2010-2011 Prediction Results: Plus 2011-2012 Predictions

Usually we do this in September, but I feel like moving this up a bit, so we are doing it now. First off, here are the predictions from last year, and how we fared:

10.  Flash Games Everywhere!

Google TV, the Google Web App Store, Flash games on Android, Flash conversion on the iPhone, Flash player 10.1, etc.    Flash games will take-over much of the non-core game industry in the next 12 months.

Still true.  Flash has not died at all.  iPhone conversions are not great, but everything else is still on target.   How ver, GoogleTV was a bust.  Android is going strong though, and with technologiesthat let you play Flash games on your iPad, things are looking up.

9. Diminished Power Of Flash Game Portals

With Flash games everywhere, the power and influence of Flash game portals will diminish somewhat.  Look for some consolidation (e.g. Kongregate + New Grounds), and for portals to start their own development arms, as they, themselves, branch to mobile, Facebook ,and other platforms.

Sadly, still happening.   Facebook and Mobile appears to be the current  great frontiers.

8. Silverlight Down, HTML5 Up

Silverlight will fall even further out of the game space, while HTML5+Canvas games grow in number and sophistication.  The inclusion of Canvas support in I.E. 9 will help fuel this fire.  However, for Microsoft and Sharepoint shops, and on the Windows 7 phone, Silverlight will grow in influence and usage. Silverlight will still be viable, but focused on Microsoft platforms.

Yep, Silverlight is all but gone.  Sad.

7. Atari/Asteroids Movies Will Still Live In Development Hell

The Nolan Bushnell “Atari Movie” and the Universal “Asteroids” movie will still be in development hell, far from any kind of production or release date.

Yep.  Still no movies, and very little info.

6. Atari Will Mine Their Classic Catalog Even Further

Atari will continue to mine their classic game catalog, and finally dig out titles that remain unreleased on modern platforms such as remakes of games like “Yar’s Revenge” , “Air Sea Battle”, “Canyon Bomber”, plus coin-op games like “Food Fight” and “Hi-Way” and “Qwak”.  I’d also look for the Flashback 3 to finally get a release, maybe even as a mobile device.

Yep.  Atari has pushed more of their classic catalog in the past year than they have ever done previously.

5. More Retro-Style Games On Downloadable Platforms

With games like “Scott Pilgrim” on the Xbox 360, we will see many more classic looking and playing games on the downloadable game platforms.   Unlike “Retro Evolved” games, these games will hit all the nuances of classic games, and revel in them.   At the same time, retro-evolved style games will continue to be created at a rapid pace.

Yep.  Even retro games as Social Games (Asteroids, Yar's Revenge).

4. Big Fanchises Will Falter

At least two well-known franchises expected to move “tonnage” will falter.  Neither will be PC-based, but both will put their respective publishers on the brink of bankruptcy.

Yep.  Guitar Hero, or Rock Band anyone?

3. The Mac Will Rise

Pushed by Apple’s moves in gaming, the Mac will rise as a game machine. Some big PC games will see simultaneous and possibly targeted Mac releases.   Publishers will see good sales for Mac games because the user-base is more willing to pay for software.  Look for Mac sales to edge-up again and challenge the PC’s dominance.

So this was not entirely correct.  It was not the Mac, but the iPad.  Still, Apple is low larger than Microsoft and Intel combined, which means...they are winning.

2.  Quality Advertising Supported Games Will Start Disappearing

High-quality games that use in-game ads for revenue will start to trickle in the next 12 months.  Coins games, mobile platforms, etc. will dominate instead.  Look for more “demo” style games that hint at game-play instead of being full games themselves.    Tiny developers will still use in-game ads, but mostly for the other services they provide (high-scores, social layers, etc), and not really for the revenue they generate.

Yep.  It's all about micro-transactions now.

1. The 3DS Will Fail, But The Wii2 Will Shock The Gaming World

I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe the 3DS will be failure in the USA.  It will be too expensive, and will not be able to compete with the iPhone and Android and mobile gaming platforms.    However, it will have some great games and be a cult hit.  It will dominate in Japan.

As the Xbox 360 and PS3 transform into the Wii with their own motion controls, Nintendo will announce the Wii2 in 2011.  While the system will miss the Christmas 2011 season, there is good reason for it.  The Wii2 will include some revolutionary technology that only Nintendo could put together.  HD+ visuals, Blue-Ray, 3D, massive amounts of solid-state storage, mind-control, an anti-piracy device utilizing buyer’s DNA/retina scanning, holograms, virtual reality, full-body scanning motion control, time travel and weather control are just some of the features that are possible.

