This year's Game Developer's Conference Online in Austin brought together 3,000 people, including game developer wannabes and industry insiders from World of Warcraft-maker Blizzard and FarmVille-maker Zynga (among others) with talks on how to make good games and some of the larger trends in online games.
Social gaming (on Facebook and otherwise) played a major role in the conference, with a series of sessions devoted to the topic, which included a standout talk from FrontierVille creator Brian Reynolds (our full interview with him is coming soon), Playdom's Raph Koster and the first-ever Game Developer Choice Online Awards, where Social City was honored as the Best Social Network Game of the Year.
After sitting through a slew of panels, lectures, roundtables (and heated conversations at during a series of evening events), here's a list of five social gaming trends you can expect to see in the coming year.
1. Social gaming is not going away anytime soon
Everyone's buzzing about how FarmVille and the other top games have been losing players faster than a cat sheds its winter coat. And while that is largely true for the top 20 games on Facebook, newer games have still managed to attract players at a respectable rate. Two prime examples of this are Booyah's Nightclub City (a nightclub management sim game with music from real-life artists) and Casual Collective's Backyard Monsters (a tower defense game), and that trend is expected to continue into next year. So instead of Facebook gaming dying, it sounds more like it's changing. People are growing tired of the same old farm and pet games and are ready for the next big thing.