When I got the information last night about Zynga’s developer network I figured that they were pretty much defining themselves as the leaders in the social gaming space. Apparently the Social Gaming Network was aware of the announcement and, according to Caroline McCarthy also decided to make the same one. At this point developers are getting spread thin across multiple platforms. Then again, developers have always been required to learn development for new platforms on a regular basis.
I think this is a great move but I also think that it will be difficult to attract developers en masse because of the development requirements of building a new game. Regular programmers were able to launch new applications and simple games overnight. Robust flash games on the other hand take a little more development time and also typically require design input. As such, the barrier to entry is already set higher then the average social platform.
Even still, this is a big play and for those companies that decide to create new flash based games, these platforms could prove to be extremely useful distribution channels. Caroline McCarthy has also highlighted the rivalry between the two companies (and founders):
Shervin Pishevar [who we previously interviewed] has been critical of Zynga’s games, which he claims infringe upon existing ones (Sea Wars, for example, is a lot like Battleship), and company representatives have said that they think Zynga’s popularity metrics are exaggerated. Both gaming start-ups claim to be “the biggest social gaming network.” It might not be HD DVD vs. Blu-ray, but this is a rivalry that could get ugly.
As I continue to say, this is one area in social technology to keep your eyes on. It’s going to be big.