E3 proves that the “traditional”Gaming Industry is still largely in denial about both Apple and the whole new social gaming space. I wasn’t expecting that Facebook or social games or the iPad were going to dominate discussions at E3 but it’s as if these platforms never existed. How convenient.
The feeling appears to be mutual.
None of the large social gaming companies were present, most notably Zynga (which recently inked a sizeable multimillion dollar investment with Softbank) didn’t even have a presence, as if they didn’t care (and perhaps they don’t!). The President of ESA, organizers of E3, in an interview titled Why isn’t Zynga at E3? explained their absence as “it was probably a little too early”. So what he’s suggesting is that Zynga wasn’t ready for E3? It’s rather well known that Zynga has not been very popular amongst many in the game industry.
Even EA’s Playfish (which has a relevant FIFA and social gaming lineup) was completely MIA, which suggests that EA themselves may consider EA Playfish as an indistinguishable “category” of its own.
If the Gaming Industry wants to beat or adapt to this new wave they will need to do a lot better than to ignore them. Jesse Shell’s earlier presentation at DICE 2010 many months ago made a strong case about how the industry simply cannot ignore these new trends but I guess that message has yet to properly sink in.
As Rob Enderle’s described it “the gaming industry has been anemic”, while he said that specifically about Apple’s entry into the sector I get the same feeling about Social Gaming.