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EA's takeaway from social gaming's slump
EA's takeaway from social gaming's slump
October 19, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

"Consumers won't pay for crap."
- Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello shares the primary lesson that social game developers should take away from the market's current decline.

Delivering a keynote at App Conference, Riccitiello admitted that the social game market has been overhyped -- notably, EA contributed to that hype several years ago when it acquired UK-based developer Playfish in a deal valued at $300 million. But he argues that social gaming is evolving, not dying.

The CEO believes that the market's decline isn't as bad as some are making it out to be. He added that "the companies that are now suffering will have another day," and many of them have likely learned some lessons about game quality from the challenges the industry's facing right now, according to All Thing Digital.

Among major developers on Facebook, EA has been one of the hardest hit by decreasing interest in social games. Once claiming the second biggest audience of gamers on Facebook behind Zynga, it now trails behind younger developers like and Wooga.

Its total monthly active user count across all of its games on Facebook is at 36.7 million -- EA's biggest title, The Sims Social, alone had that many players less than a year ago (it even hit 66.2 million before the social network modified how it counts users). Now it has only 10.7 million monthly players.

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John Trauger
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Please tell me you didn't just figure that out...

Emppu Nurminen
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Well, they were asking for it.
I liked as a consumer how Playfish tend to experiment with their games and bring me back to their games time after another, until EA decided that bloating the game with quests and useless spamming was how to define the "social gaming". It's sad how good titles like Sims and SimCity have these dweeb social versions, where the game play should be about spamming your friends about useless stuff rather than connecting to play with your friends. I don't wonder at all, why most active players of those games are fairly organized to use fake accounts as well as apps to help to gain all benefits from the newsfeed.

Marc Schaerer
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Thats so true and as a gamer and indie developer I'm really sorry to say but I am very happy to see Zynga and EA getting slapped left and right for their absolute abuse and dumbification of what was meant to be a great thing, playing games with your friends, enhanced with social features, not 'playing ad watcher bunny, wall spamer and cash cow for macro clicking crap' as it has turned out to be the case with too many games.

The same at least for me also goes for that total spamwave of so called web strategy games, the likes of travian etc which with their dumbification and lack of gameplay and experience deserve being flushed down the toilet out of which they crawled as well. I really ask myself if any of their devs and designers ever played oGame before even starting their design for example, cause their monetize focus instead of game experience focused approaches clearly say NO through the stunningly bad experience you have on average unless you pay $5+ monthly subscription to not be forced to login every 2 hours due to the force cut of build queues and other '2 decade old strategy game basics'.

I really hope that in the future, more and more devs will learn from successes like League of Legends, World of Tanks and soonish likely End of Nations when creating their games, from their experience focused approach to F2P and social aspects, instead of learning from rotten companies or management driven decisions as they took place at Zynga and EA

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John Flush
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"Consumers won't pay for crap." - I don't know, there is plenty of crap that sells. I think the problem is they won't pay repeatedly for crap. If you have a huge franchise and turn it to crap it takes a few iterations before the fanbase truly dies - just ask Sonic. With social gaming I think most people have realized while these games are fun and all they are merely a distraction to what they really want to do - be social. Which means it is a fad for the majority. Not saying you can't get rich off a fad or anything, but copying people to a fad is a lot harder to make money off of.

Bob Johnson
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Yep you can fool some people some time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

Ramin Shokrizade
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I don't think the space (Facebook) is broken, it is the business models being applied in that space that are broken.