Zynga looking at multiplatform support

By Brenna Hillier
23 March 2012 00:51 GMT

Farmville on Xbox 360? It could happen.

Speaking to GigaOm, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus made mention of Zynga’s current, broad development focus.

“Right now we are building back-end technology, so that your game state can be saved and served up in difference screens [or] devices, the interaction cues will take from the different devices,” he said.

“In other words, you can play a game on a computer and call it up on Xbox and you resume from the point you left off, except the game play will now be customized for the Xbox controller.”

Pincus seems to be giving an example rather than announcing anything definite, but even so, platform expansion is something the company takes quite seriously, tailoring experiences for various frontages.

“One of the lessons we learned from the FarmVille for iPhone was that web and iOS are entirely different and have different mechanics. That is why we did FarmVille Express. The difference is that on mobile it is a 2-minute session versus a 45-minute session on the computer,” he said.

“Words for Friends doesn’t do as well on Facebook as it does on the iPhone, because they are a mobile first experience. Our poker game does well on the mobile as well.”

Pincus said social gaming still has a long way to go in convincing skeptics.

“My biggest challenge is to deliver on the promise of social gaming. We haven’t yet convinced you to play just yet. Social gaming has to get to a level where Facebook has gotten to — you just cannot avoid it,” he said.

“It is a social norm for connections and we want to get there with games. That is what we are doing [with] Word for Friends, so we can get to bigger, broader market and get to more people.”

The executive doesn’t believe social gaming will replace traditional gaming, though.

“[It is] just as television competed with radio. It didn’t replace radio, it just made the radio move over,” he said.

“Our research shows that nearly 70% of people who are playing social games are also watching television. Our games are played inside a tab and that is a new behavior. I think we are part of a new category of gaming that is about stealing back lost time like when you are waiting in cabs or in the airport. We are playing these games when we are, say on a boring conference call.

“I think the real competition is between mobile and the television. If the smartphone replaces the television, then games are the entertainment.”

Thanks, Shack.

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