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

Saturday, 19th 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.



  1. Crysis

    I truly hate Zynga.

    #1 4 years ago

    Anything that takes that long to explain isn’t very well thought out.

    Blah, blah, blah… my friends… blah, blah… smartphones… blah, blah… 100%… blah blah, blah…

    It might work to convince a few hung-over shareholders, but everyone else with a brain knows that the demographic-into-profits ‘equation’ isn’t all that simple.

    #2 4 years ago

    Yesterday he was my hero, but not today! I hate those turn their back to the community that support them long time ago and now talk bad about the community!

    Who’s Brian Reynolds if he doesn’t in the teams that make Civ, Rise of Nations? Now, just a fuking mole for Zynga!

    #3 4 years ago
  4. pukem0n

    the difference is, people on XBL pay for arcade games, while Zynga games arent worth a penny…

    #4 4 years ago

    Social games are just a new trench, and a new trench must has its start and end just like the other trenches. But many game developers (like Reynolds) are too stupid to turn their back on the old gaming communities by saying or doing foolish things! Just remember: if you don’t have fan’s supports, no one knows you today!

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Zurtech

    errrm, boohoo?

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Stardog

    Exactly what I’ve been saying – the only reason their shitty games get players is because with 500m users you can’t fail to get players.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. FredEffinChopin

    Everybody has a calculator, why not make games for that?

    *Crosses Zynga off the list*

    #8 4 years ago
  9. redisdrunk

    And I’m sure the fact that Microsoft requires developers to meet certain minimum ‘system’ standards doesn’t appeal to them. Requiring basic XBLA support, scoreboards, and most importantly a -demo- of the product.

    That requiring a demo thing? I could see that being the biggest roadblock for a developer like Zynga.

    #9 4 years ago

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