'Zynga is making games for accidental gamers,' studio VP says

Zynga Bill Mooney
Zynga Bill Mooney

Look, nobody gets hooked on FarmVille by accident--there's always that friend. Zynga studio VP Bill Mooney (pictured) recently spoke to students at The University of California at Santa Cruz during its Research Review Day about the company's design philosophy. During his talk, titled "Social Games: An Overview and Exploration," Mooney said, "Zynga is making games for accidental gamers," according to IndustryGamers.

The studio head was implying that Zynga doesn't create video games for hardcore or traditional gamers. Sure, that's stating the obvious, but it's vitally important to remember when looking at Zynga's games. They're not exactly technological marvels, accessible to those who just don't get the complexity of controllers and traversing 3D space. But as players progress, they become well-versed in increasingly complex interfaces, thus becoming, well, gamers.

Regardless, social gamers still aren't the same as traditional game fans, and probably never will be. (At least until another friend introduces them to something new.) And because of these "accidental gamers" have a different understanding of what a game should be, Zynga says it caters to that understanding. "You're not shipping a product, you're running an amusement park," Mooney told the students.

And traditional game companies are trying to keep up with that philosophy, wary that even hardcore gamers might yearn for that experience. (Just look at Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty Elite.) "Don't be like work, don't ask too much, be social, help me connect," Mooney said. That, ironically enough, might be the burgeoning industry's greatest challenge, if you ask the right folks.

[Image Credit: Josh Lowensohn (CNET)]

What do you expect from your social games these days? Have you come to expect this level of "connectedness" from other games or services, too? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.

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