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Massively's MMO predictions for 2012: Shawn Schuster

Shawn Schuster

Guild Wars 2 will launch on the 7th anniversary of Guild Wars 1 (April 28th, 2012) with just under one million players. Everyone will then claim that he's always been a huge fan of the original Guild Wars, and major gaming news sites that now ignore the fantasy title will change their tune when they see how wildly successful Guild Wars 2 has become.

Casual gaming will continue to rise in popularity, but not through Facebook. Mobile gaming will dominate 2012 as the acceptance of "old school" graphics used by the likes of Minecraft and Terraria prove that we don't need ultra-realism or expensive video cards to have fun. Going hand in hand with this, Richard Garriott's Ultimate RPG plans will hopefully have more to do with bringing Ultima Online to mobile devices and less to do with making another FarmVille. That's not a prediction, just a dream.

MOBAs will continue to come out of nowhere and they'll continue to be successful, but by 2013, people will be bored of them.

RIFT will regret its public proclamations against F2P and fall behind the curve as a result.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will plateau in 2012 but maintain a healthy playerbase for many years. It will soon replace World of Warcraft as the game that everyone goes back to after trying new games for a month. That's not to say it will ever be the "WoW-killer," but it will become a security blanket over the years.

Every remaining SOE subscription game will go free-to-play, and PlanetSide 2 will knock our socks off... possibly not until 2013, but I have my fingers crossed for 2012.

World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria will mark the last straw for die-hard WoW fans who will turn away from the game in droves.

The heavy hitters of the year will be Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, PlanetSide 2, and continued success for SWTOR. We will see several game closures, including Warhammer Online, Anarchy Online, and a few we just plain forgot about until we hear of their closure. As much as its end is predicted by many, I don't think SOE will shut down Vanguard so soon after Star Wars Galaxies' demise. But I do think it will go free-to-play in 2012.

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