For a trade show all about the latest and greatest in interactive entertainment, it's somewhat shocking that many of the most popular video games being played right now are either underrepresented, or not represented at all. We are, of course, speaking about the social and casual games that have audiences larger than almost any traditional console game, and what's more, have managed to tap into the recurring revenue stream of microtransactions that seems to elude so many others.
This is no unintentional oversight. Many attendees of E3, the Game Developers Conference, and other industry events say that games such as Farmville and Cityville are not "real games," and that even mentioning them in the same breath as Halo or Gears of War would be to cheapen the entire medium.
At E3, these kinds of games are woefully underrepresented, despite having in many cases tens of millions of players (MAU, or monthly active users, is the standard metric for social games--the most popular game of this genre, Zynga's CityVille, currently has 90 million monthly active users). If you looks around artfully, however, you can still find a few examples. EA's social/casual subsidiary PlayFish, is here, and has scored with games such as Pet Society and Madden NFL Superstars. At E3, a portion of EA's giant floor space was devoted to The Sims Social, a Facebook version of the popular suburban life simulation game. … Read more