What’s the Next (Current) Big Thing? Social Games? Casual? Flash? Facebook? Iphone?

While I’ve been working on my zombie game (managed to nail couple of nasty upgrade issues some time ago by the way – good for me) I’ve also been watching some stuff happening elsewhere in the world. Like in the world of gaming.

I’m pretty good at making educated guesses about the stuff that people really want, since I’m more human than a programmer and have been doing this type of guesswork for quite a bit of time.

But… figuring out what some people might want does not equal to realizing what’s the next billion non-Zimbabwe dollar opportunity.

Jeff Tunnel (Garage Games) is believing that Flash is the next big thing. Jeff knows stuff. Experienced dude. Worth listening. Who knows what happens. (Also, the recent “premium content in Flash” has been pretty good thing compared to ad revenue. No link to share, but even Techcrunch was having an article on this).

Casual games – what about them? They are doing pretty well. (In fact, they keep bringing me still decent yearly pocket money thing even though I do close to nothing in that area.)

Social games (that’s a hard thing to define I’d say)… or let’s say Facebook apps might do decently. But they’ve kind of been available earlier. Who knows what Facebook and Twitter has to offer here.

What about iPhone? There’s probably opportunities there as well.

What’s your thoughts? Will downloadable PC games be here as they have been for years and year. Or will iPhone and others beat the crap out of PC gaming. What about Flash? Do we have downloadable games at all if people just go to work to play Farmville in facebook?

I know only one thing to be certain.

There’s always room for zombies.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Sargon: perfect answer.

    @Israel: ehh..

    @Steven, Harvest Moon actually reminds me about board game that has been the most popular game in the board gaming world: Agricola. (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/31260/agricola) – you have a farm and need to optimize the harvest… and the description sounded horribly similar to Harvest Moon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_Moon_%28series%29

    See the similarity?

    @Jake: or nokia maemo… tons of things to consider. Good pointers.

  2. Personally, I think that the majority of top performing social games do well because they have the intellectual requirements of TV, with interaction. As somebody working on a game for Facebook, I’ve been playing such games, and not caring for it much. Most of the time it’s not about skill so much as effort and number of friends playing the same game, which is torture for a soloist skill gamer.

    My guess is that when somebody gets adaptable gameplay down well, they will blow the rest of the market away, simply because it can deal with many demographics of game players. Zynga games bore me so far, and I actually like playing Harvest Moon games.

    Besides that, I’m not sure what will happen. PC games will likely continue to exist, and possibly have a resurgence due to what Sargon described. I think Facebook games will do well for a while and decline as people become bored with the innumerable gameplay clones, but will still likely do well as long as most people like to not think much and be praised for exceptionally simple tasks.

  3. Also maybe Android? Or maybe another next-gen console with a weird controller? Or project Natal? Or WWIII.

  4. The short answer, I don’t care! :)
    The long answer, I believe most indie developers chose to do this thing because it’s something they enjoy doing. So they probably choose the platform and game they would enjoy making.
    Additionaly, “the next big thing” does not mean “the next good thing”. If the iphone will be more popular than PC games, and you develope games for the PC, it’s actually good for you. You have less competition, your game will be more attractive to PC users.
    That is the case with mac. A lot of indie games that were ported to the mac enjoy good sales on mac, sometimes even better than the PC version they had. Because there are fewer games on the mac.

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