It's a little-known fact that the halls of GameSpot are filled with seers, soothsayers, and mystics of the highest order. They also play a lot of video games, so we got our team to use their all-seeing powers to look into the future and predict the biggest upcoming news stories for the games industry in the next 12 months. The below list of 10 possible future headlines are a mix of reasoned conjecture, thoughtful analysis, and flat-out speculation, so read on to see some of our editors' completely accurate, almost certain to happen predictions for 2014.
Fallout 4 will be confirmed - Justin Haywald
I admit that I was completely taken in by the Fallout 4 hoax earlier this year. But the reason so many like me were duped is that it's so easy to believe. The hoaxster was trying to get Bethesda to reveal its plans early, but merely dispelling a rumor doesn't mean there isn't some truth behind it. It has been almost four years since Fallout: New Vegas, the last game in the franchise, and we've heard convincing rumors that the next game is going to be set in Boston. We probably won't get a new Fallout this year, but there's a very good chance that we'll have solid details on what's going to happen in the nuclear wasteland by E3 2014.
Shenmue III will be unveiled - Peter Brown
It has been 12 years since the release of Shenmue II, and after years of crossing our fingers for another chapter in the life of arcade and forklift aficionado Ryo Hazuki, all signs point to a Shenmue III announcement in 2014. Shenmue visionary and legendary Sega developer Yu Suzuki will be giving a Shenmue postmortem at the Game Developers Conference in March, and Sega recently teased fans with screenshots from the mobile version of Sega All-Stars Racing, featuring Ryo driving vehicles with the license plate "SHEN3." If Sega doesn't make an announcement in the near future, it deserves a pat on the back for orchestrating one of the most convincing prank campaigns in recent memory.
AMD will exit/spin off its consumer CPU division - Mark Walton
A September quarterly profit of $48 million and a small bump in share price (largely thanks to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4) might make 2013 not seem so bad for AMD. But this was also the year the chipmaker reported quarterly losses upward of $146 million, and sold off its Austin-based HQ just to raise some cash. And with the PC market on the decline, its share of 15.8 percent is rapidly becoming less valuable. It's just hard to see where AMD fits into the market. Intel outpaces it in the performance and low-power markets, while ARM has a stranglehold over everything mobile. Its upcoming low-power chip Mullins might have resulted in some impressively thin PCs at this year's CES, but if its previous low-power chips Kabani and Temash are anything to go by, take up from device manufacturers will be minimal at best.
With AMD's workforce already slashed, and its fabrication facilities sold off, there's not much room for more cost cutting. Indeed, 2014 may be the year that AMD exits the consumer CPU market entirely (or spins it off as a separate entity) and instead focuses on specialty chip designs like those in the PS4 and Xbox One, and its more successful graphics chips. Less competition is never a good thing for consumers, particularly those on the hunt for a bargain. But if AMD is to survive, cutting its losses and focusing on its more profitable businesses may be its best chance at survival.
VR support will be announced for the PS4/Xbox One - Mark Walton
There has been buzz around the Oculus Rift since it raised a cool $2.4 million via Kickstarter back in 2012. While consumers haven't been able to get their hands on one so far, it's likely to hit retail at some point this year. With backing from the likes of industry luminaries Gabe Newell and John Carmack, plus updates like the X/Y positional tracking unveiled in the Crystal Cove version at this year's CES, there's every indication that the Rift is finally going to make VR an enticing proposition. When it does, expect the console makers to take notice.
Currently, the Oculus Rift supports only PCs and mobile devices, but if there's enough demand for such a product (and when people get to try this thing out, I think there will be), Sony and Microsoft will jump on board. Indeed, Sony already makes its own range of VR headsets aimed at re-creating the theater experience at home, the latest of which was unveiled at CES too; it's just one step away from the company making a headset specifically for the PlayStation 4.
There's less indication that Microsoft is working on its own VR headset, but the company isn't one to ignore a consumer trend when it sees one, Kinect being the prime example. Whether that means developing its own headset or simply introducing Oculus Rift compatibility remains to be seen. But by the end of the year, I wouldn't be surprised to see Sony and Microsoft extolling the virtues of VR just as much as the Oculus folks are.
