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Silicon Knights’ Dyack: Social gaming is going to “crash very hard”

Wednesday, 11th May 2011 07:20 GMT By Nathan Grayson

Farming villes and clicking cows may be all the rage right now, but Silicon Knights’ Denis Dyack – whose un-blunted words can be legally classified as a lethal weaponry – doesn’t think the trend’s here to stay.

“[Social gaming] is damaging traditional gaming for sure but… how it’s going to work out is anyone’s guess. The trend that I see is it’s probably going to be one of the biggest bubbles and explosions that our industry’s seen in a long time and I think when it crashes it’s going to crash very hard. I don’t think there’s an economy there,” Dyack told IndustryGamers.

“And right now you’re seeing a lot of influx in venture and you’re seeing a lot of excitement and a lot of pie in the sky ideas, but when games actually have to start showing pure revenue and real ‘here’s how much we made and here’s how much it cost’ …I think that industry is going to not last very long.”

He also mentioned major publishers in the triple-A gaming space, claiming that many of them are silently battling social gaming’s slimy tendrils. He then concluded by getting to the heart of the matter: social games tend to not be very, you know, fun.

“I tried playing FarmVille, I really did, but it’s not my cup of tea,” he said. “And I’m not saying that FarmVille’s a bad game but as a gamer who’s played games all my life, I know what kinds of games I want to play. I play games every day and I’m always trying new stuff. Our golden rule is we make games that we want to play ourselves and I just look at those [social] games and those are just games I don’t want to play for whatever reason. I just think that they’re not a good use of my time versus quality.”

So then, you probably shouldn’t expect Two Humans (Two Hundred Facebook Notifications) or Eternal Darkness: You’ll Never Leave Your House Again any time soon. If you worship something, now would be the time to thank it.

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14 Comments

  1. Joe Anderson

    I’d rather play Angry Birds over Too Human any day of the week.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. mojo

    i hope hes right.
    cant stand that bullshit.
    crappy games weve all played for free 10 years ago are now the next big thing?
    no thanks.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. revolting

    I guess he’d know all about crashing hard after Too Human, but personally I don’t think social gaming will follow his pride and joy’s route any more than wii games for bored mums have… it’s a different set of games for a different audience, and is not damaging anything at all. The people who flock to Farmville and it’s ilk are for the most part not the ones buying traditional AAA games in the first place, and social fames certainly can’t be blamed for Too Human’s poor performance. Good games will continue to sell well, shit games will continue to be shit, and Farmville has nothing to do with that.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Kerplunk

    I think there’s strong markets for all types of games. However when a new market emerges and gains high momentum such as motion control or casual gaming it’s easy to regard it as some new promised land or global revolution. Such things tend to be overhyped. Consequently, when that momentum tails off (as things always do after the zeitgeist period burns itself out) it’s equally easy to regard it as failing hard and the bubble bursting. I think that both these extremes tend to be oversold.

    Games Brief is an excellent blog focusing on games business (raising capital, economics, investing etc) which covers social gaming as well as more traditional markets. Well worth a look.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Old MacDonald

    1: Angry Birds isn’t a social game. And Two Human isn’t the only game Silicon Knights has made. So your point was what?

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Joe Anderson

    @6 ok mr defensive. just saying Too Humans sucks, maybe he should look at his own games before criticising others.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. StolenGlory

    @4

    Cheers for the heads up on that Kerplunk, was a good read indeed.

    As far as Dyack goes, he can bit of tit most days but he made Eternal Darkness which gives him a pass in my book.

    Well, for most things anyway.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. KingCancer

    too human had faults most of which are shared with diablo, titan quest, dungeon siege, champions of norath, baldurs gate dark alliance and every other action/rpg ever made.

    besides being a rainbow warrior most of the game and some questionable level design especially in the single player campaign…. ive never played an action rpg with a good story. as for looting and customization too human has a pretty in-depth system with tons of options for modifying character classes/armor/weapons.

    and it has co-op, that alone should have been enough for gamers this generation. they will play anything with co-op no matter how crap it is like borderlands *pukes*.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Zurtech

    It won’t last, least not to the degree it has.

    In my opinion Facebook gamers are about 20 years behind regular gamers. We played these sorts of games 15-20 years ago. Back when the majority of facebook users would say that games are only for lifeless nerds. Yet the games industry and grown and evolved to what it is atm and continues to.

    To most of them it’s just a fad and something they’ll stop using when they found something else, to the others who play them it’s just a bit of fun and they’ll probably continue to do so.

    The hype around it all will die down and it’ll find it’s own niche and continue to do well there.

    Tis just how I see it anyway.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    Lets see Publishers/Devs can throw 50k for 6-9 months of develpment of a game and it will make up its profit and then some. Its not going to go anywhere if anything it will be its own genre.

    Dyack is just jealous because he can’t be as successful especially after Too human.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. TheWulf

    Not going to happen.

    It’s not going to happen for exactly the same reasons that WoW is still running. Hire a few psychologists, figure out how to hook people, use social engineering to convince people to keep playing via peer pressure and other tricks, what with raids being the variant of spamming friends and forcing them to play…

    People are very easily hooked onto and addicted to things. And WoW like any Zynga game isn’t popular and compelling because it’s fun, but instead because it’s designed to be welcoming and then compulsively addictive. It’s insidious, really.

    If social gaming is going anywhere, then WoW would’ve died years ago.

    And one would have to be an amazing hypocrite to try to deny that Blizzard is the mainstream version of Zynga. Microtransactions, rewards for bringing friends on board, the creation of compulsive addictions, social engineering to bring more people on board… Blizzard’s portfolio reads just like Zynga’s.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. ManuOtaku

    I did like too human a lot, the only bad thing for me is that the controls takes time to get use to them and they are a little bit difficult, other than that it was a good game, especially once you get the rithym of the controls.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    @9: “In my opinion Facebook gamers are about 20 years behind regular gamers. We played these sorts of games 15-20 years ago.” That’s not argument, you know. People just don’t care about such things. This doesn’t determent success at all.

    To topic:

    “I tried playing FarmVille, I really did, but it’s not my cup of tea,” he said. “And I’m not saying that FarmVille’s a bad game but as a gamer who’s played games all my life, I know what kinds of games I want to play. I play games every day and I’m always trying new stuff. Our golden rule is we make games that we want to play ourselves and I just look at those [social] games and those are just games I don’t want to play for whatever reason. I just think that they’re not a good use of my time versus quality.”

    He doesn’t get it, does he? These games are not supposed to be for gamers, they are supposed to be for not-gamers. Bored Housewives, people who want to beat some time. They are supposed to make you additive and get the energy out. They aren’t trying anything, and they aren’t going anywhere.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. OlderGamer

    Good post Wulf.

    And I would agree with the idea that Social gaming isn’t going to go anywhere any time soon.

    If you devide the gaming pupolation into dedicated gamers like most of us and casual gamers. there are a whole more of them out there then there is of us.

    Honestly if anything we are prolly looking at the two things merging a bit more as time goes on. Like Wulf pointed out some so called core games already exhibit bits of social gamings formula.

    And in the end does it matter? Is a Farmvile user any different from a Guild Wars user? Not really, not in the sense that they are both streams of income. And both playing a video game.

    #14 3 years ago

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