Playdom co-founder: Facebook farming games aren't social games

Playdom Rick Thompson
Playdom Rick Thompson

Rick Thompson, co-founder of Disney-owned social game studio Playdom, is not happy with the lot of social games. During an interview with All Things Digital (ATD), Thompson was asked if he finds many Facebook games enjoyable. "I think they are fairly scarce," Thompson told ATD. While he did shout out to games like Kixeye's Backyard Monsters and Gardens of Time by his own former company, Thompson said that the established powers in social games are having a hard time raising the bar.

"I tend to think that those will not be very interesting in another two years, and they aren't social games," Thompson said to ATD, referring specifically to the myriad of Facebook games that insist on farming mechanics. "They are single-player games with the possibility of visiting your friend's aquarium – that's not social." (And you should already know just where Thompson is pointing.)

Despite this, Thompson says that the maturity of Facebook games is leaps and bounds beyond what it was just three years ago, mostly because of how much it costs developers to acquire new users ever since Facebook changed things up. But Thompson--now a social gaming veteran that has invested in companies like Funzio of Crime City fame to Idle Games--still sees companies that focus primarily on increasing players numbers as, well, doing it wrong.

Thompson isn't alone here, either. A number of analysts and designers alike are calling the industry out. Most recently, Eedar analyst Jesse Divnich claimed that we're on the verge of the next generation of social games. Designers like Braid creator Jonathan Blow, however, simply see the current lot of Facebook games as exploitative and not much more. (And we all know how Ian Bogost feels about the games.) Sadly, it likely won't be until arguably forward-thinking games like IdleWorship become as profitable as, say, FarmVille that Facebook games begin to agree with Thompson's sentiments on a wide scale.

Do you agree that the current lot of top Facebook games lack real social gameplay? What do you think it will take until that becomes a reality in the top 10? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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