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TheStreet Open House

Facebook, the Gaming Network

But to a panel of leading-edge game developers covered by Thomas Claburn of Information Week, Facebook is fading and developers are fleeing its toxic "get rich quick" mentality. Facebook's days as the social gaming frontier are over, according to these developers, and the big growth will come elsewhere.

You can call that whinging, but history shows investors need to listen closely. It's not just the games and the game companies that change quickly but the gaming platforms.

Just 15 years ago David Sheff wrote in "Game Over" about how Nintendo had taken over the market and would dominate for years. Nintendo has since risen and fallen a number of times, and currently its Wii U game console is the industry's "disaster of the year," as even the WiiUDaily admits.

Nintendo was eclipsed by the Sony (SNE) PlayStation, which was eclipsed in the U.S. by the Microsoft Xbox.

Microsoft itself built a big market in PC games that played like console games, and the leader in that business is Valve Software, whose Steam platform manages distribution but is now threatened by Microsoft's own Appstore, which wants to emulate Apple (AAPL) and take over that end of the business. (Thus Valve is building its own console, the Steam Box.)


What Facebook is trying to do is climb up the stack of complexity, from the low-end casual and social games played by my daughter to the high-end console strategy games played by my son. All I can say is if it can get those two together it will be a first. And, like a family dinner, it won't last.

At the time of publication, the author was long YHOO, NWS and AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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