2013 In Review: How many of our 2013 predictions came true?

Evaluating our efforts

2013 In Review: How many of our 2013 predictions came true?

It's at times like this that I wish I worked for a newspaper or on a magazine.

The problem with the web is that its memory is eternal. Your words stay online in some form or other forever.

As such, when cocksure editors such as myself boldly predict what's going to happen over the course of the next 12 months, it's easy for readers to check back and ridicule us when none of those predictions play out.

So, rather than wait for you lot to take me down under your own steam, I decided to take a look back at what I projected would happen in 2013 and, with the benefit of hindsight, go through prediction by prediction.

And, dare I say it, I didn't do all too badly:

Statement 1:

Undoubtedly, we're going to see some major players – platforms, publishers, developers – run into major trouble and fall away. More important than all of this, however, is what platforms people play on, and how they play. These issues will prove to be 2013's legacy.

Even I would have to admit that this was a fairly open projection. Every year plays host to casualties, so the fact we've seen major players such as Zynga and Glu Mobile run into trouble, while others have closed up shop entirely is hardly a major surprise.

It is, however, prime evidence of the cut-throat nature of mobile in 2013 – and, likely, 2014 too. Zynga's strategy of using established titles to push its new output was highly lucrative, but it was also something of a ticking bomb. It only needed one or two titles to fall by the wayside for the chain to be interrupted and the whole approach undermined.

Worryingly, Zynga may have been something of a poster child for said model but it is by no means the only developer operating this way, pushing new games via existing games that themselves have a shelf life of only a few months.

As Zynga discovered, there was a constant pressure to find the 'next big thing' over and over, which resulted in the now notoriously bad decision to buyout the unproven and now shuttered OMGPOP.

Compare Zynga to King and Supercell – the two dominant forces in the west, each built upon the back of a small selection of games that are standing the test of time, still bringing in revenue aplenty on a weekly basis.

There's nothing wrong with cross-promotion, but just make sure the games you're pushing out aren't fly-by-night successes.

Statement 2:

For RIM, the delayed BlackBerry 10 has quickly become something of a last stand, even if that's not how the company itself would pitch it. Until now, RIM has been playing catch up ever since the App Store launch in 2008. Always adding features after its rivals, and never leading the market. Indeed, the whole concept of app marketplaces, open email and everything else Apple and co. brought to the table has been an uncomfortable fit for the Canadian giant. BlackBerry 10 is an attempt to jump back ahead, and could be the reset button the company needs. Or, on the other hand, it could prove to be neither one thing nor the other – neither consumer focused, nor tailored enough for enterprise. What it isn't, however, is without hope.

Indeed, BlackBerry wasn't without hope in 2013, and anyone who encountered the team behind the platform's drive on games at an event last year will know how committed the company was to making its mark.

As I sit here typing, however, the company's future is very much up in the air.

The latter months of 2013 saw BlackBerry initiate a full-scale withdrawal from the games markets whilst also popping itself up for sale and ridding itself of CEO Thorsten Heins.

In the end, BlackBerry's attempt to take on iOS and Android in the apps market just didn't sit well in the eyes of the consumer. While both the touchscreen-based Z10 and querty-focused Q10 performed well with critics, for the public, neither offered anything unique.

The Z10 came with less apps and games that any other smartphones on the market, while the Q10 offered the enterprise market little more than BlackBerry's legacy devices.

In short, BlackBerry 10 tried to be everything to all men, but it's diverse approach meant it ended up muddling its message: the very definition of a 'Jack of all trades, master of none.'

By chasing the tails of Apple and Google, BlackBerry undermined its hand in the enterprise market and hastened its own demise in that arena too. It would be both unfair and inaccurate to suggest BlackBerry has disappeared off the face of the earth, but it seems unlikely 2014 will play host to any sort of meaningful comeback.

Statement 3:

Will Windows survive? Will it tip the balance in Microsoft's favour? All we know is, 2013 will be the year when we find out whether consumers want to play ball.

This one is a little harder to qualify. Though it had notable detractors, Windows 8 is undoubtedly a commercial success by almost every measure – though it's hard to escape the notion that, for a lot of people, the platform's Metro user interface is anything but a selling point.

A score draw, then? Well, not really, because one of the biggest oversights I made in my 2013 predictions is that, for Microsoft, Windows 8 – and Windows Phone and Xbox, for that matter - is a long play.

So while Windows 8 was always going to comfortably prove more popular than Mac in 2013 and 2014 alike, a successful transition to tablets and the platform's ability to convince people that Metro is a worthy UI are both anything but set in stone.

Statement 4:

Xbox will increasingly become a games platform rather than a piece of hardware, with the same games played across TV, smartphones and tablets. SmartGlass really is just a test run.

On first glance, you'd have to say I was way off the mark with this one as well, but then again, this may prove to be a case of me looking far beyond 2013.

When said statement was written, Microsoft was yet to lift the lid on the Xbox One and rumours of an official Xbox-branded tablet were rife. Such a device may still see the light of day, but Microsoft's decidedly dodgy Xbox reveal has put pay to its plans to tie games to specific users.

As a result, it would appear letting those games spread across different forms of hardware has fallen down the priority list. Indeed, it's an area whereit could be argued Sony has taken the lead with PlayStation 4, allowing users to play PS4 games on their PS Vitas.

Nevertheless, I still believe that both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be the last consoles tied to a physical piece of hardware, and that both platforms will evolve beyond the boxes people are currently paying out several hundreds of pounds for.

It just might take a little longer than I - or anyone, for that matter - expected.

Statement 5:

But, more than anything, this is the year when Apple's app platform for TVs has to launch. Whether it simply attempts to port over iOS releases or launches fresh with a toolset specifically for television controls is a secondary issue right now – after all the hype, this is a race Apple needs to be in.

This is where I was furthest from the truth, despite the fact that, of all the predictions I made 12 months ago, this was also the most crucial.

Just why Apple keeps delaying its inevitable app-equipped Apple TV is up for debate, though it appeared to be just around the corner when the company officially opened up iOS to third-party controllers in the summer. And yet, as we slip into 2014, there's no sign of any such announcement.

Has Apple missed the bus? I'd say yes. PS4 and Xbox One are both flying, selling at a faster rate than even the most optimistic analysts predicted in the months before their respective launches, and the supposed benchmarks for apps on Apple TV – Ouya, GameStick - are struggling to gain traction.

Undoubtedly, any move by Apple on the microconsole market would gain far more attention from press and retail alike than any that have gone before, but 2013's legacy may prove to be that simply porting mobile games over to Ouya and co. isn't enough.

As things stand, the microconsole market just isn't making an impact.

Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on PG.biz, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.