My Top Five Predictions for 2016

By: Steve Zachmann, contributor

 

For the last couple of years now I’ve made predictions for what to expect in the world of gaming for the coming months.  Typically, my predictions are pretty terrible, but I have a good feeling about this year.  Oh, and for the record, I’m not including “Half-Life 3 will be announced”.  It may happen this year, or next, or 10 years form now, but I shouldn’t be allowed to add it every year until the game comes out.

  1. VR won’t make a splash.
    I’m not trying to be a hater, I promise.  I think the idea of VR is cool.  I don’t think that the current incarnation of VR is ready for primetime though.  There are several reasons I say that.  First, it’s apparently very disorienting to move your head to look around but not maintain that same control to move.  Not being able to use your legs to walk makes many people very uncomfortable.  Issues like that will push VR developers to pigeon hole themselves into less-than-innovative project choices.  Furthermore, VR still comes with the problem of over-immersion.  If you’re a gamer who also happens to be a parent, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll feel comfortable putting on a device that basically shuts out the entire world while you use it.  Because VR headsets won’t be cheap, the immersion factor makes the target market pretty small.  There’s also the issue of software in general.  Products made for a VR experience are still minimal, and will continue to be until VR proves to be a worthwhile investment for developers.  So, given all of that, I just don’t think that VR is ready to set the world on fire just yet.  Someday hopefully, but not this year.

  2. The Legend of Zelda for Wii U will be the best Zelda game ever.
    This may just be wishful thinking, I admit.  I feel like I need more justification for buying my Wii U.  That said, what Nintendo could do with the Wii U hardware might mesh incredibly well with what the series does.  The use of a touch screen controller combined with the franchises pension for innovation could lead to some incredible results.  That’s not all, either.  From what we’ve see so far (and it’s not much, I know), the game looks truly gorgeous.  This may very well be the Zelda experience brings a love for the franchise to a whole new generation.
  3. A mobile game will get serious consideration for game of the year.
    I’ve been starting to turn the corner on mobile games.  I have less time to play console or PC games than I have in the past, so I find myself playing more and more mobile games.  Most of them, I’ll admit, are pretty terrible.  But sometimes something like The Room or Lara Croft Go comes out, and you start to see exactly what is possible with the medium.  I think that this might be the year that we see mobile games finally turn the corner into legitimacy.
  4. The Warcraft movie will be awful.
    Video game movies don’t come out that often, and certainly not ones with this level of profile.  Blizzard is also known for spending inordinate amounts of time making sure that anything it touches is polished to the 9’s.  After seeing the trailer for the movie though, I just don’t see this one hitting the mark.  As a Warcraft fan I’d like it to, I’m just not sure that the universe translates well into a live-action movie.  In fact, I think a CG Warcraft movie would have been incredible.  The Blizzard cinematics team is absolutely outstanding, and they capture the aesthetic of the universe perfectly, so I’m not sure why they didn’t just go that route.  Regardless, I’m not sure that a post Lord of the Rings world is ready for the sillier, cheesier looking orcs of the Warcraft universe.
  5. Nintendo will announce its new console.
    Honestly, I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here by suggesting that Nintendo would announce their new console this year.  It would almost certainly still be a year or so away, with plenty of time to still support the WIi U.  I think the Wii U has largely been a failure for Nintendo from a purely business perspective though.  I think they’re looking to put the current console behind them and move on to something more multiplayer friendly.  Again, I like my Wii U, and I think that the hardware is fantastically fun to use.  I don’t think it caught on enough with the general public to call it a success though.  Because of that, I don’t think Nintendo is ready to put a lot more resources behind making it successful.  My guess is that Zelda will be the Wii U’s magnum opus, and then we’ll move on.