Flash is the dominant engine to develop social games. While I don't think this will change in the near future, what technologies do you see most transformative in this space and do you believe games that require a proprietary plugin can reach the scale of a game like Farmville or is the acquisition friction simply too high?
3 years from now it is very possible that people will be moving away from flash, the way people eventually moved away from Shockwave and other such technologies. Entirely native browser experiences will eventually beat out plugins, but it may take a more time than expected.
But as the social games market is growing, more and more "big" entertainment companies will invest in this area. The main issue for them is regarding workflows and pipelines. Most of those companies are used to 3D games, which means they are employing peoples who design 3D stuff, and program 3D stuff. And those peoples are usually not the same that creates 2D graphics, animations and engines used in "classical" social games.
Also, those companies are tooled for what they do - 3D "AAA" games. They have pipelines regarding those tools. They have proprietary engines to fasten development. They have knowledge and expertise in those fields. But not in the totally different environment of "classical" social games, centered around Flash and web programming.
There is two approaches for them, and I think it is a good guess to expect them to go in both. The first one is to hire talented 2D-graphic, programming and designers peoples, and open up new teams, built for this kind of challenge. The other one is to change the way social gaming is designed.
This is the main reason for the success of Unity, which is a (quite powerful) 3D engine and game development platform for both in-browser applications, Apple devices and PC/Mac. It allows those companies to reuse their people, workflows and tools in this new environment, as well as create "new generation" social games, that may look more appealing to their customers.
I think that in the mid-term future, classical games and social games are going to meet, and there will be "hardcore" social games, as well as "casual" classical games. And technology between the two are going to be close.