ISA 2011: Live-Blogging New and Alternative Social Platforms Panel

In our second panel of the day, industry expert Eric Goldberg is moderating a panel comprised of the leaders on other social networks, as well as payment provider PayPal and cross-platform developer PopCap Games.

The panelists

Manu Rekhi, GM Games & Platform, MySpace
Carey Kolaja, Senior Director, Digital Goods Operations, PayPal
Geoff Cook, CEO, MyYearbook
Dennis Ryan, EVP Worldwide Publishing, PopCap Games
Eric Goldberg, Managing Director, Crossover Technologies (moderator)

The live transcript (paraphrased in parts and edited for brevity)

EG: How do you decide where to develop, Dennis?

DY: Opportunity cost. How does market fit of platform apply to your game? Second, what about game portfolio? Active, passive, open, closed? Depending on interest, may align or not align.

EG: What about small devs?

DY: MyYearbook is meeting new people, so if we were to develop there we’d think — how can we meet new people?

GC: When I think of social networks, I think social graphs. Facebook owns real-life friends but plenty of other interesting ones. Topics (quora), content (MySpace), professional (LinkedIn)…. how does this given social network enable this?

EG: Manu, what about opportunities for small developers?

MR: Look where growth is coming from. When tide rises takes everyone forward. Other places. Not that much competition on other places. If you go to build on Android, you don’t have competition like on iOS. Not too many people building games in Spanish, for example.

EG: Carey, now that we’re talking about growth.

CK: What I’d like to share first. How do you go assessing from a financing and monetization perspective the types of social networks you’re looking at. We have the privilege to look across types of social networks, international too — some sort of currency that can engage users. Large rise in virtual currency. Reason developers make their own currencies is to help increase conversion. Challenge is distributing across real currencies in different countries. What about direct versus indirect payments.

EG: You made an element argument for a universal payment system, you know where to find one. What about Paypal and Credits.

CK: I’ll take a step back. Lot of discussion about us and our relationship with Facebook. We announced Paypal as a dominant form of payments for Credits. In October, Facebook was implementing new checkout experience that PayPal launched. Allowed you to not leave. PayPal can be used to distribute revenue from Facebook to developers. You don’t want to necessarily be contained to payment method. You have to look across the spectrum of what you want to achieve. The in-context experience — we’re testing it.

EG: Asks about drop-off in users.

CK: Deflects question.

EG: So are there SNSs — what social networks have graphs that aren’t easy to replicate or they have no strategic reason to replicate?

GC: Everyone other than your real friendships or relationships are ones that Facebook isn’t seeking an advantage in. So with asynchronous games — one of the reasons they’ve taken off compared to synchronous games — is that it’s hard to find real friends to play with at any given time. But synchronous games can work with graphs that don’t involve your real friends.

Gives examples of other social graphs. Twitter. Quora. Interest-graphs.

EG: Asks Manu about its switch from being an SNS and going to social entertainment. What kinds of opportunities are there in social entertainment?

MR: Music was always a really big part of what MySpace did. Can analyze likes of artists. There’s nothing you can do on Facebook except see all the other people who like Lady Gaga. We’re asking if we can find relevant content for you — her music videos, articles, news pieces. You can get connected to that with one click.