The battle over smart phone patents has been widely reported in the media, as industry giants, such as Apple and Samsung, battle for dominance, but as I describe, another technology could be poised for a similar patent battle – Social Gaming. Only a few years ago hardly anyone knew what Social Gaming was, now the Social Gaming market will surpass $1 billion in sales this year with millions of Americans expected to be playing games such as “Farmville” and “Zuma Blitz.” While still a fraction of the overall $25 billion video game industry, the lower costs and increased accessibility on smart phones present a bright future for online gaming companies. Based on the rising number of users and advertisers, and willingness of players to purchase virtual items that enhance the gaming experience, most people think that the industry will continue to grow rapidly. However, a number of smaller companies are suing the industry leaders for patent infringement. In what could be a lesson for other companies striving to be the leader in a competitive high technology field, sales are important, but so is a strong patent portfolio that can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes. The industry leader in Social Gaming, Zynga, may be learning this lesson the hard way.
If you’re interested in learning about recent developments in smart phone patent litigation and how they may be an indicator of coming patent battles in the Social Gaming arena, please listen to my podcast: