Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Social Gaming

Social Gaming
Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk
Fascinating panel yesterday on Facebook and the New Web of Social Gaming. Ably moderated by Nabeel Hyatt from Conduit Labs, with TJ Murphy from Warbook/SGN and Marc Pincus from Zynga, it was quite some show.

The Worlds in Motion Summit at GDC is in its first year, spun off from the popular blog of the same name, and most of the panels and presentations have played to a fairly full room.

The Social Gaming panel was truly standing room only. When Nabeel asked people for a show of hands on who's looking to develop a Facebook Game, about 70% of the audience said yes, and the remainder were planning on launching one shortly.

You don't need to me to tell you that what's hot in virtual worlds and games is the merging/overlap with social networking/web2.0, but I saw writ large in the excitement around yesterday's panel.

Here's why I think it's a model people like:
- unlike a traditional virtual world or MMO, which need years of time and investment to make them happen, you can launch a Facebook game in two to four weeks, and then iterate from there
- if you're a developer, Facebook is effectively your publisher. So there's no hardcore marketing (although you can see in the graphs where the viral marketing hit on user numbers). And if you're used to making immersive, social engaging games, you need to make something that leverages the social nature of Facebook to bring in more playesr (friends), and you're half way there
- Revenue is acheivable fairly easily, apparently, on a CPA (cost per aquisition, effectively affialate deals), as opposed to CPM or CPC (cost per click) - according to Pinkus, "CPA is real, CPM is bullshit), although there was quite some debate about this.

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