Marazzani predicts that 2012 will see the social games space thin out as a result of Zynga's meteoric rise to dominance. According to him, downsizing at companies like RockYou and Playfirst is just the beginning of a terrible time for social games.
By James Brightman From IndustryGamers
Social gaming has seen incredible growth in the last couple years, exemplified by Zynga's fast rise to power. Next year is likely to see some necessary pruning of the market, however, according to Exent's head of content programming Rick Marazzani, who's predicting "massive layoffs" in the space.
He commented, "With multiple hit games and big marketing budgets needed to stay afloat at the top of the Facebook game charts, many social publishers simply weathered 2011 waiting to see what Zynga's IPO would foretell for their own futures. Faced with the reality that there are too many people working on too many games for the market to bear, social developers will be forced to place smarter (and fewer) bets as user acquisition cost and competition grows. The result will be more belt tightening along the lines of developer RockYou (ZooWorld), who shed 40% of its staff in late 2011."
Marazzani was talking as part of a list of predictions on emerging trends put together by Exent, the leading provider of games on demand services. The other four predictions from Marazzani are laid out as follows:
"Led by the Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle Fire, Android tablets will be on more night stands and in more purses and school knapsacks than ever before. As powerful and easy to use as most portable gaming consoles, these tablets offer affordable, massively appealing games like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds, plus they can be used for web surfing, reading, and playing music and movies. With the extensive functionality and low price points of these tablets, look for them to take a much bigger slice out of the iPad's market share in 2011."
"Your smartphone is always online and GPS location-aware. Game developers will harness this fact to deliver gameplay that will change and offer challenges based on where you are. Social game makers like Zynga, Mocospace and Booyah will make their games more social by tapping users' social graphs in locations to enhance the mobile versions of their games."
"Mobile operators once controlled all the content distributed to their phones. Those days are gone thanks to Apple's tight grip on the iPhone user experience and the openness of the Android operating system and Market. But the expansiveness and quality diversity of those marketplaces are enabling carriers to bounce back as trusted advisors to offer their subscribers premium app stores with curated content and user friendly, integrated billing."
"As households add smartphones for each member, plus 4G tablets and netbooks, mobile carriers will lower their data fees per device and allow families to share plans Carriers will bet on this with the hope it entices subscribers to buy higher end devices. With tablets poised to be the central entertainment hub in the household and game content ranking among the most consumed apps, operators will augment their games offerings as a key differentiator."
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