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Where'd Your Social Games Go?


August 10, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3
 

So the company has focused on mobile games like the highly successful We Rule, which it released for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad in March. There's also We Farm, which it launched just three weeks ago, and which "uses a farming construct and which takes advantage of what we know works on mobile internet in terms of social gaming," Downie says. The game took just four months to design, develop, and produce, and then -- like all Ngmoco games -- was released in Canada first to stress test its infrastructure before being launched globally.

Downie insists that future games from Ngmoco will also be designed for the iOS platform only.

"Yes, there are hundreds of millions -- perhaps even a billion -- users on the desktop-based internet," he says, "but it is predicted that by the end of 2013 there will be three billion people with 3G-enabled handsets globally and that's the business in which we want to have a leadership position -- and that's absolutely our driving vision every single day."

Does that mean that Ngmoco will never, ever expand to additional platforms?

"You know, the road is littered with people who don't change quickly enough," he says. "But, right now, we have a job to do, we're doing it, and that's fulfilling our vision as a company."

Three companies with three platform strategies -- and each has its own advice for developers anxious to take advantage of the opportunities in today's social gaming space.

"What we're seeing here is companies scrambling to tap into the new needs of consumers," says Ngmoco's Downie. "Competition is building, the bigger companies are becoming more successful, and soon it will become harder for new companies to find a foothold as the market matures.

"My best advice is to move quickly during this wonderfully exciting time because things are traveling at light speed. I've been in this marketing category for just over a year and a half now and it's been like living the 17 years I spent at Electronic Arts creating packaged goods; things are moving that fast."


We Farm

Meanwhile, Evony's Yarbrough recommends considering the strategy his company has designed for itself: "I tell developers that the safest thing to do is build a really good small browser-based game that has mass-market appeal. If it's really good, then the sky's the limit. Then you can choose whether to expand your reach -- as we did -- by going to Facebook as your game becomes more popular. That's definitely the safer way to go, especially for a brand new developer."

"If you're thinking about moving into social games," says Zynga's Skaggs, "especially if you're a developer who comes from the more traditional, big budget, console space where games take years to build, I would encourage you to check out this new arena, especially while it's still young.

"I mean, it's still early in the life cycle, there's a lot of fun to be had here, and there are a lot of contributions to be made from lessons you've learned in the more traditional games industry," Skaggs adds. "If you've ever wondered what it would be like, I say 'Try it. Jump on in; the water's fine.'"


Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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