Xbox Live doesn’t have enough active users for Zynga to bother with it

Saturday, 19 March 2011 13:13 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Social games company Zynga is pleased to offer its products on social networks and mobile, but doesn’t plan on expanding into the console realm any times soon, according to chief game designer Brian Reynolds.

Speaking with IndustryGamers, Reynolds said that services like Xbox Live just don’t have enough users for Zynga to bother with: XBL has 30 million active members, Facebook has over 500 million.

“We’re after a lot of demographic,” said Reynolds. “If I explain what we think is the core magic of social, I think that will explain the relative attraction, or the lens through which we view the relative attraction of different platforms. The thing that seems to make social gaming and networking magical is the fact that all my friends are potentially there and they might see the things that I’m posting or doing or expressing.

“[Xbox Live’s] too small a demographic. Think about, of my friends, how many of them own an Xbox 360? Well, I’m a game developer and I even come from a triple-A space so we might even be in the double digits… Twenty or maybe even thirty percent of my friends might have an Xbox 360, but effectively 100 percent of them have Facebook and effectively 100 percent of them have a mobile phone. Of them, probably 90 percent have a smartphone.

“So when you think about the social potential of a platform… if we made a game on Xbox Live, I think the number of anyone’s friends that’s going to be able to participate in the social experience is going to be a very small number so the amount of social capital that there is isn’t going to be very high.

“That’s why right now we’re on Facebook for sure, and mobile is the obvious next place for us to go because it is an inherently social platform.”

Reynolds left Big Huge Games in 2009 where he worked on Rise of Nations to go work for Zynga, and formerly worked for Firaxis Games, where he helped design Civilization II, and Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.