns to draw
The uDraw gaming tablet has already taken the US by storm and reportedly rival publishers want to build games for. The device launches across Europe in a matter of weeks.
40. Another Assassin’s Creed
Ubisoft has confirmed that there will be another Assassin’s Creed this year. It’s quite a popular franchise, don’t ya know?
41. iPad 2 in-bound
Apple got the compliment of the century when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said iPad ‘sold certainly more than I’d like.’ The computer giant is expected to upgrade its tablet computer this year.
42. More Call of Duty
Activision has yet to announce its Call of Duty plans for 2011. But Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward are working on a COD game each, while Treyarch will launch a variety of DLC packs for Black Ops.
43. Cloud gaming
Ok, so cloud gaming might not be the brave new frontier for video games just yet. But with Gaikai and OnLive finding their feet, 2011 is sure to be a big step forward for game streaming services.
44. BioWare’s big 3
The EA-owned studio has a bumper year ahead. Dragon Age II is due in March, Star Wars: The Old Republic will launch in spring, while Mass Effect 3 is due before Xmas.
45. The Best Buy invasion continues
The big box US retail giant will continue to grow its business across the UK this year, with five more stores set to open before the end of 2011.
46. A whole lot of Marvel games
Comic video game fans have a lot to look forward to from Marvel this year. Sega is readying movie tie-ins for Thor and Captain America, Activision and Silicon Knights are working on X-Men: Destiny, while Capcom is preparing the third in its Marvel vs Capcom series.
47. Publishers commit to new IP
There’s new IPs a-plenty due over the next year. Games include THQ’s Homefront, Codemasters’ Bodycount, Rockstar’s LA Noire, Sony’s The Last Guardian, Bethesda’s Rage, EA’s Bulletstorm, Namco Bandai’s Inversion, etc.
48. Pokémon Black and White
The Pokémon series remains a multi-million selling goliath. The fifth generation of titles launch in the UK this spring.
49. Racing bonanza
GT5 isn’t the be all and end all of racers. 2011 has some top driving games on the schedule. Watch out for Nail’d, Motorstorm: Apocalypse. Test Drive Unlimited 2, Dirt 3, F1 2011, Forza 4, Nascar 2011 and Shift 2: Unleashed.
50. Emerging markets
The likes of Codemasters and Sony are reaping the benefits from emerging markets, with increased sales from the Middle East and Poland. Expect to see even more publishers try and crack these new territories this year.