"The future of console gaming will be on one platform."
Nope, totally disagree. I subscribe to "the future of gaming will be in the cloud" philosophy. I have two friends in the trade who I'll call out for this position: One is an executive at a major telco, the other at a major tech/networking company. Both are Fortune 500 executives, have been around for a while and are among the brighter lights in the business. Their company's future as it relates to the medium is built entirely around my belief being true. It's stakeholders like that, and few - if any - in the "one platform per child" camp, that make it good business, personal preferences aside. Cloud computing and network gaming - on ubiquitous devices - will be how we play games in the future. Hell, you couldn't predict what a cable box would look like or serve, in terms of functionality, seven years ago. How could you, with any certainty, assume that there'll be only one box? My bet is, again, that publishers and developers will continue to create and sell games on any device that they can - as evidenced by the sustained popularity of mobile gaming. The cooler that mobile devices get, the more faith I have in their ability to truly be on par with the consoles and desktop PCs.
"The publishing landscape won't change. Developers will be stuck as second-class citizens in forced deference to publishers."
Not to be a contrarian throughout the column, but I respectfully disagree. I think that we're heading for far more consolidation, in both the publishing and development communities. I'd go so far as to say that we'll be three major publishers less by this time next year. And as for developers, they'll likely continue to coalesce into more formidable entities with more business savvy than ever. So, two things that will get me into a lot of trouble: Most publishers play too fast and loose with their business, betting on a hit-to-miss ratio that's unsustainable in the long term. Many of them treat developers like cogs in the wheel, rather than the amazing talent that they are.
That said, developers too often aspire to be CEOs and convince themselves that they have the acumen to handle it. They rarely do. Great developers are great artists, not suits. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but by and large rising developers would do far better to hire an experienced executive team and check their egos at the door. That, or merge with equally talented, like-minded firms where they should still hire the aforementioned suits. I foresee the consolidation in our business similar to that of the film industry. Several publishers will percolate up to be "the majors," a few will be "mini majors" and specialize in niche markets and genres, and there'll be a whole culture of indie developers - far more robust than today's landscape - many of whom will be inspired to their careers by user-created content. Timeline for paradigm shift: three to five years.