There's an App for That Game
William M. "Trip" Hawkins III -- founder of Electronic Arts and father of the 3DO console -- needs no introduction to serious gamers. But three decades after writing the blueprint for the PC and video game business, his latest creation -- social games start-up Digital Chocolate -- is rewriting the rules again.
Originally a developer of games for mobile phones, the company has shifted its focus to Facebook and other social networks to tremendous success. It's garnered more than 20 million monthly users within a year with hits like Millionaire City , MMA Pro Fighter and NanoStar Castles . Here, Hawkins explains why he believes social gaming and virtual goods are the future of interactive entertainment.
Scott Steinberg: Why are social games exploding in popularity?
People today are oversaturated with amusement options and feel too "checked out." They're seeking social media that provides new ways to "check in" with real people. They're also shifting to platforms that are simpler and more convenient, like mobile devices, the Web and Facebook.
S.S.: Are they the future of PC gaming?
No, they're the present. Asia is mostly playing MMO games on PCs. The biggest Western game is World of Warcraft. Then we have huge audiences playing both Web and Facebook games. They're all social experiences.
S.S.: How big do you see the multibillion-dollar field getting?
Bigger -- much bigger. Today's platforms and games are cheaper and easier to use, and younger audiences are all growing up playing, so gradually the entire world is turning into an audience for games.
S.S.: Could you ever have imagined gaming going in this direction?
Yes. For decades, I've cared a great deal about both social play and the concept of virtual goods. I grew up playing Strat-O-Matic sports board games and Dungeons & Dragons, which were the first forms of virtual goods. My life mission was to get more people to play, but it was clear that those titles were too complicated and that a mass market would only be reached with simpler games.
Earlier in my career, my efforts to make social or casual games often failed or were criticized because I was too far ahead of the market. Examples would include M.U.L.E., Twisted and Army Men. The EA Sports brand was a big success, however, as is [new social game] Millionaire City.
S.S: How do these titles differ from traditional offerings?
Via Web distribution, convenience and social context, and by addressing both new gamers and traditional players alike. Many of the big spenders on virtual goods for Facebook or the iPhone used to spend that money on console games. But maybe they're adults now and don't have as much time, or their friends are located out of town, and they have a smartphone and a Facebook account in addition to a console.
S.S: You've said the old gaming business model was "broken." In what way do social games fix it?
They shift away from the prohibitive up-front costs and risks of high-priced packaged goods and go to the free-to-play model, where everyone can play and pay whatever they like. It's software as a service. But most importantly, the new games offer social value and tremendous convenience.
S.S.: When people say, "PC gaming is dead," what are they missing?
The PC is more alive than ever, and its core elements are expanding into new formats, including tablets, TV screens and even through such ideas as virtualization. What are in jeopardy are PC games that you buy at a store or have to download, install and remember where you filed them.
Technology expert Scott Steinberg is the CEO of video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global, and a celebrated gaming guru who's a frequent on-air analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN.
Available at Amazon.com:
Videogaming & Video Game Reviews
- There's an App for That Game
- Talking Tech Tactics With Football Manager 2011
- 'Kingdom Hearts Re:coded'
- 'Dead Space 2'
- 2K Sports Announces 'NHL 2K11' for Apple iPad
- 'Dead Space' for iOS
- Why are Video Games for Girls so Lame?
- The Muddy Beauty of DiRT 2
- The Reality of Indie Game Development
- Using Artificial Intelligence in Game Development
- Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2011
- Need for Speed Drives Back to Roots
- Developing and Optimizing Games for Netbooks
- 'Bejeweled 3'
- Rolling Thunder, Analytics and Performance Drive Need for Speed World
- Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters Challenges
- Dude! Who Killed My First-person Shooter?
- Racing to the Finish Line: Chris Southall Talks Total War and Sonic
- The Force Remains Strong with LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- Unreal Engine 3 Brings Chadam to Life on Web Video
- 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX'
- 'Infinity Blade'
- TRON: Evolution -- Game Developers Go Hollywood
- EA Sports Moves Graphics-rich Gaming Online
- Humble Opinions: From The Sims to Indie Games
- Meet Mr. Industrial: Justin Lassen's Music Machine
- 'Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood'
- 'Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem'
- 'Time Crisis Razing Storm'
- 'Arcania: Gothic 4'
- 'Disney Epic Mickey'
- 'Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light'
- 'Ace Combat: Air Assault'
- 'Game Dev. Story'
- Epic Games Unveils 'Gears of War 3' Multiplayer Details
- 'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow'
- 'Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1'
- 'Amnesia: The Dark Descent'
- 'Enslaved: Odyssey to the West'
- 'Valkyria Chronicles II'
- 'Dead Rising 2'
- 'Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep'
- 'Halo: Reach'
- 'Mafia II'
- 'Scott Pilgrim' vs. Its Video Game References
- 'Madden 11'
- 'Metroid: Other M'
- 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The Games'
- Burn Zombie Burn
- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game
- Starcraft 2
- Dolby's Axon Software
- What Video Games Could Teach
- Valkyria Chronicles II
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
- Clash of the Titans
- Alien Spawn
- Halo: Combat Evolved - Failure is an Option
- Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
- Medal of Honor
- ModNation Racers
- 3D Dot Heroes
- The Sims 3: Ambitions
- Lost Planet 2
- Star Trek Online
- Coming of Age in Video Games
- Putting Down Video Games And Picking Them Back Up Again
- Government Should Stop Kids From Buying Violent Video Games
- Video Games Don't Cause Children to be Violent
- 'Monster Hunter Tri' (Wii)
- 'Dead to Rights: Retribution' (Xbox 360)
- Deus Ex Focuses on the Play
- 'Sam & Max Season 3: The Penal Zone'
- Sleep is Death
- 'FarmVille': A Love Story
- 'Battlefield: Bad Company 2'
- 'Assassin's Creed II: Bonfire of the Vanities'
- Assassin's Creed II - Xbox 360
- 'Avatar: The Game'
- 'WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010' - Xbox 360
- NCAA Basketball 10 - PS3
- Disney Jonas - DS
- 'God of War' Collection - PS3
- How to Beat the Hydra in 'God of War' - PS3
- 'Left 4 Dead 2' - Xbox 360
Video Games: There's an App for That Game
Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.
Your Favorite Comic Strips Online
Your favorite comics strips Animal Crackers, Annie, Bound & Gagged, Brenda Starr, Brewster Rockit: Space Guy, Broom-Hilda, Dick Tracy, Gasoline Alley, Gil Thorp, Housebroken, Loose Parts, The Middletons, Pink Panther, Raising Hector, Sylvia, 9 to 5, Bliss, Bottom Liners, Love Is..., Pluggers all online at ComicStripNation.com