Splinter Cell: Conviction sneaks in
The next entry in Ubisoft’s prestigious Splinter Cell series was announced in 2006. And now, just four years and a radical overhaul later, Sam Fisher is back. The game launches on Xbox 360 on February 26th.
Gran Turismo 5 reaches the finishing line
It’s been nearly four years since Sony’s GT5 was first revealed (A Prologue version was released two years ago), but now the prestigious racing franchise is finally ready to go on PS3. The inclusion of the Top Gear test track should make this a must-buy on its own.
The growth in 3D
3D is back on our cinema screens, and developers are starting to implement 3D into our games too. Expect even more in the 3D space during the year. SCE UK’s managing director Ray Maguire says: “I’m looking forward to a stronger pound and 3D. The first gives us a chance of making some money and the second gives me a good excuse to spend it.”
An explosion in DLC
Downloadable content is fast becoming the norm in games, with publishers using it as a great deterrent to consumers who like to trade their games in. Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens states: “I’m looking forward to DLC providing a giant step for gamekind.”
This Halo prequel is Bungie’s first full game since Halo 3. It is due in the Autumn on Xbox 360.
Mickey Mouse is back
The legendary Disney mascot is set to star in his own game for the first time in years, and Epic Mickey looks set to be a Wii classic.
“What am I looking forward to? Anything new from Take That and seeing everyone’s reaction to Warren Spector’s interpretation of Mickey Mouse,” comments Disney’s head of marketing for UK and Ireland Keely Brenner.
“Epic Mickey is looking amazing, and it’s going to be fun putting this to market.”
Video games at the cinema
Movies based on video games are rarely any good, but there’s a couple of new flicks to look out for in 2010. Not least the fourth Resident Evil movie, Afterlife, and the promising Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starring
Certain emerging markets are starting to become far more established, and firms such as Sony and Microsoft are reaping the benefits. Expect a rise in publishers looking to crack these new territories – such as the Middle East – this year.
The cloud computing phenomenon
This could the year streaming video games becomes a reality, with the likes of OnLive, PlayCast and Gaikai ready to go. Could services like these be the future of video games?
Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver
The original Gold and Silver games on the Game Boy Color remain two of the best titles in the Pokémon cannon. Now Nintendo has given them the DS treatment in Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Both games were released in Japan last year, selling two million units in six weeks.
Wii Vitality Sensor
Many mocked the Vitality Sensor when it was revealed last year. But then, many mocked the DS and Wii Remote when they were announced, too. We should learn a great deal more about Nintendo’s new device at E3 this year.
Better dialogue with consumers
Publishers are starting to use a variety of social techniques to speak to their consumers, and Sega’s UK MD John Clark expects that to be a big thing in 2010.
“For the last couple of years consumer loyalty programs and TV, print and online advertising have been the subject of much discussion,” he explains.
“This year we have to identify who the active consumer is for our content; what they’re consuming, when they’re consuming and how they’re consuming it. And then communicate with them in the most effective way.
“Today our games are not all in boxes, the formats don’t just deal with boxes, neither do the retailers and neither does the consumer.
“We have to take our business from being transaction based to being relationship based.”
The return of Zavvi
It has been missing from the High Street for over a year, but now new-owners The Hut are in discussions about bringing the chain back this Christmas.
Develop Conference 2010
Europe’s leading development conference returns to Brighton for three days on Tuesday July 13th. Meanwhile, the Develop Awards will take place on July 14th.
Government taking games seriously
During 2009 several MPs began to notice the UK games industry’s contribution to charity and the economy, so perhaps in 2010 games will finally get the recognition they deserve.
At least Sports Interactive’s studio head Miles Jacobson hopes so: “I’m looking forward to the games industry starting to be taken more seriously by the Government and the wider media,” he says.
“With the work that ELSPA and TIGA are doing, the good that GamesAid and GAMEForGood have done, and MPs like Tom Watson beating the drum to all who will listen, we’re making serious headway.”
Alan Wake and Heavy Rain
2010 could be the year storytelling in games steps up a notch. In Sony’s corner is Quantic Dream’s interactive drama Heavy Rain, which is due on PS3 next month. Meanwhile Microsoft will unleash its thriller Alan Wake on Xbox 360 in May.
Rockstar’s new games
There may not be any new Grand Theft Auto games coming this year (or so we think) but Rockstar has plenty of new games for us to look forward to. Not least the return of Max Payne, the highly promising Red Dead: Redemption, and the new PS3-exclusive Agent.
Codemasters goes sequel crazy
The UK’s biggest publisher Codemasters had a great end to 2009, and are planning some big releases for 2010. Not least new iterations in its successful Operation Flashpoint, Colin McCrae and Ashes franchises. Meanwhile, F1 2010 races onto Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
The launch of Super Mario Galaxy 2
The original Galaxy was a critical hit for Nintendo and was adored by the firm’s hardcore fanbase. This sequel is designed to take that even further, and will be tougher than the original.
Another Call of Duty
The next iteration in Activision’s Call of Duty series will be developed by Treyarch. This could mean a return to the WWII setting, but after the phenomenal success of 2008’s World At War, that’s no bad thing.
Big year for Bethesda
Bethesda’s publishing pedigree is set to improve this year, with some top new games on the release schedule. These include Brink, Fallout: New Vegas and RAGE, while speculation is rife over a new Elder Scrolls.
Sales of music games may be slowing, but you can still expect plenty to arrive this year. Look out for sequels to Guitar Hero, SingStar, Lips, DJ Hero and Band Hero, and that’s not to mention the recently-announced Green Day: Rock Band.
Retailer’s launching into the digital space
Every retailer is getting in on the digital download space now. Play.com, The Hut Group, Amazon, GAME and HMV will all ramp up their digital efforts this year.
MMOs to benefit retail
There’s no shortage of new MMOs set for retail this year, including APB, Star Trek Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Meanwhile, retail should brace itself for the launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm later in the year.
The biggest ever Q1?
BioShock 2, Vancouver 2010, APB, Darksiders, Final Fantasy XIII, MAG, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Mass Effect 2, Aliens Vs. Predator, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, Heavy Rain, God of War III and Nintendo DSi XL are all due for release this quarter. Could this be the most lucrative first quarter in the industry’s history?