GamersFirst's predictions for the video games industry in 2011

While end-of-the-year predictions are quite commonplace amongst game industry bloggers and journalists, it's a bit rarer to see prognostications coming from game-makers and executives. GamersFirst bucks that trend with a press release outlining its forecast for online gaming in 2011. Unsurprisingly, the free-to-play publisher sees its preferred business model "taking over the video game market," as well as a massive shift to mobile gaming and digital distribution.

Closer to home, GamersFirst senior vice president Rahul Sandil says that 2011 will be a banner year for the company that recently acquired 9Dragons and APB. "We are poised to make noteworthy contributions to the future of F2P online games. We look forward to expanding client-based and web browser F2P MMOs throughout Turkey, Europe, South and North America," he says.

Check out the full list of GamersFirst industry predictions after the break.

GamersFirst 2011 Video Game Trends:
  • Free2Play MMO's take over the video game market – Free2Play MMO's have gained the largest momentum in the video games market in the past year. According to a DFC report Free2Play MMO games are growing at 35% per annum. We believe that MMO's will overwhelm the video game market in 2011. Gamers will have more MMO's than ever to choose from, giving players a variety of games and publishers the biggest marketing challenge. Overall, there will be an MMO catering to each niche of gamer very soon.
  • Free2Play becomes a hub for AAA Titles – After a year of significant Pay2Play to Free2Play transitions from some of the largest video game companies, Free2Play online games are finally seeing AAA status. Competitive AAA titles in the Free2Play genre will emerge. Gamers will be enticed away from the subscription and box models and the status of online video games will experience a drastic shift in business model and revenues.
  • Hard Core Games Move to Mobile Devices – With iPads and Smartphones (getting smarter), gaming will become a thing of the mobile device. Now with mobile Internet users' approaching 80 per cent of all Internet users there has been significant growth in the U.S., Europe and Russia. Despite the fizzle of the mobile games hype, gaming has already showed tremendous promise through its drastic growth of social network usage over the past year. Mobile applications will reflect a distinct rise in gaming, using it as an additional tool of communication and collaboration between social networks, through a mobile device.
  • Security Lockdown for MMO's – Not only have we seen some major steps in the industry regarding online video game security, but GamersFirst has implemented drastic measures to enforce anti-hacking and discourage malevolent behavior throughout online MMO's. The industry has changed its attitude and slowly shifted into a proactive position to protect its games and gamers from attacks. With improved security tools and software, the online video game industry will see a distinct change in the way security is approached in 2011. In the past year, GamersFirst shutdown more than 300 private servers and launched a global team to enforce anti-hacking within the organization. Although it is very difficult to remove all online security risks, these enhanced security measures will help to create a safer online experience for gamers.
  • Digital Distribution is the new box – With many retail outlets showing poor 2010 results, distribution options have begun to diversify. With the Internet as the most prominent communication method and physical distribution is becoming a thing of the past. In the next year (2011), the video games industry will see the wide-spread adoption of digital distribution; allowing companies quicker access to gamers and the opportunity for new marketing methods including the use of social networks.
  • Democratization of online games – with new publisher startups and small independent development studios popping up all over the globe, gamers will have more choices (or more confusion) than ever. Niche games will become popular. Blockbuster online games will become a dime a dozen, making it critical for game publishers to choose strong titles in 2011. A publisher's size will become increasingly irrelevant to the success of the game.

This article was originally published on Massively.