As 2010 comes to a close, many gamers will be looking on the year that delivered stellar titles like Halo: Reach, Red Dead Redemption, and Mass Effect 2 as one of the best for gaming ever. Content-wise the year might have been plentiful, but in terms of sales 2010 was down 4 percent from 2009’s figures for hardware, software, and accessories. Luckily, Reuters is reporting that many analysts are predicting a great year for gaming in 2011.

There are many factors that are going to impact 2011 in a big way, but the one that will probably have the widest reach are social media games. Zynga, the company that developed the huge hit FarmVille, has learned a lot from this past year’s experiences and plans to use all of that knowledge in order to create more engaging games. The addictive nature of these types of titles has just about lost its effect, so choosing to reinvigorate the millions of Facebook members out there should be quite the challenge.

One area in which 2011 will improve is in how console-centric gamers will have grown familiar with micro-transactions. DLC episodes and full downloadable titles enjoyed a fantastic year in 2010, especially with Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade. If other companies can put out solid content on a regular basis, then gamers will be able to enjoy comparable experiences at a lower price.

DLC has always been the best way for developers to keep a game’s experience going (and profits rising), but it wasn’t until late in 2010 that many lesser-known titles also began jumping on the bandwagon. If gamers can expect at least one piece of DLC for each of their purchaes, it would make a shorter game seem much more promising.

Probably the least popular waves coming 2011, but also potentially the most lucrative in 2011 is going to be the 3D craze. With both the 3DS seeing release, and more and more Xbox and PS3 games that utilize the tech, there will be a lot of money spent over the next year on 3D. Titles like Killzone 3 might not convince a vast majority of gamers to pick up 3DTVs, but for that minority there will be a lot of money spent.

Are you surprised to hear that 2010 was a less profitable year than 2009? Where do you plan to sink your money and time next year: social media games, DLC, consoles, or 3DTVs?

No matter what ends up happening, with all of the top tier titles set for a 2011 release it’s sure to be a great year. Game Rant recommends gamers start saving now.

Source: Reuters

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