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
into the worldwide revolution of World
. Every year I've tried to make my
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
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
Evolution will see gradual success.
1. Jumpgate Evolution
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
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.
if released, will drive more sales and have more registered users than FusionFall
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
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
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.
will be released in 2009 on the PC with a 2010 release date slated for
the Xbox 360.
will be hindered - in some way - by the PS3.
12. The PS3 will hamper the release of DC
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.
will release at the end of 2009 and attain stellar numbers, clearly
marking it as the first commercially successful MMOFPS.
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
17. Both Fallout
and the Elder Scrolls
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
compete with World of
. 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
24. A sports-based MMO will achieve a measure of success and popularity
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.
will expand to over 800,000 subscribers.
remain a steady competitor for World
. 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
will continue to catch player
throughout 2009, especially as more improvements make their way into
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!