A lot of people now equate ‘game on Facebook’ to ‘spammy piece of shit,’ which I don’t think is an unfair or inaccurate estimation of the situation
Scott Jon Siegel, quoted at Gamasutra on social gaming
Gamasutra is moving into one of the things they do really well, which is looking at how things unfolded in some aspect of the gaming industry in hindsight by pulling in key players and getting them to talk about their experiences.
The topic of the moment is social gaming… which pretty much means games on Facebook… and articles like the one above are starting to show up to examine the phenomena.
Of course, it is tough to pick just one quote out of that article. Gems abound, such as:
any Facebook game he tries will be poorly designed, lack invention, try to trick him into spending money and spamming friends, and start emailing him regularly without permission
And the especially damming:
You had a huge population of product managers, game designers, and developers making games that they themselves didn’t like
You hear a lot of “game studios are businesses” and “they have to make money” when anybody complains about monetization in games. Those sentiments are true enough, if not exactly a defense against any particularly odious money making scheme. But when your studio becomes all about the money and cashing in and being the next Zynga, well, something is wrong.
And a lot of the blame in the article goes on Zynga, both for their questionable business practices as well as for their huge initial success attracting copycats and wooing Facebook to tie themselves to the Zynga model. In the end, so-called social gaming went from a giant cash cow, to a more modest one that now requires some originality to stand out. You can still make money. Look at Candy Crush Saga.
An interesting read, and one I am sure some people will take a great deal of satisfaction in. “I told you so!” should spring to mind for some.
Extra Credit Question: Lord British was telling people they would be stupid not to make an MMO when World of Warcraft was the big, big thing. He then jumped on the social gaming bandwagon and even attempted to hitch his star to Zynga at one point. Now he has a crowd-funded project. What does that say about crowd-funding?