Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Interview with Everett Lee of OMGPOP:
The Science of Social Game Design—cont'd
Q: What are up-and-coming social or mobile games that you think people
should keep an eye on?
A: I unfortunately cannot comment on OMGPOP's development roadmap,
but this next year will be an interesting one. Externally, I make sure to
keep an eye on any successful Zynga game or any game that a handful of
Facebook friends start playing. Each successful game builds upon mechan-
ics and lessons learned from previous games, much like in the traditional
game space, but development cycles in the social and mobile space are
measured in months, not years, so the pace of change is blindingly fast.
I expect the barriers to entry in both the social and mobile spaces to
be raised in the next year or two by Zynga, Electronic Arts, and Disney,
who will throw more money into development to raise the quality bar
and increase production value to differentiate their games from the rest of
the market. This move is analogous to the consolidation and ramp up of
development costs in the traditional game space that EA spearheaded in
the late 1990s and early 2000s, when games went from budgets of $3 mil-
lion to $20 million in the space of five or six years.
At the end of the day, though, we are still in the early stages—roughly
year four, now—of an expected ten-year social-mobile cycle. (The basic
theory is that technology moves in approximate ten-year cycles, starting
with the mainframes in the 1960s, minicomputers in the 1970s, personal
computers in the 1980s and 1990s, the Internet age of the 1990s and early
2000s, and now finally the mobile Internet and social networking age that
was sparked by the introduction of the iPhone in June 2007 and Facebook
opening up to non-college students in September 2006. For more infor-
mation on this theory, Google “Mary Meeker Morgan Stanley mobile
Internet” to learn more about Mary Meeker's April 12, 2010, presentation.)
Looking back at what happened about halfway through the shift in tra-
ditional PC games from the late 1990s, when 3D graphics cards entered
the scene, through the mid 2000s, one can map out the changes in the
social and mobile space that will most likely come to fruition in the next
couple years. Given that history tends to repeat itself in business cycles,
I fully expect the pattern to play out again. I just like knowing what to
expect and to be proactive in my adjustments. The next few years are
bound to be exciting ones in the social and mobile space, and I look for-
ward to seeing how things unfold!
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