EA: Zynga Collapse Doesn’t Mean Social Gaming Dead

In the wake of yesterday’s excessively brutal layoffs at Zynga – they eviscerated their Boston, Austin and Chicago offices, and shamelessly did so during the Apple event in hopes the news wouldn’t notice (a particularly clueless decision from a company whose business model depends on people sharing on social networks) – it’s tempting to declare that the era of social gaming is coming to an end. And why not? The disgusting overvaluation of Zynga has resulted in one of the fastest stock value declines in recent memory, the recent decision by Bigpoint to cease US operations, everything seems to point to the Social Gaming bubble having finally popped.

But not so fast! If you’re a company bent on making all games fit into the social platform whether or not it even makes sense, then you probably have a vested interest in the idea that social gaming will in fact prevail. Enter EA, who famously has revealed that they don’t want to make games that don’t have multiplayer, to the point that they’re actually releasing a game from a series in which the single player experience is key to the fun and removing it entirely. They clearly see social gaming as the future (we can Discuss theiR Motives another time,) so it makes sense they’re seeing the Zynga shrink in a different light than, well, everyone else.

Speaking to CVG, EA’s Peter Moore expressed the company position that the lamentations are overblown. “We have watched how social gaming really caught everyone’s imagination and it was the lead story for the industry for a while, and it may have got over-hyped,” he said. However, “expectations may have ran ahead of what was realistic. But on the downside, people are exaggerating the decline. I think the naysayers and the doom mongers are over-exaggerating. We see a strong future for social gaming. It’s going to evolve, it’s on platforms that are clearly moving towards mobile very quickly.”

I admit I’m skeptical. EA, and fellow industry bigwigs, seem to long for a day when they don’t need to develop any single player content, when every aspect of their business is monetized to the point of absurdity. Of course, they could also just LOVE social gaming features and desperately want them to thrive. Either way, I think that platform has limits; it will most definitely not become the industry standard.

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3 Comments on EA: Zynga Collapse Doesn’t Mean Social Gaming Dead

JawaEsteban

On October 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

At first, EA’s insistence on social gaming being the great utopian future we’re all heading towards was just sadly comical. Kinda like watching somebody walk into a glass door whilst carrying a cup of coffee for the second time in the same day.
Now, despite the entire bubble crumbling around them in a manner that would be painfully apparent to your average rhesus monkey (or advanced Labrador retriever), their continued insistence on Facebook gaming and its ilk being the wave of the future is just exceedingly annoying. Seriously, they’re either delusional to the point that the state should consider protective mental custody, or they’re being willfully ignorant.
It’s over, Pete. Give it up already.

R.J.

On October 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

For some reason, EA seems to think it has found the key to making social gaming work where Zynga has struggled, but it looks like EA is heading right into the same pitfall. EA’s overt efforts to capture the interest of people who don’t really play games have spread and hindered solid single-player games. One of Zynga’s biggest problems was that it put all its eggs into one basket and for some reason didn’t see that people that weren’t into games might get bored with them relatively quickly. While EA does still have other games to support whatever social gaming plans it has, its initiative to force MP/social aspects into everything seems like it is looking to erode the support structure that could have kept their more socially oriented products afloat in rough patches.

If EA really wants to capture that social market, it needs to maintain a more solid boundary between the “core” and the “casual.” Instead of forcing a mixture, just let the developers focus on their strengths.

gasmaskangel

On October 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Oh EA. You know whenever I feel like I’ve just done something stupid I can just look to EA and say “well at least I don’t waste time and money trying to convince the world that I’m not a great bumbling idiot and only succeed in also looking like a dishonest bumbling idiot.”

One day I’m certain that EA’s short sightedness and utter lack of an ethical core will spell it’s doom, and I feel sorry for all of the little guys trapped in it’s shadow who will be metaphorically crushed by the falling debris when all they wanted to do was make games.