I’ve never done this before, but let’s give it a shot. Here are some predictions for 2008:
- Neal Stephenson will announce a new novel, and it will feature a portion set in the U.S. Civil War era. It’s been around 3-4 years since his last novel (if you want to call the 2700 page Baroque Cycle a novel), and he seems to be putting out a new novel at about that rate. It may or may not feature distant relatives from the Shaftoe and Waterhouse families (along with the other legacies like Enoch Root, the von Hacklhebers, etc…). I have a specific reason for predictiing the 1860s setting, but I could be wrong. If the book is a continuation of the Cryptonomicon/Baroque Cycle series, then I’m much more certain about the setting. However, I seem to remember reading an interview where Stephenson said his next book won’t be a part of that series because he just needed to get away from those characters and themes for a while, certainly an understandable sentiment when you consider that he’s probably spent somewhere on the order of 10 years (and 3600-4000 pages) writing about them. However, if that’s the case, then I’m considerably less confident about the setting, though it’s still a possibility.
- The WGA strike will end or the writers will go back to work without a contract (this could happen if enough progress is made and the writers think it’s reasonable). Nevertheless, the strike will have lasted long enough that irreversable damage will be done to the industries affected. As a consumer, this probably won’t be so bad, as the vacuum will no doubt be filled with something interesting (probably something interactive, like video games or something like a real time internet video show. Or some combination of both.)
- Much to my disappointment, Sony’s Blu Ray will continue to gain ground in the HD format war and despite last ditch, desperate attempts to salvage their business during the 2008 holiday season, HD-DVD will be all but dead by the end of the year. Cheap players will continue to sell (they’re not worthless, as a cheap HD-DVD player will still upconvert regular DVDs – and their prices are honestly rather comparable), but that won’t mean much if there are no movies to buy in that format. I hope I’m wrong with this one, but I’m not betting on it…
- The use of DRM will decline in the music industry, but increase in the movie industry. This will be exacerbated by a decline in theater and DVD sales. Next year has a noticeable dearth of sure-fire blockbusters (the new Indy movie notwithstanding), and DVD sales will continue their slow decline (there are numerous reasons for this – people are becoming inured to the double dipping DVD release strategies, they already have their rainy day library built up enough, and a host of other reasons). As it stands now, Netflix isn’t able to do their watch online feature without using proprietary (MSIE only), annoying DRM, and other services are similarly hobbled. I agree with Fledge in that “The first company to let you click one button and download a movie – no frills, no subtitles, no disc extras, just the movie – directly to your DVD burner and stick that in your home theater DVD player is going to mint money, for themselves and for the movie studios.” Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening this year. I hope I’m wrong!
- Barack Obama will win the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. This is not an expression of my political preferences (i.e. it’s not a personal statement about Obama one way or the other), as I mostly burned myself out on politics a few months before the 2004 elections and haven’t paid much attention since. It’s just the vibe I’m getting.
Hmm, yeah, I really went out on a limb with these. I stink at this.