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Tiswaz's Kevin Dent on 2012's coming disruptions

Predictions for the big brands in the new year

Tiswaz's Kevin Dent on 2012's coming disruptions
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Kevin Dent is CEO of Tiswaz Entertainment, an advisory board member at PlayHaven and Chair of the IDGA Mobile SIG. The following opinions are his own.

With the start of the New Year, I thought I'd spitball a couple of ideas about what's to come in 2012.

I fully expect this year to be even more disruptive than the last and for this trend to continue well into 2013.

More volume, but F2P backlash

Overall, we just had our first one billion download week across iOS and Android. We will have more and they will start to become more and more frequent.

That is the good news, the bad news is that in terms of free-to-play, we will see a market correction.

Free-to-play will still be dominant, but the general public will tire of developers sticking hands in their pockets from day one. This will be a great opportunity for true game designers to marry analytics to design as opposed to leading with analytics.

It's linear, stupid

The big cross platform publishers have still not gotten their heads around the fact that the world of video games is going linear. It is no longer about developing a game on console and expecting it to do well - but it is about marrying all platforms to a single game.

The experience will not be a console experience on mobile or browser, but you will be able to impact your game progression through the mobile or browser client. This is going to increase revenues and improve the experience.

Angry Birds - dead parrot

We have seen demand for Angry Birds tapering off as of late - the games are getting knocked off the #1 spot on app stores with a greater frequency; for all media, that's normally a sure sign that the market is at saturation point and brand fatigue is setting in.

The 6.5 million downloads Angry Birds got on Christmas Day is a stat; don’t believe in stats, believe in trends. My view is that Rovio is drinking too much from one well and needs to diversify.

Rovio has had three years to branch out into new IPs and has failed to do so. This leads me to believe that it needs to either act fast or be prepared to face the results. Guitar Hero is an example of too-limited diversification.

There is only one game that has been timeless and that's Tetris. Its success was mainly due to the fact that there were few alternative platforms - if any. The development community has grown incredibly well since then.

The key element in terms of the potential third party publishing is pretty straight forward. Despite the rumours, Rovio has never done so, it's not actually very popular in the industry.

This is mainly down to its CMO, the Mighty Eagle, who has alienated an incredible amount of developers in recent times and is casting himself as an expert whilst only being in the industry a short time and arriving after the success of Angry Birds.

I definitely think there will be a new king of the app store though, and that is the great news.

There are a ton of great games coming from freakishly good studios. For example, I believe that Limbic is one studio that has the potential and an eye for the user experience to create a monster hit.

Windows Phone - one small step

I love this platform, I advise all developers to embrace it with the love of a parent looking upon their newborn child.

The developer environment is as friendly as it gets. The new devices coming on down the pipeline are elegant, vibrant and dare I say cool to carry.

In terms of Windows Phone, my biggest prediction involves version 8 and not 7.

I firmly believe this will allow companies such as Unity and Epic to provide native support, which will open the flood gates to great content as it will greatly reduce the development costs of bringing games to the platform. The only question will be if those engines with want to support it?

However, I fully expect Windows Phone to grow stronger and stronger in 2012.

Apple - year for developers

Right now Apple is on the defensive, which is fine; it would be hard for it to be otherwise given its previous dominant position.

We will obviously see an iPhone 5 and perhaps an iPad 3 this year. Both of which will sport 4G – WiMax will not be supported, but rather LTE - there will be much more emphasis on the iCloud services with the new devices.

In addition, I believe that 2012 will see a much more developer friendly approach from the team at Apple, which has been typically a pretty hostile environment if the gods at Cupertino were displeased with you.

Android - pay up

Android will still continue to be a strong contender, but will remain less so with games. Intel (and its partners) will announce new devices that already look pretty exciting.

The key for Android is monetisation; right now, it's really hard to build a scalable business using Android.

It is incredibly important that Google tackles this issue and tackles it now. The platform has an appeal that is closely indexed to leprosy in terms of monetisation.

You can follow Kevin on Twitter.