Yep, the 3DS is a failure.  Nintendo had to lower the price by almost 1/3 this week.   The Wii  2 (Wii U) did shock the world with it's bizarre controller, low system specs.  It all made Nintendo look confused and desperate.

Now for the 2011-2012 predictions:

10. Wii U will fail.

The Wii U will be seen as a "too little/too late" system with confusing controls, and spotty 3rd party support.  Sales will start out briskly, but with little to differentiate it from the Wii, and sub-par online support, it will quickly turn into another 3DS. Only Nintendo first-party titles will sell well, and those will only be enough to keep Nintendo afloat for a very short time.

9. Google will not get Android together in time to fend off Apple.

Android is the "PC" of cell phones, and while a lot of phones and tablets are getting better, it still will not be enough to fend off the Apple juggernaut.

8. Apple TV will play games

The Apple TV will with have it game features "turned on" with a software update. Player will use iPads, iPods or iPhone to control HD games on a TV.   A separate, simpler controller will be available for those who do not yet have an iOs device.   A new store will open, selling games directly to the Apple TV. But there will be more. Read on.

7. When it doesn't matter any longer, iOS devices will support Flash.

Sometime next year, iOS devices will add Flash support.  I won't be a big deal.

6. Google+ will rise, Facebook will falter

Google+ will rise as Facebook falls.  Social game makers will start moving in the direction too.

5. Atari Flashback 3 will be announced.

Atari flashback 3.0, a hand held 2600/7800/lynx/Jaguar/8bit/ST system with storage and downloadable games will be announced by Atari. It will never be released.

4. Another movie based on an Atari game will be announced, will never be released.

"Centipede" anyone?

3. xbox 720+ Playstation 4 will share some or all components and OS.

Microsoft and Sony will join efforts to produce compatible consoles built on the Xbox OS, using Sony hardware.  They will feel they must do this to survive because...

2. Apple Will Buy Nintendo

With Apple's rise, and Nintendo's fall, Apple will purchase Nintendo, jettison Nintendo's hardware dreams, and have them focus on creating first-party Nintendo games for iOS only.   A new "DS" that is iOS compatible will bridge the gap for aching Nintendo fans. Backwards compatible Wii and Wii U support will be built-in to the Apple TV and iOS device combination, with games downloadable from iTunes.

1. The world will not end.

No, it will not.


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8bitrocket teams up with Producto Studios

8bitrocket has teamed up with Producto Studios to create a single, super-charged, one-stop-shop for everything cool, interactive, and fun. When we combined the retro / indie gaming sensibilities of 8bitrocket  with the design genius of Producto, we created a partnership of epic gaming and graphic design proportions.

Check out the Producto Studios YouTube Channel.

This partnership will allow us to create a single, unified studio that will specialize in creating custom branded experiences that leverage  the optimized Flash, HTML5, and mobile game / application engines  of 8bitrocket with the design, motion graphics, and cartooning brilliance of Producto. Each studio brings over 16 years of experience in the digital realm and a passion for games, cartoons, and interactive entertainment.

In the past year, 8bitrocket and Producto have informally  teamed up to work on games and interactive entertainment  for Kraft, the NFL, Bratz, BFC Ink, Arkadin, and more. We have had so much fun and success, we are now formally creating a new unified team under the Producto Studios title. 8bitrocket.com will continue to provide news, games, tutorials,  cover indie gaming, web gaming, technology, and much more while ProductoStudios.com will become the official, commercial arm for both studios.

For more information, check out the Consulting Page here on 8bitrocket.com or just jump straight over to ProductoStudios.com.


Yoyo Games Game Maker will have HTML5 version in Q4

I was just visiting theYoyo Games Game Maker site to look into using the software to teach my 6 year old son game development concepts without worrying about too much coding. Game Maker has a back-end language as well as front-end complex data structures build-in, so eventually I planned to teach him the darker side of actual game coding. In any case, while looking over their site I found two really cool things.

1. They have a new Mac version (which is probably the version we will purchase)

2. They are going to have an HTML5 version ready in Q4 of this year. By the looks of it, they are going to have the same great tools, editor, and resources available for the HTML5 version as they do for the current PC and Mac versions.  The price for the Mac and PC versions is a very reasonable $39.99, so I assume the same type of aggressively low-cost pricing will be applied to the HTML5 version.

We will be very interested to get our hands on the full version ASAP.


