"To most developers, 'social' is a means to an end"
"I've heard Facebook wants to start reaching out to indies, but I'm pretty skeptical," says Cancienne. "And as a full time indie, I've basically left behind pitching games to people, so while I have no doubt that 'social' is now a bit toxic, it doesn't really affect me."
"I would not be surprised if 'social,' in the sense of the social network games we have seen until now, is a bit tainted," says Koster. "Everyone thinks they know what it means. But to me that means that actual social-ness has a huge amount of design space left in it. We shouldn’t give up on it."
Since starting his games career with Zynga, Siegel says his experience in the social space has been so demoralizing that there've been consequences to his mental health. He expects his current job will be his last in the game industry, and even if it were possible for the concept of 'social games' he once believed so strongly in to see a renaissaince, he won't be participating.
"'Social' has always been a red herring," he says. "To most developers, 'social' is a means to an end. It's an advertising opportunity, a re-engagement tactic, a viral hook. Games still thrive broadly on Facebook. Millions of people play games on Facebook every day. But they're playing in spite of the shortcomings of the platform... If we can flush out a lot of the bad choices made over the last five years, I see no reason why games on social networks can't have a renaissance at some point."
"But I don't know how possible that is, or how soon it could happen, or whether it's even possible for it to happen on Facebook anymore," he adds. "All I know is I'm done trying."