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The Facebook Doctrine: Gaming And The Future
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The Facebook Doctrine: Gaming And The Future

July 10, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 8 Next

Microsoft always had the advantage of understanding software and obviously it's the company's heritage. Understanding the power of Xbox Live and the network, I think, ahead of their competition. I just think Facebook Connect integration is another in a line of things they've done.

GD: And to your point earlier, what we've seen since that announcement, it was kind of an "a-ha" moment. It was an inflection point in the traditional games industry where it's like, "Okay, this is something that I think is really cool, and now it's becoming real." And the excitement since that announcement has been off the charts.

It's been a lot of fun taking those conversations to the next level, talking about how we use this technology rather than "Wouldn't it be cool if we had this technology?" So, I think we're going to start to see, this year, some early examples of that.

I think next year -- traditional games have long dev cycles. As the traditional games industry really wraps its head around the great capabilities here and iterate on it, we're going to see new forms of entertainment that we haven't seen before, that we're starting to see inklings of in different places. It really enables a new form of gaming that I think we're just beginning to see what this might be like.

You definitely implied at the Social Gaming Summit, more strongly I think, that you've seen things that are in the pipeline that are not able to be discussed now but which use it more effectively than what we've seen. Because I think the examples that we saw at E3, while cool, were a little bit superficial.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's cool that you can, in Tiger Woods, take screenshots and talk about what you've accomplished in the game, and publish that to your news feed, but I'm not jumping up and down about that. I think there are probably deeper places to go. You've seen examples that you think are...

GD: Very compelling. And I think in addition to seeing examples, the conversations that we're having are just mind-blowing. I'm really excited about the convergence between the two industries.

And as the traditional games industry gets more comfortable with social experiences and designs games around social experiences, and I think as the social gaming companies really move their games across multiple devices and think about how you have a game that spans the three screens -- the Xbox, the computer screen on Facebook, and the mobile device -- I think you can see both parties looking at this and going, "That's really cool." And the intersections are going to be really appealing.

One thing that was announced, also in terms of Xbox 360, is there's going to be a functionality with Facebook Connect to map your GamerTag friends list to your Facebook real world identity. And in some cases, there was some discussion about this at the summit -- whether some games are better suited to a real identity, and whether some are not. Because real world identity is a huge, huge part of Facebook, obviously. I guess it's just an interesting reconciliation of our cultural shift, almost.

GD: Yeah, there are several interesting elements to this. The first is that there's a cultural shift towards people being willing, excited, and preferring to use their real world identities online.

We all know that 10 years ago, you were as anonymous as possible online, right? And today, we spend a lot of our time putting our real world identities out there and sharing them, right? So, there's that cultural shift.

The second cultural shift is that because we have real world identities and we've been able to map this very large social graph where I have hundreds of friends now on Facebook, and I own all the consoles, and on each console I have just a few friends there... It's very clear to me that I have many more friends that have those consoles than I have friended on those consoles.

So, one of the compelling features of the Xbox integration is this idea of taking the Xbox social graph and using that to power my gaming social graph. And so we believe that this will help me discover on my gaming console all my friends that have the console as well, and so I can play with them more frequently and have new experiences with them, ones that I am not having today.

And we've seen this occur on, where as more and more people join Facebook and your social graph is more complete, you have the ability to have these social experiences with people you've never had before, and you're playing games with people who you didn't play games with before, with your family members, with your parents, with friends in remote locations. There's this new gaming activity happening that we believe will translate to the consoles as well.

So, that's a huge part of what we're doing with the gaming consoles. I think the next thing that's very interesting is this concept of identity in a gaming experience. There are many games where I think it's very compelling to use your real world identity. And we're seeing that on, where we have tens of millions of people playing games with their real world identities, right? It's a very positive thing. It's not an issue for them.

I think there's also a recognition that many game experiences are interesting because you're able to create a new identity and use your gamer identity in that game. And so, what's interesting here to me is that underneath every game identity, there's actually a real identity, right? You know, I have the GamerTag. But beneath all that, there's my real world name, my real world address, my credit card information.


GD: It's just hidden, right?


GD: So that when you and I interact on Xbox, you just see my GamerTag. You don't see my name and address and so on. So, what we're doing with Xbox is allowing you to link the two, your gaming identity -- your GamerTag -- and your real world Facebook identity. And the chosen presentation method is where you see both.

I think for a set of users, that's fine where, you know, [attending Facebook rep] Malorie and I are playing, we know each other in the real world, and it's fine for us both to expose our gaming identities. But I think there are other cases where I only want to expose my gamer identity and not my real world identity.

And Facebook has always been about this ability to control the information that you share and our privacy. So, we're exploring those user cases very, very closely with not just the gaming companies but every gaming company and portal that wants to work with us, how to present these two identities and which identities...

At the platform level, you mean? Or at the publisher level or just at all levels?

GD: At all levels, yeah. This is something that many people are interested in. For some people, they care more about it more than others.


GD: And it's something we'll figure out exactly how to get right going forward.

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