Zynga Boss Proves He’s Totally Out Of Touch With Games

Zynga Boss Proves He’s Totally Out Of Touch With Games
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“Right now, I’m pretty bored with all games.” That’s Mark Pincus, founder of Farmville company Zynga, as he spoke with an assemblage of tech entrepreneurs in Israel last night. Bored? More like not paying attention. It’s an incredibly exciting time in game development now, Mr. Pincus. All you need to do to see that is take a look around. Here’s some help.

The Wall Street Journal article where that quote came from notes that Pincus had the chance to correct or elaborate on his statement but didn’t. That’s a bit worrisome for a man in his position. Sure, Pincus may have shifted his role at the company after former Xbox head Don Mattrick became CEO but games are supposed to be Zynga’s lifeblood. It’s troubling to think that he hasn’t overheard some developers in his company’s ever-shrinking ranks talking about, say, The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V or Tomb Raider. At least drop a few names to keep up appearances, Mark!

Ok, yes: Pincus never seemed like the kind of guy who sits down at a PC or a game console every night. But he’s missing a whole lot of important developments. Even the most AAA-averse industry folks should be aware of things like Call of Duty: Strike Team, the iFruit companion app for GTA V or Watch Dogs‘ mobile-vs-console asymmetrical multiplayer.

And, of course, there’s a wave of new hardware coming — the PS4, Xbox One, Valve’s Steam Machines and their crazy controller — that could change the way video games manifest themselves in the living room.

Zynga’s shaky future depends on getting big wins in the mobile space. So games like Infinity Blade III or Where’s My Water 2 should be on his radar, too. And if he wants to reckon with the creative possibilities of game-making, then releases like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Gone Home, and Papers, Please should be on Pincus’ agenda.

Bottom line: there’s loads of sharp, creative stuff happening in games now. Maybe, just maybe, Zynga wouldn’t be in such a terrible state — trading just below $US4/share after an initial $US10/valuation — if its top guy was more excited about games.

[The Wall Street Journal]

Photo by Jeff Chiu / AP Photo


  • I’m with him. Games suck and should only be used as a tool to suck the money dry from those idiots who like to sit in front of a screen when they could be thinking of the next micro-transaction scam to pull off

      • Notice how it didn’t end with a full stop? That’s because there’s a DLC available if you want to read the rest of the sentence. 😉

          • Then I guess it’s probably just due to server issues. In the meantime we suggest you go back to the single player experience of reading a book while we investigate! 😛

          • I promise to fix everything in upcoming patches, in the meantime keep buying season passes and providing feedback as this comment went live when it really needed more beta testing

          • If you wait till January 2014 to up vote, you can pick it up for 99c when it goes on special!

            EDIT: Which makes no sense. I mean to say that I’ll just wait till January to pay you 99c. 😛

  • His quote was that games are boring to him – he hasn’t found something that was/is as addictive as Farmville.

    He’s right. Sure, GTAV is awesome, but how many people will be playing that at the same level three months from now? TLoU is fantastic – but generally, you play it once and then maybe dabble in multiplayer – you don’t play it two, three times a day for several months.

    I know everyone likes to laugh at Zynga, and how they represented the detested casual section of the market, but his point – his FULL point – has validity.

    And maybe he’s just caring about casual games for now, considering that’s his entire business.

    • He did say “all” games, so he’s referring to casual as well as core games. Probably board games and pen-and-paper RPGs, too.
      That last part probably depends on context…
      It may just be because he’s part of the industry he’s become exhaused with the idea and doesn’t have a good work/life seperation.
      Or it’s the reason Zynga have been systematically draining the life and progress out of games for several years now.

      • Yup.

        They make quick-to-learn five-minutes-at-a-time Facebook games that have pay-to-speed options and are mainly targeted at non-core gamers, non-gamers, or those stuck at work and can only access Facebook.

        Which is fine. That’s their market. It’s fickle and it’s shrunk, but w/e.

        That said, they made a motza because they were addictive as hell, kind of like Cookie Clicker. I’m not sure how many games have that level of addictiveness and capitalisation, let alone audience reach anymore. Farmville was HUGE.

    • But even then…Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Temple Run, Subway Surf, SongPop, any decent TD game…

      • Right!

        So you could argue that there are other games that can achieve the same level of addictiveness – which was the guy’s point. He’s saying there’s no addictive games, not any he finds exciting, anyway.

        But Evan’s run a line here that “Tomb Raider was exciting. YOU SUCK. [email protected]!”. I jsut find it sucky to take *part* of what he said and complain about it, and not the whole sentence.

        Irrespective of the validity of that point, of course 🙂 It’s the sloppy reporting/arguing that’s irking me.

  • I am so board that i have bought over 150 games so far for my PS3 and i am still need to pick up another 17 some of which have not been released yet.

  • I’m with Mark on this.
    I haven’t been excited by a new release since Deus Ex came out, and even that was a little bit of a let down.
    Everything now basically boils down to a rehash of last years trash. Cod, battlefield, Mario, sports games, gta, etc, etc, etc
    Even the new consoles aren’t exciting because all they are is cut down pcs sold cheap, and they are so similar in hardware, it’s ridiculous. Where is the flair.

    AAA titles are all that seem to matter because teenagers only care about them.

    Guys, seriously just sit back and think about the last time you actually amazed by a game. My guess is that it’s been few and far between

    • I have been completely amazed by the quality and quantity of compelling and innovative games in 2012/2013 and even more excited for what’s to come of 2013/2014.

      Zynga’s just falling behind is all.. they’ll crawl back I’m sure.. full of dlc wonders.. :/

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