IMG_20100602_101054The second panel discussion for echelon 2010 on Day 2 talks about Social Gaming – How a Fast Rising Global Phenomenon is Developing in Asia. Nicholas started the discussion by seeking clarification for the term “social gaming”.

It seems that the definition of social gaming is crumbling, as proposed by Benjamin, as people are able to play these “social games” out of social networks and most players are playing with strangers. Rex contributed his idea that most social games are becoming less social in terms of the concept, more on helping other players out instead of interacting with them.

On the topic on social gaming moving to mobile devices, Vishal credits the lack of expansion to Steve Job not supporting Flash. Social game developers have to figure out how to provide their products on a Flash-less device, which is harder. Benjamin agrees that Flash makes things easier but there are ways to product games for feature phones or low-end phones that do not run Flash. Examples are text-based games like Mafia Wars where Flash is not needed.

Touching on what the future in social games hold for Asian developers, Rex talks about how Western-made games will be more successful on Facebook because of their culture. Asian developed games may have to modify their content to appeal more to the global crowd. Benjamin contributes on how both Asian and Western social games try to achieve the same goal through different angles. It seems like Asian developers will be able to succeed, once they are able to identify what global-content is for their games.

Tackling the question of monetization from the crowd, Rex identifies the different consumer cultures regarding online payment by comparing US customers with Taiwanese customers, stating that developers should take that into consideration. Vishal talks about how non-paying users, who make up the base of the social gaming community, are still important to developers as they are able to pull in paying-users with the buzz they create.

Vishal’s comment on the sustainability of social gaming is that with the proliferation of social networks, players are now able to bring their connections from game to game. It defers greatly from the past, where each games has to begin with re-building your connections. By making things simpler, this increases the attractiveness of social gaming.

The panel ended with Benjamin showing a live demo on what the future of social gaming on Facebook will be, 3D gaming. We hope the audience are happy with all the information shared by our panelists.