Wednesday the 3rd of June was the second meetup evening of the Icelandic Gaming Industry (IGI). It was a relaxed and informal gathering of over twenty people. The theme of the evening was social networks and casual games. Basically, the trends is that people like to socialize and connect, and games are perfect way to bring people together.
Finnur Magnússon of Sauma Technologies talked about how new types of games are emerging when social networks and casual games are combined. Simple and fun games, easy to learn are played on networks such as Facebook. These games are popular and benefit from the social network since people invite their friends to play, and people like to compare and compete, and this keeps them playing. Finnur’s slides are here: Social Networks And Casual Gaming
This point was also made by Jónas Antonsson, CEO of Gogogic. When the users of Gogogic’s Symbol 6 iPhone game were asked to list their feature requests, the number one feature suggested was to be able to compare scores with other players. Another example of the strength of the social aspect. Jónas also talked about how games are moving from being products to being services. Instead of releasing a version of a game, it is launched as a service that continues to evolve. New features are added when ready.
The key observation I made from this evening is how strong the social need is in gaming. This confirms my belief that social community games are getting more important. Also, we will move to a global social network, where person’s identity, or indenties, will be stored in one place (Facebook Connect, OpenID and similar sites) and then different gaming sites can use that identity. And as we move from products to services games become live.