Zynga game design head: 'We're viral, but true social ... is still ahead'

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Zynga Bob BatesA little humility from the largest social game maker around can go a long way. Today's dose of reality is courtesy of Zynga CCO of external studios Bob Bates, during an interview with GamesIndustry International. The game design veteran who worked on Zynga hits Empires & Allies and (flops like) Mafia Wars 2 conceded that it hasn't cracked the code for truly social gaming just yet.

"The thing that makes this different from everything we've done before really is the social element. We're still in the infancy of understanding what's possible and what it really means for a game to be social," Bates told GamesIndustry International. "Right now we're viral, but true social, where you feel like you're actually playing with your friends, not 'I'm playing here, he's playing there' is still ahead."

Bates went on to say that achieving the sense of actually playing together with friends in social games is a challenge that he looks to overcome with Zynga. The designer admitted that he doesn't know enough about the space yet to make that happen, but thinks that "finding ways to do those kinds of things would be very, very cool," Bates told the news site.

It's refreshing to hear the biggest player in social games admit that even it doesn't know everything. Bates had plenty more interesting factoids to reveal about his time with Zynga, so be sure to check out the feature in full here.

Are you glad that Zynga finally admitted it's not the end-all, be-all in social games? What is the key to truly social games? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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