According to Reuters, 2011 will be the year of the casual, mobile based video game. Video game sales were down four percent from 2009 level, but social, Facebook games and iPhone and iPad titles are expected to make up for the less-than-stellar sales levels in 2011. Industry insiders expect new revenue for gaming in the form of "downloadable content, mobile games, and in-game micro-transactions."
While you can't argue with the proven success of Farmville (and those ubiquitous other "'Villes") and mobile games like Infinity Blade and Angry Birds, I wonder how long it will be before more the "casual" market demands more in-depth content. I tried to play a little CityVille not long ago, and was struck by the possibilities of Facebook gaming, and how poorly that particular title realizes that potential. What could have been a compelling city-sim is quickly revealed to be an advertisement for itself, a pointless time-sink and an overall annoyance.
Since it's nearly 2011, let's look ahead. I predict that someone will "crack" the divide between casual and 'core gaming in 2011. The right title could easily bridge the divide and provide casual players with the insta-gratification they demand while simultaneously delivering a deeper experience to those gamers looking forward to it. I'm not sure what that title will be, but consider the prediction made.