A few takeaways from the Social Gaming Summit:
- Analytics are evolving. The most exciting trend I saw was how analytics are evolving. While most of the existing analytic packages are excellent at show past behavior, there are several products either recently released or scheduled for later this year that will really improve the effectiveness of social game companies. Some of these tools enable predictive modeling while others are targeted to better understanding consumer behavior, including segmentation and much more detailed analysis of the player lifecycle. These tools can have a great effect on profitability.
- The mobile user acquisition shake-out will be brutal. As I mentioned after GDC, you cannot escape companies promising you higher value users at a lower cost. They are this year’s equivalent of payment providers (I still remember my inbox filled with their messages) and there is just not that much room for this many providers. A few will get acquired but most will find out there offerings are just not that good.
- No enthusiasm for HTML5 or Windows 8/Phone The mini-hype bubble of enthusiasm for HTML5 is gone. Even one of its strongest advocates, Julien Codormiou of Facebook, admitted the platform was not there yet. Others were not as charitable and there is a singular conviction that right now you should develop native for mobile and Flash for Facebook. Windows Phone never even made it to mini-fad status, but I did not come across anyone who sees the platform as something that will be relevant to social game developers.