Grand Theft Auto V comes to PC...and PlayStation 4/Xbox One - Justin Haywald
GTAV is going to come to the PC this year. More than 650,000 gamers petitioned Rockstar last year to bring its open-world blockbuster to the PC, and chipmaker Intel said, "I don't think it'll be console-exclusive very long. But that's what happens when you have a brand-new launch with two companies that have lots of money trying to make sure they have content." The rumors are pointing to an early 2014 release, but one thing no one has been talking about is bringing the game over to next-gen. Since Xbox One and PS4 development resembles PC development more closely than the previous generations, it's not too far-fetched to think the game could also get a graphically updated port for Microsoft's and Sony's consoles. GTAV is already one of the most successful entertainment properties of all time, with sales that broke seven Guinness world records. So not being released to as many properties as possible would just seem to be leaving money on the table.
Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain won't be released in 2014 - Randolph Ramsay
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes--the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue-like extended demo of the next Metal Gear Solid--is confirmed for release in March this year. But Ground Zeroes is merely the entree to the full banquet that will be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And frankly, there's a huge question mark about when exactly The Phantom Pain will see the light of day. After all, the game by all accounts is hugely ambitious, much larger than what we'll see in Ground Zeroes, and will be by far the most expansive and intricate in the long-running series. And consider this quote from Hideo Kojima himself, who recently said that Phantom Pain has "enormous volume" and would not be finished for some time. To me, that's code for "don't expect it this year."
A "3DS Lite" will be announced - Shaun McInnis
Game Boy Advance. Game Boy Advance SP. Game Boy Advance Micro. DS. DS Lite. DSi. See a pattern? Yes, Nintendo loves its hardware revisions, especially when it comes to handheld systems. That's why we wouldn't be surprised to see yet another iteration of the 3DS hardware design at some point this year. But the question is, what type of design will it be?
Let's look at the current lineup. The 3DS XL still carries a certain novelty with its big, inviting screen, and the 2DS makes sense as a budget-friendly alternative for parents buying a system for their kids. But what about the original 3DS? Now three years old, the original 3DS is still sitting on store shelves with all the little flaws it launched with back in 2011. It's a great device, but let's face it: the ergonomics and battery life on this thing have never been all that great. So isn't it about time we see a sort of 3DS Lite, a revised version of that original system with an improved form factor and increased battery performance? Sure, there's a bit of wishful thinking at play here, but you can't blame us for hoping.
Android consoles will die a slow death - Mark Walton
I'll admit I got sucked into the hype about Android consoles as much as the many thousands who donated to Ouya's Kickstarter page. But after almost a year on the market, consoles like the Ouya and the GameStick have been met with little more than a shrug. It's not hard to see why, either. For all the promise of cheap console gaming that the Android consoles offered, there's little on them that's actually worth playing, or that's made significantly better by a big TV and a control pad. There's simply little incentive for developers to create a game specifically for Android consoles when most users are going to be playing directly on a phone or tablet. Besides, if you really want to play your favorite Android games on a TV, it's easier and cheaper just to hook up your existing device to your TV with an HDMI cable and a Bluetooth controller. There will always be a niche audience for such devices, particularly for the emulator crowd, and Nvidia's Shield offers something a little different with its ability to stream PC games to it. But a revolution in gaming? Not a chance.
Half Life 3 will be confirmed - Justin Haywald
I know Half-Life 3 is in development. You know Half-Life 3 is in development. Sometimes it seems like the only one who wants to pretend it doesn't exist is Valve. But with the upcoming release of the Steam machines and Steam OS, what better time is there for Valve to finally start talking about the most anticipated game of the last five years? We've been expecting a sequel to Half-Life 2: Episode 2 since back in 2007, and there was even conjecture that Episode 3 would come out by 2010 at the latest. At this point, Valve will likely cut out the episodic angle and go straight for a numbered sequel. But will the game tie in to the expanded universe charted in Portal, or will we only get cameos and in-game nods to everything that happened over at Aperture Laboratories?
The Last Guardian will become a PS4 game - Randolph Ramsay
Oh The Last Guardian, where art thou? The last time we officially heard about you, it was when your creator, Fumito Ueda, apologized for the lengthy wait fans have had to endure. Given that The Last Guardian was first announced in 2009, that's an extremely long wait for those eager to get their hands on the next game from the makers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida last year confirmed that the game was undergoing some "reengineering" but didn't confirm what console it would come out on. Is it still scheduled for the PlayStation 3? As the months tick on with no confirmation of a release date, it's becoming more probable that it won't be Sony's last-gen machine that gets The Last Guardian.
Will any of the above predictions come true in 2014? What other outlandish things are you predicting will happen this year? Sound off in the comments below!