If you haven't been at GDC or paying attention to the market for the last year, you might not know that Farmville (a game on the popular social media platform Facebook) has between 75 and 80 mil monthly users. You might not know that iPhone apps and iPad apps have become the "big" market to reach. I used to scoff at those games. When Mafia Wars hit MySpace I was like, "No way am I going to play that, let alone try to design something comparable." Now, anyone who ignores the success of the Social Media platform would be foolish at the very least.
There are plenty of developers that want a piece of the social media or mobile media gravy train. Most industry leaders have cautioned against an independent developer spreading their focus across too many markets. Simultaneously, producers of AAA titles are trying to figure out how to remain relevant in the modern gaming market.
I tend to agree with Andy McNamara, Editor-in-Chief of Game Informer magazine, "Hollywood delivers both blockbuster movies and low-budget TV programming. So can games."
There are so many doors into the industry for independent developers that a company could find themselves unable to choose one door to go through. Although the future of gaming as an industry may be wide open, the future of each developer will be more of a singular path. This market or that. Do too much and you'll lose your ass. Too little and no one will take your company seriously. Focus on the market you have access to, and the games your team will enjoy making.
Social games may be making a lot of noise as a new market, but don't forget that Modern Warfare 2 made 1 billion dollars last year! There is a place for you in the market. Take it! Decide what need your company can fill and fill it. Now more than ever is the time when developers can decide to whom, exactly, they want to cater. I say cater my friends, cater! Demographic is the name of the game and your game just got a whole... lot... bigger.