Zynga is the king of Facebook games, but the company is very dependent on the social platform. Eventually, however, they want to dominate in the mobile space as well.
“[Mobile] is something that we actively care about, think about. It’s the major place where we think the future is,” said Zynga chief game designer Brian Reynolds.”The reason that Zynga isn’t ginormous on mobile yet is because the friction of social networking is still high on mobile. It’s ironic because when you think about your phone, it should be an inherently social device. It’s got your contacts. You can text. You e-mail people. You talk to them. It’s a hub; it’s a social hub. And people use it as a social hub but it’s missing some of the critical wiring that does the magic that Facebook does.
“What Facebook is doing very efficiently is letting you communicate with your more distant friends, said Reynolds. Sometimes it’s also a way to show pictures to mom, but I would’ve called mom anyway or e-mailed the pictures, right At a certain point – and maybe it even made it faster – I can post pictures that all my relatives can see instead of e-mailing them one at a time and forgetting who. And then there’s the people at the lower end of the social, the more attenuated distant relationships – people from college or high school, people that I don’t keep in touch with as well, that I might not keep in touch with at all if not for Facebook. What I found when Facebook exploded a few years ago, suddenly people that I hadn’t kept in touch with at all for decades I was back in touch with.”
“So when mobile gets to the point where I can eliminate all that friction – so I can broadcast something to my friends, for example – [that’s when we’ll dive in], he added. Social games are about expressing myself in front of my friends and part of the value of investing in the play is the fact that I know my friends are going to see my farm and I’m going to help them and all my friends are going to be there. Right now there’s a lot of extra friction because it’s not just auto-wired in – which is the way the web used to be, before Facebook.
“We’re thinking very carefully about it and we are working with appropriate partners; there are people that are making platforms or have platforms and want to make it more social. We work with them . . . Or they have social platforms and they want to make them more mobile, whatever direction they want to go,” Reynolds concluded.