Social Gaming Summit 2011: Facebook brands mobile and HTML5 development the future, but warns against onslaught of Farmville clones

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Social Gaming Summit 2011: Facebook brands mobile and HTML5 development the future, but warns against onslaught of Farmville clones
Facebook’s European Head of Gaming Partnerships, Julien Codorniou, opened this year’s Social Gaming Summit in London with a simple message for developers looking to the future of the games industry: "mobile, mobile, mobile".

Naturally, this was in reference to Facebook's mobile web platform - the once-styled Project Spartan - which the company believes will not just be the ideal direction for social games makers to take, but also "the future for the gaming industry" as a whole.

Impressive case studies were shown on screen at Chelsea Football Club’s conference centre to reinforce the point, with monthly user figures for young companies’ games hitting the millions, not the thousands.

Or, to quote Codorniou, there was still room for gaming companies to "kill it" on Facebook, despite the omnipotent presence of Zynga.

Channel hoppers

But while companies like Wooga and had experienced success with the more 'traditional' forms of social gaming, the message Codorniou had for newcomers to the platform was effectively 'please stop making Farmville-style games, we’ve already got enough, thanks'.

He compared the state of Facebook gaming to TV of 20 years ago, saying that there was only "three channels" of game genre to choose from right now, and praised titles like Social Empires from Social Point - a game inspired by the real-time strategy titles of the previous decade like Age of Empires, rather than a certain farming game.

One company that won’t be stepping up to bring these core genres to the platform is Facebook itself, however, with Cordorniou stressing that they were "never going to be in games ourselves" nor "invest in gaming companies".

Everything in its right place?

That’s not going to hold back the company's ambitions for its gaming capabilities though, with Cordorniou hoping that "every successful game that exists on PC, consoles, should come on the Facebook platform at some point".

He specifically saw there being "a bright future for games that were being played in the 90s", lamenting the number of IPs currently residing in dusty portfolios and forseeing a future where titles like Minecraft will be playable through the social network.

The underlying message to developers and attendees, naturally, was that Facebook was the best positioned to offer the opportunities to make money on mobile, with Cordorniou instructing studios to "bet on the Facebook mobile web platform".

"We believe the mobile web platform is the future for the gaming industry," he concluded. 

"Bet on mobile, HTML5. This is really the future of gaming for us."

Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).


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