Here’s a very simple question to anyone who is thinking leaping in the social games (whatever that means) bandwagon:
Would EA/Microsoft/[insert big company name here]/Google/Apple clone my idea and beat me?
Big players have money. If they smell money somewhere, they’ll come there. iFart wasn’t the most popular iphone farting app. There was some other (which name nobody can remember – including me) that was dominating the fart apps, but then iFart came and pretty much cloned the app (changed something to make sure it doesn’t look like a clone) and did better SEO and better marketing – and got the first place. Funder of iFart was actually a marketing guru dude (who isn’t really into gaming at all) and he doesn’t have a big corporation (Apple/Google big) but compared to the other farting app developer, he was a bigger player with bigger marketing.
This same thing happens everywhere.
So, how this thing about “ask the question works”?
Here’s an example. If you would like to do a new innovative social game… you can then ask this question. “If I was to do this new social rpg. Would Zunga clone my Book of Face RPG with better marketing, bigger budget and eventually ruin my biz?”
If the answer is yes, don’t come back later saying I didn’t warn you.
Should you stop… and do nothing?
Sadly, the previous question might lead to a situation where you start thinking “RTS? EA… FPS? EA… 3D Simulation? EA…” and so on.
Which is good.
That means now we are getting closer to what indie dev means.
Nobody has made a zombie MMO, and big corporations didn’t the subject. Well, small indie studio did it (it’s not typical mmo, but tons of players anyway). And now it’s been online for quite a time already. Nobody has created 3D zombie MMO and for some reasons no big corporation is touching the subject. Maybe they thing there’s too little market potential or something. Well, small indie studio started doing it (should be out this summer I believe).
Can you find any big gaming corporation doing any 2D RPGs for hardcore gamers? No, they are busy doing Diablo clones with 3D graphics. Well, one small studio has been doing this type of RPG development in a basement filled with spiders for over a decade, and has been doing pretty darn well.
One guy stopped working at Lionhead and started doing his resource management games, all in 2D. And this guy has been be doing pretty well.
So… should one do “social games” (dunno what that means)?
Well, possibly. If you can find a good angle on things and do something that others might not be able to clone (I don’t know if that means creating a social zombie game that’s so grouse that big corporations won’t touch), or that has something that they cannot clone (people are one thing that are not so hard to clone – just some food for thought). “Working for free” cannot be cloned either by big corporations.
There’s many ways to be unique.
Your thoughts? Are you into this “social gaming” stuff?