Charles Hudson是社交游戏领域的资深专家，继任职于谷歌和Gaia Online公司后，现任Serious Business商业拓展部副总裁（Serious Business在今年2月被Zynga收购）。此前，凭借着丰富的业内经验，Charles Hudson成功组织了虚拟商品峰会（Virtual Goods Summit)和社交媒介峰会（the Social Gaming Summit）等关于游戏及社交媒介的技术会议。本周，这两种会议将在伦敦首次召开。我们联线Charles Hudson谈谈他对于此次会议的看法和期待。
SocialGamesObserver: 本周社交游戏峰会（Social Gaming Summit）将首次在欧洲召开，在本次会议中我们可以有何期待？
Charles Hudson：首先，我很高兴社交游戏峰会可以在欧洲举办，会议主办方在召集社交游戏各领域的发言人方面可谓是煞费苦心。我认为现在社交游戏领域的执行官和开发商们都有关心以下热点话题：一，Facebook Credits未来将有何种发展，会对社交游戏环境产生何种影响？二，独立游戏开发商发展前景如何？三，如何在Facebook以外的平台获得玩家流量？我相信在本次会议中可以听到各种关于社交游戏市场现状及未来展望的演讲。
Charles Hudson：总体来说，欧洲具备发展社交游戏的潜力。欧洲本土有Wooga, zSlide, Applifier等多家优秀的社交游戏公司。同时也有许多具备进军社交游戏潜力的知名休闲或核心游戏公司。因此，除了Bigpoint, Gameforge, Jagex, Miniclip等多家颇具实力的社交游戏公司以外，我相信今后欧洲会出现更多的创新社交游戏公司。
Charles Hudson：我认为社交游戏在接下来几年都呈上升发展趋势。近几年，Zynga, Playdom, Playfish和CrowdStar等多家大型社交游戏公司进驻Facebook社交网站。未来我们将看见更多的手机社交游戏公司和非Facebook社交游戏公司盛行于广阔的互联网领域。我相信未来两年Facebook仍会在社交游戏领域占有重要地位，但同时也会出现其他有趣的渠道拓宽社交游戏。
Charles Hudson：这个问题我不便回答，因为我曾经在谷歌工作过一段时日，并且与其中很多工作人员关系不错。但话说回来，谷歌作为互联网的顶尖公司有很多其他公司无法比拟的业内财富。Gmial和Google Chat应用为其提供了基本的社交图谱
Charles Hudson：一直以来Zynga在社交游戏领域占据着优势地位。但如果有关注Inside Social Games每月发布的热门游戏排行的话，我们会发现虽然Zynga公司旗下游戏仍然占据着前十名，但RockYou, Digital Chocolate, CrowdStar, Wooga和ZipZapPlay等公司的游戏也榜上有名。其中我十分看好Digital Chocolate和Kabam。这两家公司近年来开发了不少有趣的游戏，业绩也十分不错。
Charles Hudson：当在Gaia Online工作时，我首次接触了虚拟商品。由于Facebook虚拟世界预付卡是实现营收的主要方式，因此当玩家持续在某些社交游戏花费大量时间时，品牌就会通过各种创新方式与游戏开发公司展开合作。这样的合作方式历来已久。
Charles Hudson: 这是一个很宏观的问题，目前我们已经见识过了几个相结合的案例，foursquare在这方面的尝试相当早，而Gowalla和SCVNGR也在着力推动这个领域的市场发展。但是迄今为止位置信息服务看起来更适合于智能手机用户。现在一些有远见的手机游戏开发者已经成功把位置服务的因素嫁接到游戏设置当中。
Charles Hudson：我认为小型游戏开发商不应该由于Zynga所面临的问题而排斥Facebook。我可以引用两个十分有力的例子。首先ZipZapPlay就凭借着一款核心游戏成为了Facebook网站上一家成功的独立游戏开发商；另外还有A Bit Luck，该公司开发的创新式游戏Lucky Train也业绩斐然。 因此，小型游戏开发商仍有机会在Facebook平台上成就一番作为。当然，除了Facebook，许多社交网站也值得游戏开发商多加尝试。然而当开发商准备在其他社交网站发布游戏之前，开发商务必对该网站的用户数、货币化潜力和长期性进行一番综合考量。（本文由游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，转载请注明：游戏邦）
When it comes to social gaming Charles Hudson is one of the leading experts. After working for Google and Gaia Online he became VP of Business Development at Serious Business, a leading social games producer that was acquired by Zynga in February 2010. Leveraging his industry experience, he successfully established technology conferences focusing on the intersection of gaming and social media like the Virtual Goods Summit and the Social Gaming Summit. This week these two conferences will also be held in London for the first time (11th-12th November 2010). We talked to Charles about his expectations for the conferences as well as his views on the hottest topics in the social gaming industry and gained some highly interesting insights:
SocialGamesObserver: This week the Social Gaming Summit will be held in Europe for the first time, what can we expect from the premiere?
Charles Hudson: I’m really excited about the premier version of the Social Gaming Summit in Europe. I think the team has done a great job of pulling together speakers and panelists who can address the key issues facing companies who are actively building social games or contemplating entering the space. More than anything, I think there are a few key issues on the mind of executives and developers in the space. First, what will Facebook do with Facebook Credits and what does that mean for the ecosystem? Second, what is the outlook for independent developers – is it game on or game over for them? Last but not least, what are the opportunities to get traction outside of the Facebook ecosystem? More than anything, I’m looking forward to a lively set of panels and talks about the current state of the market and what the future holds.
