What is the value of video gaming? And how should we be paying for the privilege? Five, maybe ten, years ago the answer to that question was simple and static - nowadays? It's completely in flux. As more and more titles move towards the free-to-play model, Zynga has now put its two cents in and, predictably, is claiming that games should be free.
As Zynga prepares to issue stock, Zynga owner Mark Pincus addressed "potential Zynga shareholders" and attempted to sell the vision of Zynga as a company.
Here's what was said...
Games should be accessible to everyone, anywhere, any time. From the beginning, we have strived to lower the barriers to play in people’s lives. We want to build games to play with our parents, our children, our co-workers and our best friends.
Games should be social. Every week our teams test new features to make our games more social. Historically, our players have created over 4 billion neighbor connections. And, currently, our 60 million daily active users interact with each other 416 million times a day.
Games should be free. Free games are more social because they’re more accessible to everyone. We’ve also found them to be more profitable. We have created a new kind of customer relationship with new economics—free first, high satisfaction, pay optional. This model aligns shareholder value with delivering the best player experience.
Games should be data driven. Our culture combines the creative with the analytical. We develop and operate our games as live services with daily, metrics-based player feedback. This allows us to continually iterate, innovate and invest in the content our players love.
Games should do good. We want to help the world while doing our day jobs. Through Zynga.org our players have purchased social goods, raising more than $10 million for those in need from tornado-stricken communities in Alabama to earthquake survivors in Haiti. With programs like our Sweet Seeds for Haiti, our players have touched people around the world.
It's an interesting read, particularly in the context of discussion from Iwata and others, who worry about the value of video games being reduced by companies like Zynga, and the relatively cheap cost of mobile gaming. As a consumer I'm tempted to say 'the cheaper the better' - but is that really viable in the long term?
Zynga: 'Games Should Be Free' [Industry Gamers]