Circumstances can change very quickly in the world of gaming. This time last year, for example, you didn’t hear from too many game developers when it came to their iPhone plans—there wasn’t even an SDK to plan for 12 months ago. And yet, mobile gaming turned out to be all the rage in 2008.
Some would say that just proves attempting to predict where a market is headed is a foolhardy proposition. We say we’re just the fools to undertake the job. Here are six trends in Mac gaming to keep an eye on throughout 2009.
More iPhone games
Online becomes more massive
When gamers put down their iPhones, they’ll likely head online. Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs), like World of Warcraft, will continue to make up a strong percentage of the gaming market, as 2009 sees the release of many previously PC-only MMOs onto Mac. (Earlier this month, the Mac version of City of Heroes moved into its open beta phase.)
Delayed launches of blockbuster Mac titles
Good things come to those who wait. That’s good news, because Mac gamers can probably look forward to a lot of waiting in the coming year. We foresee Mac users having to keep a patient vigil potential announcements of Mac launches of major sellers like Call of Duty 5, Prince of Persia, and Red Alert 3. We list these three only because history has shown us that these are likely (but not guaranteed) to be eventually ported to the Mac platform. “Eventually” is the key word here. Keep your fingers crossed.
Less support for PowerPC Macs
More bitterness about Bungie
It’s been nearly a decade since Bungie announced Halo at the July 1999 Macworld Expo. That game, which promised to revitalize the Mac gaming industry, instead salvaged Microsoft’s Xbox console launch, after the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant snapped up Bungie in 2000. Bungie and Microsoft have since parted ways, but Halo lives on. In 2009, Halo Wars, a real-time strategy game, is coming out for the Xbox 360. Root for it to stink.
More layoffs and consolidations
This past year is ending on a rough note for gaming companies, as EA, THQ, Midway, and others have all announced layoffs. A week ago, Mac game maker Aspyr announced layoffs as well. With the economy suffering globally, consumers have less discretionary income, and the entertainment industry suffers as a result. Don’t be surprised to see more companies announcing cutbacks and staff reductions in 2009.