Frankly, they kind of have no choice. That's general idea Wooga studio head Henric Suuronen (pictured) seems to have put forward in an in-depth interview with Gamasutra. And it would be wise to listen--the Berlin, Germany-based Facebook game creator is third behind Zynga and EA (now that PopCap's numbers have been integrated), according to AppData.
During the interview, Suuronen gave Gamasutra a detailed explanation of where Facebook games have been, what it takes to create them from a design perspective and, most importantly, where they're going. Specifically speaking to social mechanics in Facebook games, Suuronen said to Gamasutra:
"Now moving four years forward, you have games like CityVille, Pioneer Trail from Zynga, Kabam games, Digital Chocolate games, and Zombie Lane -- great game -- and now Magic Land," Suuronen told Gamasutra. "So it has really evolved. So why would the progression stop here? So I think it will evolve, as it has done from four years ago with Jetman and Scrabulous and Tower Bloxx. So it will evolve again in the next years."
The hit maker behind Diamond Dash recently released its seventh game on Facebook, Magic Land, which enjoys a healthy 3.4 million monthly players and over 330,000 daily players. According to Suuronen, Wooga's latest game had the most man hours thrown into it, a trend he seems to believe will continue. "The whole myth of the minimum viable product -- it's gone," Suuronen told Gamasutra. "It's something that you say to investors to sound cool."
Sure, Suuronen believes that players will eventually get tired of the standard social gaming mechanics of sharing gifts and helping asynchronously. However, the Wooga studio head also points out that the harsh reality of designing Facebook games to get players to pay up isn't going anywhere, and some traditional designers have trouble coming to grips with that.
Considering social games are expected to make $1 billion this year alone (and cash in even more from there), traditional designers and companies better wise up quick if they want to fit in the next big money machine. Read Suuronen's full interview with Gamasutra here, in which he predicts how you might be enticed to pay up in the future.
Do you agree that Facebook games can only grow into more robust entertainment options from here? Where would you like to see the industry go from today's CityVille's and other life simulators?