Ten Ton Hammer's MMO Gaming Predictions for 2009 - Part Two

Over the course of the past ten years, I've had the opportunity to watch the churn of MMO gaming from its very infancy with

Over the course of the past ten years, I've had the opportunity to watch the churn of MMO gaming from its very infancy with Ultima Online into the worldwide revolution of World of Warcraft. Every year I've tried to make my own personal predictions about upcoming MMOs, ranging from my excitement about WoW to the heartbreaking disappointment that was Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. I've probably been wrong more than I've been correct, but every year I sit down and jot out some of my ideas about where the MMO industry is headed and which games I can expect to see and enjoy in the coming year.

Just a few days ago, four Ten Ton Hammer writers penned their own thoughts and ideas, which we published in a conglomerated list. While I initially sat down to do the same thing - write out eight prediction for the coming year - I soon realized that eight, sixteen, and even twenty-four predictions were not enough. So here's my list of thirty-two MMO predictions for 2009. I anticipate to be wrong on the majority of my predictions, but maybe I'll come away with a higher percentage in 2009 than I did in 2008!

Jumpgate Evolution will see gradual success.

1. Jumpgate Evolution will release in an open area of the MMO launch calendar (sometime in the summer months) and see a fair number of copies sold within the first month. However, word of mouth will spark a fair number of after release purchases and JGE will see a much larger user retention rate than recent MMOGs that have hit the market.

2. The Secret World, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and The World of Darkness will not release in 2009.

3. Cryptic will announce the development of at least one Atari owned IP. My bets are on a D&D Forgotten Realms-based MMOG.

4 Turbine will counter the Atari/Cryptic announcement by unveiling the development of a Harry Potter-based MMOG that will be released for consoles and PCs.

5. Cartoon Network's FusionFall will boast at least a million registered users (not subscriptions or paying customers) by the end of 2009.

6. LEGO Universe, if released, will drive more sales and have more registered users than FusionFall and Free Realms combined, if it is released in 2009. LEGO will claim record profits based off of online sales.

7. The success of Aion in the West will hinge on localization of the client by NCsoft West. If beta previews display poor localization efforts, the game will not succeed commercially.

8. Square Enix will unveil their next-gen MMO in 2009 and shoot for an early 2011 release for the Western market.

9. One Eastern European developer will cancel their MMO project.

10. Mortal Online will continue to gain notoriety in the West and be hailed as the "next big thing" in open PvP. The game will be pushed to 2010 or 2011.

11. Huxley will be released in 2009 on the PC with a 2010 release date slated for the Xbox 360.

DC Universe will be hindered - in some way - by the PS3.

12. The PS3 will hamper the release of DC Universe Online. The game will play solidly on the PC, but constant issues with the PS3 client will take some of the air out of SOE's sails.

13. The Agency will release at the end of 2009 and attain stellar numbers, clearly marking it as the first commercially successful MMOFPS.

14. Runes of Magic and Atlantica Online will raise the bar for imported F2P games, and all other games will be held to their standard, much like WoW and any upcoming MMO.

15. Richard Garriott will announce his return to MMO gaming with an unveiling of a new fantasy-based MMO. The game will not focus on PvP.

16. Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios will announce a Fable-based MMO project.

17. Both Fallout and the Elder Scrolls will continue to be in MMO news as possible IPs in development.

18. NCsoft will be bolstered by the unveiling and subsequent closed beta test of their Carbine Studios project in Southern California.

19. Rumblings of City of Heroes 2 will be heard throughout the industry. If confirmation occurs and the game is in development, the announcement will not come until the start of the beta test of DC Universe Online.    

20. Red 5 Studios, Trion World Network, ZeniMax Online Studios, and 38 Studios will all unveil their MMOs in 2009.

21. Jagex will reveal a full-fledged, subscription based version of RuneScape to compete with World of Warcraft. This will include a retail box, fully upgraded graphics, and a complete overhaul of the current skill system.

22. World of Warcraft will achieve 12.5 million users sometime within 2009.

23. Blizzard's next-gen MMO will be announced. It will NOT be Universe of Starcraft.

24. A sports-based MMO will achieve a measure of success and popularity in 2009.

25. At least two more gaming magazines will be cancelled.

26. Age of Conan will settle into a comfortable position and will finally start to see a reemergence of community and internet activity. The 360 launch will occur at the end of the year.

EVE Online will expand to over 800,000 subscribers.

27. Warhammer Online will remain a steady competitor for World of Warcraft. True public quests will find their way into WoW at some point.

28. At least one big name MMO project or game will be cancelled or discontinued.

29. Pirates of the Burning Sea will continue to catch player interest throughout 2009, especially as more improvements make their way into the game.

30. EVE Online will expand to beyond 800,000 subscribers and see a large influx of new participants after the successful Atari launch.

31. All Points Bulletin will reveal its first selection of gameplay, and many industry analysts will claim it to be the "next big thing" in the MMO industry. In response, Rockstar will begin development of a GTA MMO.

32. Ten Ton Hammer will continue to be your premier source for MMO news, exclusives, guides and commentary!

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