The current popularity of social gaming on Facebook and other connected websites is likely to merge with more traditional hardcore experiences and help evolve the games market further, according to Autodesk's Marc Stevens.
While some question the longevity and viability of social platforms such as Facebook and MySpace, Stevens said he expects as the social market matures it will become integrated into the bigger budget gaming experiences, as well as remain an outlet for smaller talent to get noticed.
"I think that over time this stuff is going to merge together. There will be different distribution mechanisms for the content, but in the end good content is good content... the people with good content will drive the users towards it," said Stevens in an interview published today.
His thoughts echo one of the main themes of last week's Nordic Game conference, where developers usually associated with more hardcore experiences had migrated to social gaming, and are now expecting the two forms of entertainment to come together.
"We're seeing this first wave of games for handheld and social networking, and the production values for those will go up over time," offered Stevens. "The hardware is going to get better - the people that are making these games, they're learning too.
"Their skills are going to increase, and they'll bring in more... attaching those to well-known properties, whether it's a film or something else, companies are looking at ways they can monetise their IP in a lot of different places."
Some of the bigger publishers are already trying to merge the two – Sid Meier is currently building a Facebook version of Civilization and Activision's upcoming racer Blur's USP is its social networking integration.
And Stevens also sees it as a big growth area for Autodesk, despite being associated with the blockbusters in the videogame market.
"It's going to be an important market for us moving forwards. It's something we're very interested in, he said.
The full interview with Stevens, where he also discusses the upturn in the economy and the Uncanny Valley, can be read here.