Social gaming is likely to expand a lot outside of Facebook in , as the platform is pushing the Connect network, and recent policy changes might prompt developers to also have a standalone web version of their game in order to retain more control over them and promote them outside of Facebook too like Pet Society or Farmville did. The addition of a dashboard for games is also validating the social network as a primordial gaming platform. A part of Facebook growth in Asian countries is actually tied to the games, as some users register primarily to play.
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Combined with the new set of rules limiting aggressive viral practices, this should make it difficult for Facebook games to repeat the mass success of FarmVille or Mafia Wars. On the casual front, we should see more adaptations on Facebook of casual game favourite genres time management, hidden object… and more MMO-lites integrating such gameplays.
Extremely high monthly active users numbers could also become reserved to the most wealthy companies, as the need for cash to market the games intensifies. The fragmentation issue, which is the biggest obstacle, might be less of a problem if a handful of Android phones become very popular in the Nexus One is thought to sell million units in or if some standards making the gaming experience more similar across devices are adopted for example, by HTC, the leading manufacturer.
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As Android is an open platform, custom app stores will also be possible, although yet again critical mass will be the main problem. Another advantage is the possibility of offering Flash games, as it is unlikely that Flash gets approved on iPhone anytime soon. Apple has only towards the end of allowed in-app payments inside of free apps.
This, combined with push notifications at the moment too power-hungry, but that might get improved in a new version of the handset? What is still missing would be allowing currency selling or Apple credits that would allow real micro-payments, along with an auto-patch function. With it may come the long announced reign of mobile web, which could impact gaming more than we have seen so far with mobile games, as we might be able to see games totally designed for nomadic use and real-world interaction via geolocation, augmented reality, etc.
Again, that could open the door for nice cross platform apps and mobile extensions of PC or web-based games.
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