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Looking Back and Looking Ahead – the Game Industry Weighs in on 2013 and 2014

We cast our inquiries far and wide in search of opinions about 2013 and 2014.  Respondents were asked two questions:

1. What was the highlight of the past year in gaming for you?

2. What do you think will be the biggest news in gaming in 2014?

We put no other constraints on them for subject matter, self-promotion, or response length.  As you can imagine, we got a wide array of responses.

Mark H Walker, Designer, Lock’n’Load Publishing

2013 – Seeing the explosion of new titles on Kickstarter. Probably the best non-LNLP game that I played was Band of Brothers, but Legendary and Sentinels of the Multiverse were a close second.

2014 – Big deal of next year will be Golem Arcana. It looks to seamlessly meld board and digital. That and the importance of Kindle Direct Publishing as Indy authors continue to erode the market share of the traditional publishers.

Tim Van der Moer, CEO, The Lordz Games Studio

2013 – For me number one has been getting the Panzer Corps series out on iPad. On big games, I really enjoyed GTA V  and Assassins Creed Black Flag.

2014 – Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon cross platform will be our big highlight for sure. On traditional videogames, I am really curious to see how the Xbox One will evolve into a cross media entertainment system.

Matthew B. Caffrey Jr, Command Lead, AF Future Capabilities Game

2013 –  The first Connections UK. Run in the UK by British wargames Connections UK extends Connections mission to advance and sustain the Art, science and application of wargaming to the UK and Europe. As it is less costly in time and money for Europeans to get to the UK 75 individuals from about a dozen countries participated at Kings College London.

2014 –  If it is pulled off, the first Connections Australia.

Brian Train, Game Designer

2013 – My personal highlight in gaming was seeing A Distant Plain roll out. In less than 18 months, Volko Ruhnke and I went from “hey, we should do this” to a beautifully produced, challenging wargame on a very contemporary subject.

2014 – I think the next Big News thing will be wargames produced for tablets (iPads and so forth). No idea how many will actually be produced, or if they will be any good, but people will be talking about them. I won’t be programming any of them, but at least for now they will be ports of manual (board) games, so there’s opportunity there for all of us.

Brant Guillory, GrogDude

2013 – The highlight of this past year in wargaming seems to be a return to hardcore map-driven top-down wargaming in both the tabletop and computer-driven worlds.  We saw Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations, Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm, and Commander – The Great War all drop for the PC, and on the tabletop, games like Nations At War: Desert Heat, The Supreme Commander, and War of the Suns have all returned to wargaming’s “roots” and stepped away from the gimmicks of cards, blocks, euro-bits, and other bits stolen from elsewhere in the gaming world, and gotten back to straight up ‘shoot-and-move’ dice-slinging, enemy-hunting wargaming.

2014 – I think as developers get more and more comfortable with the types of user interfaces that can be used on mobile devices, we’ll see more games ported to those devices.  How much innovation we will see in “mobile gaming” is up for debate, but I do think we’ll see an increase in the games you can play on your phone or tablet, because now that the ecosystem is there to make money, game designers (and aspiring designers) would be foolish not to leverage it.

James Sterrett, Reigning Kansas State Cliff-Diving Champion

2013 –  “The” highlight is playing games with my son – Civ V, Torchlight II, Conflict of Heroes, Chess, Go, and a few others.

2014 –  Going out on a limb: John Carmack seriously optimizes the Oculus Rift motion to display rendering pipeline, gets its pixel count into modern ranges, and renders our monitors obsolete.  (Oculus-induced neck-strain makes a lot of physical therapists very wealthy.)

Jim Snyder, Developer, On-Target Simulations

2013 –  Top of the 2013 list for me was finally getting Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm out and seeing how well received it has been. It’s not perfect, but I think we did a number of things right and we are working pretty much every day in some fashion to fix bug, add features and inject new content as we get ready to launch off into 2.1 development for late 2014.

2014 –  I think we will be shocked early in 2014 with the replacing of touch and visual game interfaces with the far superior olfactory sensing systems. By both sniffing game generated smells and by emitting your own you will have total control over games. We will at long last be able to smell the fear of our FPS opponents. To be more realistic and hopeful, I believe we will start to see the decline of the tablet games in a fashion as to the massive drop off of browser games in the past couple years. I think more and more gamers are going to seek out substance over flash. I wouldn’t throw out those computer systems just yet.

