No Flash On The iPad Problem: Current Popular Social Games
One large potential problem (or opportunity) Apple might face in the near future, because of the lack of a Flash player on the iPod/iPad platform, is compatibility with the current set of popular social games. It is no secret that most of these games are built on the Flash player platform. Will it be a shock to players when when boot up their iPad FaceBook app and cannot play FarmVille?
For many people, the entire internet consists of Google, YouTube, and Facebook. Those used to playing social games for free (and spending their social capital) will be surprised at the pay-to-play and the "just cannot play because we hate the platform" ideals that permeate the iPod/iPad and Apple.
There are already some users asking these questions:
The Wall Street Journal (you know, that tiny ill respected rag) has posted an article on the subject: Questions about Zynga Games on The iPad answers a user's question on the subject.
Of course the answer is no, Zynga Flash Games will not work. Now, I am certain that Apple intends to make a crap-load of money off social games when their own Game Center is released, so you will not find them crying for Zynga any time soon. Will this cause Zynga to create games with *cough* HTML5? Maybe, as their games are not so sophisticated to make this impossible. Safari seems to have the best HTML5 compatibility, but launching a game on that platform is a big investment in "roll your own" as Steve pointed out last week.
As recently as April 20th, the site Mashable reported Farmville Could Be Headed to iPhone, iPad and Andriod. This speculation was based on the some domain names that Zynga has registered, but no official plans have been released.
In a related bit, many companies are banking on the Game Center and iPad. The Inside Social Games blog is reporting that venture capital group Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers is putting 100 Million into iPad/Mobile applications, including Social Games.
Social games are going to be a HUGE on all mobile devices the same as they are on the current crop of lap tops and desk tops. The current popular of social games are NOT compatible because most are made in Flash and connect to Facebook. Will all of the current social game developers need to move the to Apple Game Center platform or risk losing the next big potential market? Will the iPad Facebook app and popular social games targeting that breakout successful platform move to HTML5/Objective-C as web / downloadable platform? Only time will tell. Right now though, if you play Farmville and want to to see how your agricultural social empire is doing while on the road with only an Apple device, you will have a tough time doing so.