Why indies should make Facebook games

Why indies should make Facebook games

By Will Freeman in Montréal

November 9th 2010 at 4:41AM

MIGS 2010: Playdom's Scott Jon Siegel on the gap in the social gaming market

Scott Jon Siegel, game designer at Playdom, has made a plea for indie developers to consider making Facebook games.

The request came as Siegal delivered a MIGS 2010 session titled 'David vs GoliathVille: Sage Advice for Indie Social Game Designers', in which he argued that too many indie outfits turn their noses up at Facebook and miss an opportunity to succeed and be innovative.

Siegel built a strong case for ignoring the giants of social gaming and harnessing the potential offered in the spaces the likes of Zynga have largely ignored.

"When you go up against the giants of the industry, you will loose," Siegel warned indies, adding: "The whole concept of market share on Facebook is no longer based around anything that is necessarily quality driven. It's now based on aggressive ad spending, and very tightly integrated cross-promotional advertising."

Siegel then showed data that claimed while the numbers of active daily users for the top 250 Facebook games have been gently declining in recent months, the bottom 200 titles in that spectrum are actually welcoming more active daily users. In other words, the player loss seen by the top 50 games is enough to eclipse the gain made by the lower 200 when looking at the group as a whole.

Regardless, those 200 are still thriving, insisted Siegel.

"Ultimately, the best advice I can give anyone getting into social games is not to compete with what is happening at the top," stated the renowned Playdom designer.

"Up there it is quite a mess, so don't compete with the big guys.

"There's all kinds of interesting things you can do in this space, and you don't have to get into this race of being the one with the most market share or being in the top-three. You can be number 70 and still be wildly successful. There you can do what you want to do too."

Siegel went on to conclude with some more advice: "If you want to get into making social games, work in small teams, work fast, and be flexible."