The social gaming sphere is a unique one in the gaming field, and it’s been a vaccum mostly filed with new companies, not older publishers. PopCap Games’ Chief Creative Officer Jason Kapalka says this is because they aren’t ready for a renewed focus on social and mobile games.
“FarmVille is probably more of a WoW-killer than the Old Republic,” said Kapalka, noting that many gamers don’t have the free time they used to have. “I think increasingly a lot of people are in that position, and games have to evolve to meet that need. Whether it’s a game like FarmVille or Bejewelled Blitz, or a lot of mobile games that have the same idea of ‘I have it wherever I go, I can play short games on it.’ The game adapting to your schedule, rather than you trying to conform to the game’s demands.
“Those are the kinds of the kinds of games that are probably going to be the big scary ones as far as the current guys like Blizzard, Activision, and EA are concerned. They’re going to be fighting them on unequal terms, like asymmetric warfare, he continued. “So FarmVille versus WoW doesn’t seem like a fair match, but they’re not fighting on the same ground, they’re fighting in very different ways. To date, a lot of the bigger companies haven’t shown that they really understand that, or are capable of adapting to it.”
Kapalka also seemed doubtful about the future of big budget subscription MMORPGS. “I think the vibe I’m getting certainly is that people are really deciding that MMOs are a bad place to do business, he said “There’s gonna be one or two last gasps probably [Star Wars] The Old Republic will be, well . . . I know it’s a big, expensive project, and if that under-performs, that’ll probably be the last time someone decides to spend $100 million on a WoW-killer.”