Why the Bay Area is a such as sweetspot for social game development

SGN's Josh Yguado on the right location

Why the Bay Area is a such as sweetspot for social game development

Appropriately given the location, during his panel at Pocket Gamer Connect San Francisco 2015, president of Social Gaming Network (SGN) Josh Ygaudo was asked, "Why is the west coast such a hub for social games?"

Yguado pointed to the long history of content creation in both Los Angeles and San Francisco as the major factor as to why social gaming companies tended to form on the west coast.

Similarly, key social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, which were also founded in the Bay Area, have proved to be very strong channels for the consumption of mobile content. More generally, America has been the leader in culture exports through media content for decades.

Cash to go global

"Funding always helps," Yguado added, highlighting the beneficial relationship between the content creating industries and the tech/Silicon valley industries that meet and overlap in the Bay Area.

"Mobile games success is based on momentum," Yguado explained.

If you can't fund a team to make the best possible product, then they simply cannot compete. The top 20-30 grossing games are from well-funded companies, which means they can outspend new entrants in terms of user acquisition, maintaining their own longevity in the process.

Yet Yguado argues that despite San Francisco's importance as a development hub, in every aspect, the industry is becoming more global.

Currently only 15% of SGN's revenue is from Asian markets, but he believes this can become closer to 30-40%.

Telling a social story

Yguado pointed to Supercell and King - who have offices in San Francisco but aren't US companies - and particularly their ability to create successful games that have global presence.

We are an absolutely hotbed of creative talent.
Josh Yguado

Yguado believes this has more to do with social and storytelling aspects, rather than specific mechanics.

It's these social and storytelling aspects which help create such a vibrant development environment for SGN and companies on the west coast.

"We are an absolutely hotbed of creative talent. Some of our best employees are people who come from the creative industry, the industry of telling stories, or creating beautiful art," Yguado said.

And, in turn, as well as being key drivers for the growth of the global mobile games industry, such social aspects are fast becoming a core part of all game business.

Each SGN, Supercell, and King is "... training people to become good consumers"; that is consumers who are interested in what it means to be deeply involved with games.