Social Gaming Network is by one measure the third largest distributor of Facebook apps, and just last week it announced a fresh investment from Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos. Like the other big ones, such as Slide, RockYou and Zynga (which just raised $29 million), its fortunes depend on the moves made by Zuckerberg and his team. I spoke this afternoon with CEO Shervin Pishevar on where he sees the whole crazy space going, and what some of the changes at Facebook potentially mean to SGN. Note, we spoke before the Zuckerberg keynote, but there were no huge surprises, so we covered the key things:
– Tiered status: This was one of the major pieces of news made official today, that Facebook would start giving priority to certain high quality apps. “In terms of tiered status as it’s based on actual applications and games that are following the terms of service and are benefiting the platform… it’s a positive thing, as we’ve been a good citizen.” Overall, Pishevar said he supported Facebook’s efforts to cut down on spam or shady tactics: “The profile changes and the policy changes are things that I support as it’s creating a holistic ecosystem where developers and companies can build a sustainable business models.” Of course, we’d expect a lot of companies to say the same thing — that they support cleaning up the platform and reducing spam — even the ones that have benefited from the shadier viral tactics.
– Payment system: Though rumored to be coming, Facebook did not announce a new payment platform: “Once Facebook launches it, we’re pretty excited about it, because our whole model is heavily centered around virtual payments… being able to work directly with Facebook is a win-win; it makes sense for Facebook to also profit from the success that it’s created on the platform… Even if they don’t announce anything today, when and if they do announce a payment system, we would be more than happy to utilize it.”
– Funding: Each time one of these companies takes in a massive raise, we’ve noted that some of it may go towards acquisitions, and indeed there has been some consolidation. Pishevar also suggested that the bar is being raised. It’s getting harder and harder for a lone developer to build a game that will be competitive. Instead they need real teams that can build something engaging: “The things that we’re launching this summer are much higher quality productions. We’re investing more in building more in building much higher quality experiences.” As for all the bellyaching from last week about the space, he argued the opposite, that especially with all of the changes against spammy applications, it’s a good time to be building high quality apps. On the funding from Bezos specially, Pishevar cited his admiration of the Amazon CEO, and he suggested that while Amazon understand a user’s characteristics based on the media they consume SGN can start to do similar things based on the games people play, so there’s alignment on that front.