For us working and soon-to-be working folk, there was a pretty significant piece of good news that came out yesterday, which is that the US economy seems to be picking up quite nicely. While unemployment is still way higher than it was a few years ago, many jobs were added to the private sector and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3% (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-03/payrolls-in-u-s-jumped-243-000-in-january-unemployment-rate-drops-to-8-3-.html
). Most importantly, people are starting to think that the job growth is organic, which means that the economy can grow without external stimuli like new tax breaks and stimulus.
As far as gaming goes, let's hope this is a good start to a year where game publishers take more risks and generate significant new IPs. The video game industry as a whole was pretty weak last year, dropping about 14% for software and 28% for hardware (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=145139341
). No doubt the recent bout of sequelitis was due to the weak economy and these developers having to bank on things they knew would sell. While I'll probably pick up a Mass Effect 3 or a Ninja Gaiden 3 at some point, I pretty much know what to expect from those games, which makes it harder to get excited for them.
The new 2012 IPs seem a bit sparse - I have Anarchy Reigns, The Last of Us, Dragon's Dogma, and The Last Guardian on my radar, but that's about it. Details are a bit slim for most of those, so we'll have to see whether they can build up enough hype. With things getting better now, game developers will probably nut up and start making new stuff, but we may not see the fruits of that labor until 2013.
And regardless of what you're looking forward to, here's to a better year than we had last year. What are you all looking forward to?