SGS: 7 Predictions For Social Gaming in 2011 from EA Founder Trip Hawkins

Digital Chocolate, Trip explained, wants to be the Pixar of Mobile. They're nearing 100 million application downloads and are one of the fastest growing game makers on Facebook. They have 5 studios on 3 continents, and they are growing rapidly. Most of their team is outside of the US. He discussed where social gaming is going to go in 2011.

Digital Chocolate, Trip explained, wants to be the Pixar of Mobile. They’re nearing 100 million application downloads and are one of the fastest growing game makers on Facebook. They have 5 studios on 3 continents, and they are growing rapidly. Most of their team is outside of the US. He discussed where social gaming is going to go in 2011.

He was quick to point out that the number of games that are growing at Digital Chocolate is 6, whereas each of Zynga, EA, Playdom and Crowdstar are at 1. He was extremely proud to point out the truth, that most of the huge game companies are losing traffic from their peaks, so to see a new company growing.

IMG_1129

According to Trip, scientists are just now finding that your social life determines your happiness, which determines your success and biological productivity, even.

Trip explained that creating Madden Sports taught him a bunch of lessons, a key one being that he had hit on a key model. It was one of the best ways to hit up users each month. However, virtual goods are incredible because it gets users to pay what they’re able to pay, and really allows whales to pay their way into being the alpha competitor. But that allows the free players to feel an incentive to buy virtual goods, and also play the game and tell their friends, thereby widening the funnel of free players into the game.

Trip emphasized cross-platform, as well, and we’re very early in this space. Social games are growing everywhere, but on Japan it’s mobile, on China it’s a heavy installation on your PC, in Korea it’s a PC/mobile hybrid, in America it’s Facebook games on PC and iPhone applications. Platforms are expanding, and device populations are expanding rapidly.

“If I switch platforms, I can pick up where I left off.” This is one of the main goals of interoperability according to Trip. He compared it to how text messaging is now a 100 billion dollar industry around the world, because once the technology became interoperable, everyone could connect with everyone. Trip is looking to that moment with Digital Chocolate.

Trip talked about the advantage of the cloud-based system. The idea is that everything is available in the cloud, and users sign in and have access to all of their games, their saved progress, their friends and more, regardless of platform. Over the next few years we’ll see a “revolution” in user interfaces for mobile browsers, according to Trip.

Trip finally discussed his top 7 predictions for 2011 in social games, and wrapped up by discussing his NanoStar platform, which we’ve covered before, and is something I’m extremely interested in.

Predictions for 2011

  • Facebook becomes a game platform
  • Growth returns to Facebook game ecosystem
  • Rival social game platforms emerge
  • Social device sales go through the roof
  • Mobile struggles to become a social network
  • Interoperable games become relevant
  • NanoStars demonstrate an even better form of virtual goods monetization