The Game Industry still appears to be in denial

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.

One thought on “The Game Industry still appears to be in denial

  1. Yat Siu, this is an interesting observation.

    Convenient? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

    I believe that the main reason why social games and a like are neglected or ‘not taken seriously’ despite success can be contributed to the lack of a push from the demographic.

    The gaming demographic can be largely placed into two categories: traditional (i.e. mainstream, hardcore), and casual. Most commercial games are targeted to the former while social games such as Farmville appeal more to the latter. From here, there is a potential for doing a whole psychological study on the behaviors of the two divisions to better understand their impact on anything from purchasing habits to their influence on market and industry trends.

    To briefly understand why certain sects of the gaming industry while being very successful may be neglected in industry gatherings such as E3, I believe we can examine questions such as:

    – Who goes to / views these events? (The demand in what the event supplies.)
    – What is the demographic of this particular sect? (In this case I assumed that it has a casual base.)
    – How much of an influence does this demographic generate in regards to these events? (Do they actively pursue a representation of their favorite game’s company in these conventions?)

    I understand that there may be some who disagree with my opinion, but I feel that there at least some truth in how I view this particular issue.


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