My name is Jason. I'm an avid lifelong gamer, and somewhat longish reader of Destructoid. Currently unemployed, my usual occupations are fixing PCs for people, replacing broken phone screens, and embarrassingly often, working behind a retail counter.
I tend to game on PC these days. Favorites of the last year were Cave Story+, Bastion, Portal 2, and E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy.
You can usually find me in Destructoid group chat on Steam as Morcant, or frequently in Tribes: Ascend as Jahok.
What new year doesn't arrive without some pompous bastard prattling on about things to come? Today I am your bastard. Due to my BIAS, I'll be hitting on hardware and platforms more than individual game titles or publishers. There's way too much drama in software. I certainly wouldn't want to upset some Call of Duty fanboys (or haters), or people who collect female images of Link.
I skipped purchasing a Wii. The fact that the Wii U has the biggest standard controller of all time is not helping Nintendo win me over. It uses a new controller with a 6.2" 16:9 touch screen. I'm a bit worried about battery life, but it's so large that they could just about throw a Chevy Volt's power pack in it. Kudos to them for at least getting the second nub right on this one.
Nintendo may enjoy some success with an app/ebook/video marketplace, although I fear they'll lose focus and this will be overrun with things nobody actually wants to do with their home console. iOS ports may replace the Wii shovelware we've come to know and love. But maybe I'll be surprised by a variety of downloadable games that run on either the 3DS or the WiiTablet.
Also, someone is going to make a game where the lights go out and you shine a flashlight around with your motion/sixaxis enabled touchpad thingamabob. If this happens in 2013 I was just ahead of my time, remember that.
Both Sony and Microsoft will announce new consoles in 2012, possibly at E3. I don't expect to see anything concrete until at least TGS, however. Sony will call theirs the Playstation 4. Microsoft will call theirs the Xbox Pi. Both of them will charge annual subscriptions for online services; this may not be announced until E3 2013.
Neither will incorporate cloud-based rendering like OnLive's service. Here's why. As purveyors of a platform, they have an intrinsic need to keep you buying their newest home media convergence device. If you can simply play the game in question on practically anything web-enabled, where does that leave them and their investment in overpowered hardware? Cloud service will be limited to game saves and profiles; this assuming that Sony bothers to incorporate it at all. I only say this because Microsoft already has a cloud computing platform, and Sony would have to lease their usage.
Voice recognition will be included as standard, along with motion control of some form. Backward compatibility may be promised once again, only to be dropped and forgotten after six months. If one or the other really wanted to differentiate their platform, they could include simple, inexpensive biometric feedback. This sometimes gives people the willies, however. Just a few short steps from..
Storage will be interesting. Sony will want to continue using Blu-Ray; Microsoft might use a proprietary Blu-Ray-type optical disc. (Which may in fact be a debranded Blu-Ray to keep from appearing to support their direct competitor.) Both consoles will also likely use a hybrid hard drive/solid state drive for internal storage and game installs. Most of the SSD benefits, without costing $500 for enough capacity. Really looking forward to this.
The PC will continue to be the chosen platform of the master race.
OnLive will rock the boat a little bit, and expand their base of customers. Their time to shine will come once wireless carriers improve bandwidth and reduce latency to the point that people can enjoy a seamless full-fledged AAA game on their mobile phone. Depending on their marketing strategy, they may also become a threat to Nintendo in the budget-oriented gaming segment.
Like cell phones themselves, OnLive may not need to prove itself 100% reliable to succeed if the cost and convenience equation works out for end users. It's absolutely a compelling platform, which presently suffers a bit from conditions beyond its control.
This wonderful new year is full of promise. The Vita is dropping in about six weeks, and the 3DS is showing some real sparks of creativity. We should have some great games on the way, like Retro City Rampage. But I just can't get too excited about games for this dull humdrum generation of hardware when I can imagine what's just around the corner. That gets me excited.