Yep, Gamasutra has posted part III of Pascal Luban’s series on “Gaming Megatrends”, looking mainly at online gaming. I’m not going to mention all of them, but there are a few I must comment on.

First is “New needs in quality control”. You know, buggy releases, especially in MP games. He writes: “The need for extensive testing and playtesting will increase as publishers will be compelled by the market to release impeccable products.”

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Sorry, I had a moment of hysterical laughter. Compelled by the market? Does he really believe that? The bug-infested release requiring a day 1 patch is old, old, old. And it isn’t changing any time soon.

By now, players pretty much expect to need a patch after buying a game. They don’t like it, they may complain – and complain loudly – but that doesn’t stop them from shelling out their money for a title they want.

And so long as players are going to jump on new releases immediately, they are going to receive buggy games that require early patches. That is as true for MMOGs as it is for single-player games.

Of course, we’d love to have games released in clean condition. But with rare exceptions, that just isn’t going to happen. The “rush to market and patch later” mentality is firmly rooted in the game industry. Thanks mostly to players who can’t wait to get the next “hot product”.

Next is “Development of cooperative games”, where people play together as a team, rather than in PvP contention. Well, maybe. He believes that veteran players, familiar with a game, are simply too much for the novice in PvP mode.

That’s certainly true. And it’s also true there are people who prefer to play with, rather than against, others. On the other hand, there is a significant number of gamers who prefer PvP over PvE (E for enemies, meaning “monsters”).

What I think may happen is that we’ll see more of co-op play in the “one team vs. another” mode. Something like the WoW raids, only against another bunch of players instead of monsters.

And the last one, “Development of online gaming on consoles”. Pascal thinks that the future is consoles: “Consoles are likely to become the leading platforms for multiplayer gaming as we know it today. The PC will probably cease to be the main platform for hardcore multiplayer gaming, as it becomes an important one for casual and social gaming.”

That one, well, that one is iffy. There are certainly too many consoles (in the aggregate) out there to ignore. Both the Xbox and the PS have their own gaming networks already. But for hardcore gaming? I’m not so sure.

I haven’t any doubts that we’ll see some hardcore MMOGs for consoles. But will they succeed? The MP environment is no easy one, as we’ve seen from the many failures already, of which Tabula Rasa was only the latest.

That’s my take on Pascal’s “megatrends”. Read the article, and see what you think.

Gaming Megatrends Part III on gamasutra