The first wave of games on Facebook were very popular, but as their usage has dropped they have come in for a lot of stick as being pointless and unsustainable. Games like Vampires have been the most heavily criticised and as this chart from Adanomics shows usage is decling rapidly. A quick surf around Adanomics will show you that Vampires is not an isolated example.
The next wave of games to drive success have been the old favourites that we know and love. Scrabulous (based on Scrabble) has rocked the charts with over 500,000 daily users and Zynga (recently backed by Union Square Ventures) has Poker, BlackJack and games based on Risk and Scramble.
As per a couple of posts on Techcrunch last week some of these games are now under threat from the companies that own the original IP. In particular Hasbro and Electronic Arts are gunning for Scrabulous and it looks like the shareholders in that company are going to have to sell out cheap.
As Techcrunch says, the next wave will take the learnings about interesting and extended gameplay AND be based around new original IP.
I guess Zynga’s poker and blackjack games will be safe though.
It is also interesting to see how the strategies for these game networks is evolving. As well as Zynga, Techcrunch points to Social Gaming Network (SGN) as an emerging player, although as Fred Wilson (partner at Union Square) points out they are way behind Zynga in terms of traction.
Both Zynga and SGN started as games developers and publishers and have now released developer platforms. To developers they offer cross promotion from their existing network of games and assistance with monetisation.
This strategy, if successful, will give them a piece of the action in the long tail, which adds to what previously looked like a fat head blockbuster socnet game strategy.
It is really early days in this space, but there is certainly a lot of movement.