One of the big trends at this year's Game Developer's Conference is social gaming, thanks to wild success stories like Facebook-powered Farmville. While many see social gaming as the next big thing, Will Wright -- famed creator of SimCity, The Sims and Spore -- warned GDC attendees that expectations for the genre are unrealistic. "What people tend to do is apply a power curve to this," Wright explained using the above diagram. "And so when you make an extrapolation based upon that, you're really way off, when in fact, what we were really looking at was an S-curve."
"It gets a lot of attention, of course, because investors, when they're looking to invest in something, they're looking to invest in the steep part of this curve. And so that's why there's so much business interest in this sort of platform," Wright hypothesized.
But don't think your mom is going to suddenly lose interest in raising animals on her virtual farm any time soon. In fact, while the genre may not explode, it will ultimately represent a large percentage of the overall games business. "It's not that I don't think social games are going to be big ... I can imagine them doing about the quarter of the market, really." That's good news for Facebook, which is still looking for its Mario, its "iconic" game.