Q: Hi, how are you? What is your next game? I am not a very good interviewer.
I am ok. I am now making a social game. And by social I mean facebook. Old people still think all games involving more than one player is social, but apparently old people are wrong. Hence I am making a facebook game.
Q: Umm.. why?
Mainly because making facebook games is also my day job. And I often have these ideas that would be flat out rejected if I suggest them at work (I am not very convincing). So I try them out instead on the games I make during my free time.
Q: So like most of your games, this one is another experiment.
Yes. Wait a minute, I didn’t make as much games than I planned this year. In fact, I only released one game. The rest were spectacular failures. I also became a professional game developer and got involved in some commercial projects so I have an excuse in not releasing as many games as planned.
But yes, this is another experiment.
Q: Experiment on what, exactly?
Goal #1, this is a technical experiment. Basically poking and prodding on the technology to see what it can and can’t do.
Second, the Facebook landscape is changing. Some say the wild days of the cheap viral facebook game are over and, based on the current top games, content and gameplay are becoming benchmarks for success. I think in the coming months we are going to see the cheap facebook games flounder. Zynga was in the best position to start that trend and I commend them for doing just that. First FrontierVille and now with CityVille, their games are starting to get deeper/richer and most game companies are also doing the same.
I think Facebook itself has something to do with it — the platform now limiting viral channels and allowing non-obtrusive ways to enjoy Facebook apps.
As a web developer I always hated app spam and black hat viral tactics with a passion. Same way I hate SEO and social ‘marketers’.
But now with these changes in Facebook and the maturing taste of the gamers in it I feel that I can now dabble into social games without doing anything that would make me feel dirty or dishonest. Whether the game I made fails or succeed it did so because of the games merits and not because I failed to spam more friends.
To make a successful game with as little ‘spam’ as possible, that’s goal #2. Every ‘social’ aspect of the game should be connected to the game itself.
Q: But aren’t most of the new games in Facebook relying on organic means too? Like you said, Facebook is changing.
Dude, exactly my point. The new games that are coming out will rely on at least gameplay and production value. That’s the same criteria we judge PC and XBOX games with!
And I’m not that into competing with other games anyway. So yes, becoming the top 10 Facebook game isn’t my goal #3.
Q: So what is goal #3?
This interview is now risking tl:dr status so I’ll save that for part 2.