I think 2012 is going to be somewhat of a down year for MMOs. Sure, we're probably going to see a couple of noteworthy launches (The Secret World, TERA, possibly/hopefully Guild Wars 2 and ArcheAge), but I think we're also going to see the market bottom out a little bit.
We saw the beginnings of this in 2011 with several game closures and significant downsizings at various studios (both shovelware outfits and traditional powerhouses). The U.S. and world economies aren't improving, and the gaming market seems over-saturated, particularly the MMO portion of it. Even if every man, woman, and child on this planet had reliable internet access and a computer, there are simply too many games and not enough paying gamers to support them all.
Some developers will continue to explore the browser/mobile space because these sorts of titles are much cheaper to produce, but this will ultimately lead to more junk, and I think we'll start to see a culling of the herd.
Want more staff predictions for 2012? Pick a writer below: