As Guba sat down I asked him why he wanted to go from making AAA game titles with studios like Bioware and Sony to opening his own studio in Manchester making a social game and that I found it, in my opinion, a complete turnaround compared to what he was doing before.
“The social side of gaming interests me, how people interact on Facebook interests me, but most of all it’s going to be the way to make a successful games studio now, it is the future for gaming.”
Guba took a pause to have a drink from his pint and a drag from his cigarette then turned to address programmer John. “Do you remember that big meet we had in Sony about how they saw Social gaming and interaction with social networks the future of gaming?”, John Nodded his head as confirmation that he remembered that meeting.
“Well I agree with what they were saying. Do you know who Zynga are?” Guba asked, I responded with a resounding “Yes”.
Those of you that don’t know Zynga are the largest social games company in the world, they make titles like Farm Ville and 38% off all gamers on Facebook play their games.
“Guess how much they are worth” said Guba, “A few million I guess” I responded with.
“$4 billion, and not only that but Farm Ville alone earns them around $100 million in micro transactions that does not include other games that they do, which might not be as popular but still earns them a lot of money such as Mafia Wars and Fish Ville”
Guba went into more detail about how there are more casual gamers around the world, more mobile phone devices to tap into over both computers and games consoles and that it makes common sense to make games for Social networks.
“Its all been done before” commented Guba “There is nothing new in the console or PC market, I didn’t like the last Modern Warfare, or Call of Duty, They are all the same and I bet the next one in the series is the same old…”.
“How about games like Civilization, I saw that you've played that before” I asked.
Guba Replied “There will always be games like that in the market, it’s a niche market that will always do well, but I think that big games companies doing AAA titles are not feasible any more. When Facebook values Zynga’s contribution to their earnings around £500 million it is something that the games industry cannot ignore, those kind of numbers in a recession are amazing”.
This is the point that I got pretty disheartened as I mentioned in my previous blogs I’m a massive gamer at heart and hearing this from a veteran in the business is one straight way to doom a pretty big part of my life.
I think that Guba could see that I was a little down about his last comment and said “I think that Steam has helped the games industry a lot, being able to buy and deliver games at the touch of a button has helped a lot but you will see a lot of companies concentrating on social game development. Smaller companies making bigger profits is the way that shareholders want to see development”.
While I do agree with what Guba was saying I also think that there is a lot that he was ignoring, things that are happening in the industry and I can’t blame him, even though he wouldn’t talk about his game I could see that he was very excited about getting it out there to the public and so a little biased in his views.
In the final part of my blog I will look at the industry now and how true Guba’s comments are in relation to its current state.