As the world celebrates the coming of 2014 I’m going to kick off the year with a number of technology, video game and anime related predictions. I played it fairly safe last year so I’m more than willing to be a little bolder this year. Only time will tell if my predictions are spot-on, slightly off or way out there in left field. On December 31 I’ll revisit my predictions to see if my crystal ball led me astray or not. Now, let’s get to those predictions:
Nintendo Finally Sees Strong Wii U Sales:
The gaming world loves to beat up on Nintendo’s first HD console. Sure, the little console may be down with poor to mediocre sales but it certainly isn’t out. I’m going to boldly predict 2014 marks the start of a turnaround for the Wii U. Nintendo finally gets it together with a strong advertising campaign to differentiate the new console from its predecessor. Additionally, strong first party titles such as the new Smash Bros and Hyrule Warriors lead to a surge in sales. While I’m at it, I also predict Nintendo will reveal release dates for Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei, X and the next console Zelda at E3.
PlayStation 4 Sales Will be Sluggish in Japan:
There’s a reason why the PS4 is releasing in Japan months after the West gets it, console sales in the Land of the Rising Sun just aren’t what they used to be. Last year it was huge news when the 3DS over took the PS3 in terms of lifetime sales in Japan. When that news was announced the PS3 had sold 70 million units worldwide in its lifetime and only 8 million of those units were in Japan. I predict the PS4 will do a little bit better than its predecessor but it won’t break sales figure records. Why? Because it’s hard to get a nation that games while commuting in front of the TV. Also, the majority of must-have titles will be for handhelds or the PS3.
Microconsoles Bite the Dust:
Android powered consoles like the Ouya, Nvidia Shield and Madcatz Mojo promised to set the gaming world on fire before they were released. Why would there be any reason to doubt those companies? Gaming in mobile sphere is on fire right now, Android devices are everywhere and gamers like new gadgets. Unfortunately with the exception of a few faithful gamers in the know these devices have gained almost no traction with the public. Sure a few thousand units may have been sold but everyone’s focused on the newest generation of consoles. Those who want to play Android or iOS games will stick to their phones or tablets. I predict no one will even bother with the Mojo, the Ouya will fade into the sunset and the Shield will be shelved when Valve’s Steam Machines officially hit the market.
Google Glass and Smartwatches Will Be All the Rage:
Right Google Glass is a difficult commodity to obtain. The tech goggles aren’t readily sold to the public (though they can be acquired on eBay) and are pricey at $1500. I predict the tech giant will release a cheaper version of Google Glass to the public although initial adoption rates will be modest. Additionally, Apple will show Samsung how smartwatches are properly made when it releases the long awaited iWatch. Samsung will then revise its Galaxy Gear line making it a proper competitor to Apple’s offerings– after the two tech titans slog it out in court. To make things more interesting Google will release a Nexus branded smartwatch just for the hell of it.
Crunchyroll Manga Really Takes Off:
After gaining a prominent place in legal anime simulcasts Crunchyroll turned to legal manga subscriptions. With the exception of Viz Media, most attempts at legal subscriptions have gone almost nowhere. In 2014 I’m certain Crunchyroll will show everyone how business is done thanks to their compelling lineup of titles being offered at an attractive price point (either free with ads or $4.99 per month). In turn more manga publishers will trust their products with the company (if they’re not really involved with Viz) and the service will flourish. By the end of the year people will slowly begin to forget how they acquired the newest chapters of major manga series without services like Crunchyroll.
The Worldwide Broadcast Premier of Space Dandy Kicks Off More Simultaneous Anime Broadcasts:
Space Dandy marks the first time an anime has been broadcast worldwide on TV in decades. The project will be difficult but will ultimately pay off for Adult Swim, FUNimation and Bandai Visual. The project will be successful enough to ensure that at least one show per year is broadcast worldwide during its initial premier. By the year’s end we’ll hear of a similar project for 2015.