Bud Sauer, Primary Online Cheerleader, Columbus Area Boardgaming Society

2013 – For us in Columbus, Origins , Buckeye Game Fest and CABS (Columbus Area Boardgaming Society) tabletop boardgaming is setting records. The number of games being released, the press they are receiving in the “regular” papers, and the new gamers being attracted to “hobby” gaming is at all-time highs.  With the Board Room at Origins having 1500 attendees, the BGF 500+ and for CABS to have 400+ members and having 6000+ attending our events it has been an incredible year in gaming in Columbus.  The drawback is that traditional board wargaming is declining as the age of the traditional wargamers get older. We have seen some coming back into the hobby. We are going to try WARGAMER RALLY POINTS in 2014 to try to “reclaim” the wargamer.

2014 – going to be awesome !!!

Erik Rutins, Production Director, Matrix Games

2013 -The highlights for me this year were going to Historicon with our staff and many of our great developers, as well as all the great games I had the privilege to work on.

2014 – For next year, we have more exciting releases in the works than ever and some are not even announced. Looking from the inside, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about our upcoming release schedule, but I can’t possibly pick just one as the highlight now

John Kranz, Owner, ConSimWorld.com

2013 – My gaming highlight is always the same and it isn’t meant to be self-serving. It’s CSW Expo event. I can’t top any gaming experience which involves 250+ like minded attendees coming together to celebrate the hobby!

2014 – The increasing adoption of Kickstarter being adopted more and more as a crowd funding source by game publishers.

AJ Paratore, Team Hull Breach

2013 –  in my incredibly biased opinion, the most important gaming event for us was receiving Hull Breach from the manufacturer a few days ago

2014 –  I’d keep a close eye on the company Greenbrier Games (Zpocalypse and Ninja Dice)

Grant Dalgliesh, Columbia Games

2013 – Columbia Games highlight of the year was the exciting Kickstarter campaign for Napoleon this spring. The game was successfully launched in the summer and we still have exciting plans to go on a tour of the Waterloo battlefield in summer 2015 with nearly 50 gamers.

Paul Vebber, Wargaming Practitioner at a Government Agency We’re Not Allowed to Name and Webmaster for Wargaming Connection

2013 – Connections has been the gaming highlight of the last few years. The energy there is always amazing. You have done a great job communicating it.

2014 – The big news in gaming next year will be the “critical mass” of tablet strategy games (both Euro-style and traditional wargame titles) that I think will be reached. There are a number of companies that have offerings in the pipeline and I think the power of tablets is sufficient to run more than just Angry Birds.

As display technology costs go down, we are getting closer to the day when “tablets + big display” (Wii U kinda sorta goes there…) will be a viable niche platform. There are a couple REALLY niche suppliers (like Geek Chic) of “virtual game table” technology, put its probably about 5 years from 50in capacitive touch screen (and perhaps a kineq-style sensor for actually moving miniatures around on it…), with a cpu that can link to multiple tablets will get to the “XBOX + HD monitor” price point.

Volkho Runkhe, Game Designer

2013 – Andean Abyss winning a Charlie.

2014 – What COIN Series design will follow Fire in the Lake?

Iain McNeil, Development Director, Slitherine Group

2013 – On a personal level the only game I put significant time in to that was not work related was Civ V and I really enjoyed it. From a work pioint of view the two highlights were Pandora First Contact and Panzer Corps iPad releases.

2014 – In wargaming I think it’s going to be the steady increase in complexity and sophistication of tablet wargames. For the wider games market I couldn’t really care less! 😉

Craig Robertson, Chief Game Developer, 1A Games

2013 –  My favorite part of 2013 was opening up the proof copy of the Tide of Iron Stalingrad campaign expansion and being able to point to full-page examples of play that I had written. As my colleagues at 1A Games can attest, I looked like a total dork that day.

2014 –  Besides Tide of Iron finally going to the Pacific Theater, I am most looking forward to the Car Wars Kickstarter. Come on, Phil Reed! Haven’t we waited long enough?


What do you think? What was your highlight of 2013? What’s the big story going to be in 2014?

Tell us in our forums! >>

2 Responses to Looking Back and Looking Ahead – the Game Industry Weighs in on 2013 and 2014

  1. Christopher Weuve says:

    2013: CONNECTIONS, as always, was a highpoint. Also — the new OGRE, which comes in a box the size of a small car.

    2014: The continued us of Kickstarter as sort of a super-P500 mechanism.

  2. Michael Rinella says:

    2013: the release of the first game by Take Aim Designs (co-published with Revolution Games) – Operation Battleaxe: Wavell vs. Rommel, 1941

    2014: the Kickstarter bubble bursting as the hype does not performance.

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