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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 7 of 8 Next

I think, we've reached this point... It feels sudden. We saw it coming.

GD: The crystal ball.

A little bit. When I say we saw it coming, we didn't see it coming from five years away. It seems like there's so many places to go right now. You know, whether it's making iPhone or other smartphone applications; Xbox Live Arcade became an opportunity, and now Xbox Live Indie Games; PSN, WiiWare; Facebook, and of course MySpace and other competing social networks. There are so many places for developers to go these days that it's almost astounding.

GD: It's true. In the game industry, we've had two or three platforms for many years, and the dream was always that there would be one, right? [laughs] And so you would never have to write the game to multiple platforms.

And the industry has kind of gone the other way where now there's a plethora. They're everywhere, all different types, shapes, and sizes. People are experiencing the world through different forms now. The miniaturization of the chips is remarkable. I have three smartphones and three game consoles. It's insane.[laughs] And when I'm interacting with those devices, game playing is a key activity I want to do.

And so what you're seeing game developers do is push out the game experience to every device, to everywhere. I think there's a shift away from everybody going to one place to play a game, to the game being wherever you want to play it. And I actually think this is a great thing because it's hard to get everybody to go to the same place at the same time. It just is. People have tried forever to do this, and no one has succeeded yet. And so, I think this concept of pushing the experience out is the right way to go.

It's interesting because it seems like each platforms is staking a claim on what it offers. At least in my use patterns and what I'm observing. It seems like it might get even more silo-ed. PS3, 360 for big, immersive, large-scale, and high-budget games. Wii for innovative, motion, casual. Facebook, social. iPhone, quick hit. Of course, obviously, people blur the lines a lot, and sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. It's interesting to see the evolution.

GD: Right. We have a unique view here, which is we believe that every experience will be social, and that having a social experience is more compelling than a solo experience. So, you know, today, we have Facebook Connect on iPhone and coming soon to Xbox. We believe that in some point in the future, every device will be Facebook enabled and will be social and that that will make the experiences will be more compelling no matter which device you're on, no matter which of those screens I was talking about you happen to be in.

Sure, you might want to have a different social experience depending on whether I'm with a group of people at a party, in front of a TV screen on a Friday night, versus me solo on a train commuting to work and playing a game. But all of them will be social, just different flavors of that.

I'm a pretty big believer in the fact that there's always going to be a room for solo narrative or solo linear progressive experiences in media. I don't think movies are going away, I don't think books are going away, and I don't think single-player games are going to go away. Obviously, they less obviously hook into Facebook.

GD: Let's take each of those experiences, and what you'll find is they're inherently social. You watch a movie in a theatre with a group of people, right? It's rare that you go to watch a movie by yourself. We're also seeing that it's very common for us here for instance to be watching television and have a laptop open and using Facebook. I just watched the USA-Brazil game, and I had one eye on the screen watching the soccer, and one eye on Facebook. We were sharing our experiences over Facebook, and it made the game far more fun even though I sat solo watching it.

There's an interesting aspect to that. Not only was I watching the game and sharing it with my friends online, but I had Facebook friends that weren't watching the game who started watching the game because I was watching it or because other friends were watching it. And then my conversation the following Monday morning at work wasn't just with the people that saw the game but with people that didn't see the game. There suddenly is a solo experience of watching a soccer game that's turned into a very social experience.

Books, you know, Book clubs, hugely popular right now. My theory is that we're inherently social creatures, and technology has kind of pushed us into more and more solo experiences. And now technology has gotten to a point where it can connect us all again. And given the choice of a solo experience and a connected experience, people are opting for that social connected experience.

For the inauguration on CNN, we had the ability to watch the inauguration and then read your friends updates. We had millions of people updating their status. Here at the office, we had a lot of people in D.C. I was again watching it at home, and then I had friends out there in different locations, and we got to share that experience together using Facebook.

This is a new way of experiencing things, but it's really kind of a throwback to how we all used to experience things. So, this is why we think that everything will be social from a technology perspective because it used to be, and we're just kind of finding our way back to that.

Article Start Previous Page 7 of 8 Next

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