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Does Anyone Want a Hardcore top-down, Scrolling Shooter On a Mobile Device?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately: Will anyone play (buy) a hardcore, top-down shooter on a mobile device?  What will it take to get someone to buy it, play it, and tell their friends about it?  Should it be free, with weapon upgrades as in-app transactions?

The type of shooters I like were last seen on the PC in the games by Scott Host at Mountain King Studios.   His games, Raptor and Demon Star were some of the last, best scrolling to-down shooters for the PC.  In fact, Raptor just saw a 2010 edition for the PC and Mac, and a new iPhone edition.

Is the iPad the right place for these games, or does control need to be so precise that the target audience will not sit enjoy the games on these platforms.  Alternatively, is the audience for these games too small to really make any kind of return on them?   Are portals still a valid way to sell games and make money, or is everything now social+mobile+etc.?


Help me pick a new smart Verizon mobile phone

I need to get a new Verizon phone but have absolutely no idea what to get. I am pretty sure I am not inside any discount renewal period, so I need to consider the full cost of a new device in my choice.

I had an iPhone recently, but had to get rid of it. I like the iPhone and it synced with many apps and games I had for my iPad 2 and iPod touch. That begin said, I have an iPad 2 and an older iPod Touch, so development for that platform will not be a problem if I choose a Droid phone.

I have no Droid devices at all and have never used a Blackberry or a Windows Mobile phone.

So, what should I choose? Please give me your thoughts in the comments. I am not tied to any one company or technology. Like I said, I do need to consider the full price of the phone data plans (if they vary) in my final decision.


8bitrocket Reunion 2011! The original lost 1/3 of 8bitrocket Returns For One Night Only

A couple weeks back Eric Barth (center), the original "lost" 1/3 of 8bitrocket, returned to his origins by visiting Jeff and I back in California. Eric is a Professor Of Engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Instead of building games, he builds all kind of robots and devices that use alternative inputs for control (i.e. motion sensing).  We had not seen each other in 23 years.  Back in the day (1979) , Jeff and Eric and I used to create all sorts of cool programs on Eric's Apple IIe computer.

One of our favorite things to do, when we first started to program, was to create ASCII rockets in BASIC that would print out and "launch" up the screen when  a the program was executed.  These rockets (an example in Flash is on this page) were our first inspiration to start programming computers.   This site, and our whole ideal  and aesthetic were born out of these boyhood hacks and experimentation.  In fact, the name "8-Bit Rocket" comes from these exact "rocket"  programs.  It was great to finally see our friend from so long ago again, and catch-up.


HTML5 Canvas Progressive Breakout Style Game Tutorial coming…

I just wanted to add a short update about the HTML5 progressive breakout game tutorial I promised a while back.  I was working on the game and had stable and ready to write about, when my dad passed away.  It pretty much halted my development on anything the was not completely essential.  Now I'm ready to get back to it, and you should see the first installment later this week.


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Google Swiffy? Not Yet.

Google Labs released Swiffy last week, their attempt to allow people to easily convert .swfs to HTML5.   However, instead of being a revolutionary technology, rather, it shows just how far HTML5 needs to go before it can match Flash.

Swiffy attempts to open a .swf and convert the content to SVG.  I was going to post some demos of content that it converted, but EVERY .swf I tried (from very simple to very complex) did not convert correctly. Almost all ActionScript was unsupported.  All audio was unsupported.  In fact, the only things I could get to work were timeline animations and click throughs.  Even those were spotty.

Sure, I know, this is Google Labs and yes it is beta, and yes, it is only a test, but the limited nature of the support suggests one or more of the following three things:

  • People who desperately want to rid the world of Flash, and who build converters like this, don't really know what Flash is used for.
  • HTML5 is just not up to the task.
  • There are no easy answers when trying to replace Flash

I encourage you to try it for yourself.


Two more Good Reviews Of Our HTML5 Canvas Book

Here are couple more good reviews of out HTML5 Canvas book.

From Wonderoile

"...overall I can recommend this book to every developer who wants to be creative with the web. This book provides a solid path for developing Canvas games/ applications with a solid performance."

From All Things Mat:

"...I felt this book was a great introduction and foundation into getting started with HTML5.   It’s loaded with lots of examples and serves as a great point of reference to anyone looking into HTML5 development "




Video Game History Museum: Help Make It Happen

The guys behind Digital Press and the CGE have created Kickstarter.com project to help create permanent Video Game History museum in Silicon Valley.  We think this is an awesome idea.  Pledge something if you can:




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