I was going to do a whole bit about PREDICT-O-TRON 13® being a prediction-making robot. It wasn’t funny. Consider yourself “spared.”
You can thank me later.
Without further ado, here are my predictions for 2013 in no particular order of chronology or import.
Original Content from Video Streaming Services Makes Impact of Some Sort
Boldly stated, no?
Netflix and Hulu have been providing their own content for a while but Netflix seems to be trying to elevate their current offerings with its new drama, House of Cards and the resurrection of fan-favorite Arrested Development. I’m hedging a bit here because I think success or failure have some very different outcomes.
Netflix is releasing both of these shows in their entirety a significant departure from the traditional slow-drip release of television. It makes sense for Netflix: they’re not dependent on recurring ad-revenue and any subscribers they’re likely to gain from the release of this content are likely to wait until the show is complete to sign up for the service for a month and end their subscription when they finish. Offering a show in its entirety is a good way to slake the thirst of an impatient audience and may win subscribers who are tired of the cable model. A major win with these two shows could have a snowball effect for Netflix: more subscribers to provide more content, etc.
On the other hand, both shows could flop. I love Arrested Development but I’m not entirely certain that it’s a show that will swell the Netflix subscriber numbers. House of Cards looks to be a solid drama but is going to need a lot of buzz to get the curious to sign up. In other words, it needs to be damned good to keep the rubberneckers eyes glued to Netflix.
The Demise of Phone Subsidies and the Two-Year Contract
This trend has its roots in 2012: first with the unlocked Nexus 4 selling for $299.99 and later with T-Mobile announcing they would offer financing on phones for their customers. I’m guessing that 2013 will see more middle-to-high-end phones like the Nexus 4 moving down in price and mobile customers opting for the unlocked mid-range phone for $199-$299 and no contract. I’m really going to go out on a limb and say that in 2013 Apple will release the iPhone 5S, lower the price of the unsubsidized 4S to $199 and make the subsidized iPhone 5 $99.
New Consoles from Microsoft and Sony
I think the most surprising thing here will be how thoroughly underwhelming the ‘next generation’ will feel. Expect a lot of fancy screenshots and talk about ‘integration’ but little in the way of tangible evolution of gaming. That’s always the way console launches go but I doubt there will be an appreciable difference in graphical output for the masses to get very excited. I do expect Microsoft to marry Xbox Live and Windows 8/Surface in some meaningful way (console-to-PC streaming perhaps?)
If you’re looking for waves in console gaming, I suspect it will come from Valve. Though probably not this year.
People Will Start to Pay Attention to Privacy Policies
Ha ha ha … whooo … alright, I’m done laughing. Whoo boy. Who am I kidding? Privacy still won’t be a ‘big issue’ in 2013 and probably won’t be until Facebook does something so flagrantly icky that heads can’t help but turn.