With 2012 well behind us and the greatest games of the year accounted for, it's time to look forward, lose weight and all that good stuff that comes with a new year. More specifically for us at Games.com, it's also time to make bold predictions for what 2013 will bring. And by bold, we mean 72-point Comic Sans bold. Why, you ask? Well, to test our industry intuition, of course. That and it makes for fine fodder for laughing at ourselves come 2014. On with the crystal ball-gazing.
CityVille 2 doesn't survive
Zynga's city-builder sequel started strong, thanks to flashy 3D graphics, an interesting storyline with funny characters and tons of cross-promotion to boost its numbers. But after players were left to play the game to their own devices, they were met with a buggy, laggy mess that has lost 8.8 million players in the last week alone, according to AppData. It's almost impossible to make progress in CityVille 2 without spending money. There are few other games (aside from maybe Pioneer Trail) so dependent on spamming friends with requests. Even building most homes requires materials. Without homes, population never grows. Without population, you can't unlock crafting buildings. Without crafting buildings, you can't complete quests. It's a cycle that Zynga needs to fix fast, or else. - Brandy Shaul
Social, F2P explodes on next-generation consoles
While details about Microsoft and Sony's next generation consoles are scarce rumors at best, it's a safe bet that gamers will have two new options this fall or winter. With online surely to play an even bigger role in both consoles, it only makes sense to see the biggest names in social and free-to-play games get comfy on the "Xbox 720" or "PS4." And it's not as if both companies haven't already expressed interest in the idea. Sony purchased Gaikai in 2012 and has a free-to-play shooter on the way in Dust 514, and Toylogic released fantasy, free-to-play romp Happy Wars over Xbox Live last year. - Brandy Shaul
The "Steam Box" lands
Steam, Portal developer Valve's years-old online game store and community for PC and Mac, often experiments with massive sales adored by cheap gamers everywhere and compelling features, like cross-game items and trading. With its newest feature, Big Picture Mode, Valve hopes to attract console gamers to Steam. Controller support and a custom, easily navigable interface, tether Big Picture Mode to laptops or desktops connected to HDTVs. But for those who keep computing separate from gaming, all signs point to Valve's plans for a gutsy--yet sensible and timely--move into the living room. A "Steam Box," a compact, console-like PC engineered for gaming and shipped with Steam installed, is said to be Valve's next big project. If it pans out, Valve's peerless ecosystem will compete for space in your entertainment center this year. - Cameron Faulkner
Apple doubles down on gaming
Frankly, Apple doesn't have to do much of anything more than it already has (or hasn't) to keep raking in the big bucks on iOS and Mac App Store games. But with games consistently dominating the top-paid and top-grossing charts on the App Stores, the tech giant stands to benefit quite a bit from investing more heavily in gaming. With every product release, Apple inches closer toward a fully capable gaming ecosystem. Could this be the year that CEO Tim Cook and co. finally revamp Game Center and give The Big Three what for? Well, there wouldn't be a better time than now. - Joe Osborne
Facebook gets its first MOBA
Hardcore, core, mid-core or whatever-the-next-publisher-wants-to-call-it gaming is poised to have its breakout year on Facebook. More developers than ever seem interested in tapping this white space: Hardcore gamers with Facebook accounts that hate Facebook games. Plus, herds of online game makers are chasing the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) fad that Riot Games sparked with League of Legends. Considering the majority of upcoming MOBA games are free-to-play, the two movements are bound to cross paths--er ... lanes. - Joe Osborne
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