I moderated two panels at the Social Gaming Summit 2009 today. The first was about building social games at scale and featured the CEOs/COOs of the top three social game companies; Mark Pincus of Zynga, John Pleasants of Playdom and Sebastien de Halleux of Playfish.
Second panel was about social games “in the wild” – i.e. off of social networks. Andrew Bussey of Challenge Games, Daniel James of 3Rings, Matt Mihaly of Sparkplay and Jim Greer of Kongregate were the panelists. I haven’t see a writeup yet, but some notable paraphrased quotes from the converation include:
– Many games on social networks not actually social. Players playing alone, together. Interaction not really with friends but with a “cardboard cutout of a friend”.
– Many MMOGs have much higher degree of true social interaction between players than Facebook games. “Playing” with your friends vs Making friends with the people you play with.
– Facebook games the “gateway drug” for the rest of the gaming industry, attracting players who would not consider themselves gamers. Destination game sites draw a harder core player
– “Manipulating users to spam their friends” is less powerful and effective than building a game experience that users will willingly tell their friends about
– All this being said, games companies built on social networks have seen phenomenal growth that far outstrips growth of game companies built on the open web.
I may have gotten some of these wrong, but I was moderating to it was hard to take good notes. If anyone has seen a good writeup please link in comments
Also Siqi Chen, CEO of Lightspeed portfolio company Serious Business, gave an excellent presentation on metrics for social games with David King of lil green patch that shared a lot of live data from their games and was very insightful.