The Facebook social games arms-race is over — so declares Tadhg Kelly of Games Brief, who goes on to give an informed journalistic analysis of the winners. The unbeatable 800lb gorilla (or should that be chicken?) is bloody Farmville and its parent company which is currently going for a $1 billion IPO, but which most sane Facebook users will have long ago banished along with all the other game and quiz fluff by using addon filters like Fluff Busting Purity.
“A lot of VC-type investors don’t really get that Zynga has won. They continue to pour money into Facebook developers, each with essentially the same supposed Zynga-beating business model of virality and leveraging social blah blah blah. Each will probably go no further than becoming a third tier developer at best. There’s a perfectly respectable business to be had in the third tier, but most investors are not looking for that kind of boutique payoff. […] perhaps Facebook is no longer the best venue for launching a new game. […] The new frontier is the Web itself, not Mark Zuckerberg’s house.”
Meanwhile, a new Gartner Inc report predicts $74 billion of spending on all types of videogaming and mobile/Web gaming by the end of 2011, growing to $112 billion by 2015 — also predicting that “game-ified” consumer-facing services will be increasingly important for marketing new consumer goods and retaining the buyers as future customers. Hopefully the cost of developing that type of cruft comes out of the existing ad and marketing budgets, and not out of my wallet in terms of increased retail prices.