The next Xbox, huge smartphones and more gaming predictions for 2013

Sections: Consoles, Consoles-Other, Features, Game-Companies, Handhelds, Opinions, PCs, PS3, Vita

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Now that 2013 is here, it’s time to start making some predictions on where the video game industry is headed. Every year has its share of trends, and this year will be no different. I expect console reveals, vastly improved mobile games and a possible major advancement in PC gaming. Let’s get to it.

The Next Console Generation

Much like my fellow editor, I believe Microsoft will reveal the successor to the Xbox 360 during its E3 2013 press conference. We’re going to see a line of popular developers and publishers walking on stage to talk about how great of a machine it is. Microsoft probably won’t dedicate itself to a solid release date for the next Xbox, but holiday 2013 is a safe bet.

Unlike my fellow editor, I don’t think Sony will go head to head with Microsoft with console announcements this year. I think we’ll hear more solid information about the next PlayStation, but nothing to the extent of the new Xbox. Sony is going to use 2013 to give the PS3 one final push before it starts marketing the next PlayStation in 2014. I’m also expecting a PS3 and Vita price cut in 2013 along with some significant software discounts. Also, PlayStation Move will die. Sony won’t say this publicly but it’s the end of the line for that accessory.

Nintendo definitely won’t have anything new as far as hardware is concerned. Nintendo’s online service will get gradually better for sure.

Big Smartphones, Bigger Games

Last year, the big thing with smartphones were processors. Quad-core chips from Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung were used to make each supported smartphone seem like the most powerful device ever created. These processors helped make smartphone and tablet games look very good graphically (Infinity Blade 2, Dead Trigger), but the quality of the displays on mobile devices also contributed to this revolution. In 2013, smartphone and tablet makers are going to be pushing high definition displays. At CES next week, we’re going to see phones with 1080p displays. Smartphone screen sizes are also getting bigger thanks to the success of the Galaxy Note series. Huawei is even going to show off a phone with a 6.1-inch display. When you combine strong processors and HD displays, you’re going to see higher quality games pop up as a result.

Picking Up Steam

It’s only a matter of time before Valve gets into the hardware business. I’m not totally convinced the fabled Steam box will be available to buy, but we’ll definitely here more on the matter. Valve’s creation of Big Picture mode on Steam, Steam Greenlight and its entry into the non-gaming app market are just small steps towards hardware creation. The ecosystem and users are already there. The only thing missing is an official device to support it. I’d imagine Valve will tap a specific company to make its console instead of doing everything in-house. This mystery company will already have the supply chain connections and logistics to produce hardware on a mass level. Valve could very well become the Google of gaming.

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