3-4 years ago, facebook was slowly taking over the world, few companies recognized that fact and started developing entertainment applications on the platform, as the facebook user base began the expand so did these companies, their games and ideas expanded to match the ever fast growth of the social network site and with it social gaming was invented. Perhaps the most prominent name among those companies was Zynga.
Zynga made a fortune applying the play-for-free-pay-for-item business model; their virtual currencies quickly became the fastest selling product the industry have seen and with enough time and careful planning – based on tons and tons of very carefully thought of metrics – they took over the facebook game space. With two or three companies battling for the leftovers, Zynga is the biggest social gaming company in the world.
Their success has spawned thousands of clones, rip-offs and similar games trying to get a piece of the pie. Only problem is that Zynga has already the majority of facebook social gamers and whenever a company approached half a million users, zynga or some other big company bought it and included it among it’s line up.
the problem is that now facebook is saturated with game products, the other problem is that they are almost identical in terms of game mechanics but differ slightly in theme. Considering how easy it is to develop a facebook app and how relatively cheap it is compared to other gaming platforms, many developers adopted facebook as it’s official platform and started making games. Self publishing cuts through a lot of loops.
Like the first game recession in the late 80’s, current trend in game design of facebook and social games is a bubble that’s about to burst. People will soon grow tired of already established game mechanics. Companies should realize this fact before it’s too late.
So i might be confusing people here, I have previously said that console games market is diminishing, casual games market taking it’s share but it’s struggling and now i’m saying that facebook games are facing problems; so what are game developers suppose to do?
simply put: innovation.
It’s obvious that casual and mobile platform are very popular and has a wide user base. It’s up to game developers to stop reusing same formulas as it’s success comes with an expiry date. It’s up to them to start creating innovative and fun games like they create on consoles for these platforms.
The idea is bringing the big budget movies to the silver screen. With current technology this is achievable.
The next couple of years would be critical in determining the new face of the industry. Specializations would be the way to go. Cloud computing, true cross platform releases and innovations will determine who the players of the next gen game industry will be.