SGO: What is your outlook on the European social gaming industry?
Charles Hudson: Europe has been a really fertile ground for games in general. There are a number of really great European companies, including Wooga, zSlide, Applifier, and others who are well-known in the social gaming space. There are also a large number of firms in the casual and hardcore games space with a lot of potential to make a splash in the social games space. With Bigpoint, Gameforge, Jagex, Miniclip, and other key players calling Europe home, I’m optimistic that we’ll continue to see innovative social games companies from Europe.
SGO: Where do you see the industry two years from now?
Charles Hudson: I think that social gaming has really evolved in the last few years. We’ve seen the establishment of a few big, powerful companies on the Facebook platform in Zynga Playdom, Playfish, and CrowdStar. Going forward, I do believe we’ll begin to see the continued emergence of mobile social gaming and off-Facebook social games companies who thrive and prosper on the open Internet. Two years from now, I think Facebook will still be a big part of the story, but there will be many other interesting threads that expand the conversation around social gaming.
SGO: Google’s entry in social games is frequently referred to as the “worst kept secret in the industry”. What is your best estimate on what this project is going to look like?
Charles Hudson: This is hard for me to answer – I used to work at Google and still have friends who work there. But stepping back , Google has a lot of assets to bring to bear. They are still a top Internet destination. They have a rudimentary social graph with Gmail and Google Chat – they certainly have some sense of who your friends are and how often you communicate with them. They have a very talented engineering team. They also have an emerging cross-platform play with Android – it will be a key part of Google TV and is already relevant on mobile phones. And if you look at their most recent acquisitions, they’ve really beefed up their social capabilities. Based on what I know about the teams at Slide, Jambool, and Socialdeck, they have a really strong set of capabilities in terms of cross-platform social games and monetization expertise. Whatever Google decides to do, I expect it to leverage their cross-platform, multi-platform footprint and to offer an alternative for social games developers to reach consumers on new devices and platforms in new ways.
SGO: How do you expect the Google vs. Facebook clash to unfold?
Charles Hudson: I think it would be hard for anyone, even Google, to stand up a second social network to rival Facebook in term of reach and ubiquity. While I do think games are a key area of competition for the two companies, I think the largest, most pressing area of co-opetition for the two companies is around mobile. It will be very interesting to see how they decide to partner or compete on the mobile front. It’s obviously a key area for both companies.
SGO: As Zynga kcontinues to dominate the industry, who do you think has the potential to be the player of the year in 2011?
Charles Hudson: Zynga has a very strong position in the industry. But just look at the list of top games that Inside Social Games compiles every month. While Zynga continues to dominate the top 10, we continue to see companies like RockYou, Digital Chocolate, CrowdStar, Wooga, ZipZapPlay, and others continue to show up on those lists. I’m particularly optimistic about the prospects for Digital Chocolate and Kabam – they’re both doing very well and continuing to build really interesting games.
SGO: Advertising is still an underdeveloped channel to monetize social games, what potential do you see in in-game ads?
Charles Hudson: I think in-game ads will continue to be tough. Most game players are more interested in playing games than clicking on ads. That being said, I’m really interested in tracking what companies such as AppSavvy have been able to do with Zynga and how other brands will find ways to successfully integrate themselves with successful social games.
SGO: Virtual Goods in 7Eleven stores and Facebook Credits Gift Cards are just the beginning. How will virtual currency spread into the “real world”?
Charles Hudson: I started my life in virtual goods working at Gaia Online. For most of the off-Facebook virtual worlds prepaid cards have been a key way to generate revenue. At the end of the day, so long as consumers continue to spend more time playing social games, brands (offline and online) will look for innovative ways to partner with social games companies. We are in the early days of seeing this all play out.
SGO: How will advancing location-based services change the social gaming landscape?
Charles Hudson: That is a huge question. To date, we’ve seen some really early experimentation with social games and location. Foursquare has done some really early and interesting work in this area. I believe that Gowalla and SCVNGR are also pushing the ball forward here. But to date, location-based services seem to have resonated most strongly with the most tech-savvy smartphone users. For a location-based game to really take off, it will have to strike a chord with a more mainstream smartphone audience. Given that games continue to be a top category within smartphone applications, there’s clearly opportunity for a clever developer who can marry location with a strong game mechanic.
SGO: Would you advise small developers to try their luck on Facebook or to explore alternative social networks?
Charles Hudson: I think it would be a mistake for small developers to write off Facebook just because of the presence of larger developers such as Zynga. There are two really strong examples I can cite. First, I think ZipZapPlay has done a fantastic job establishing itself as a very successful independent developer on the back of one core title. Second, I’d highlight A Bit Luck, which has done a fantastic job with Lucky Train – it’s a very innovative title that has done well. There continue to be interesting opportunities for small developers to build real hits on the Facebook platform.
With all that being said, there are other networks worthy of focus and energy. For any developer contemplating building games on other networks, it’s important to consider the overall opportunity in terms of total user opportunity, monetization potential, and long-term viability. （Source：Socialgamesobserver）