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Zynga VP says games lacking "strong social component" in the future will seem "old fashioned"


Mark Skaggs, vice president of product development at Zynga and creator of Farmville, believes PC gaming is "in the middle of a fundamental shift".

Writing on Kotaku as a guest editor, Skaggs, who previously held a position at EA overseeing the development of Command & Conquer titles, said he feels the introduction of "social and digital delivery" along with the popularity of "mobile and user-generated content" is where PC gaming is headed within the next five years.

According to Skaggs, the world of games will become more mobile, what with laptops and tablets being taken on-the-go, along with better accessibility to downloads, and the influx of social functionality built into newer titles.

"Game play will continue to change to the point where every game has social built into its core," he wrote. "Any game that does not have a strong social component will seem as old fashioned as a joystick with a single shooter. New social game mechanics will become the social bonding agent that brings more people together in meaningful ways.

"The future may also bring a new form of digital family board game night. Why play Monopoly with your Mom and Dad, when you can play a game with your entire extended family across the world, at any time?"

Skaggs also believes since games are getting smarter, "systems, along with the management software", will eventually be able to monitor a player's progress and "adapt game play difficulty, mechanics and experience accordingly".

"For example, if a player has a difficult time getting past a level or mastering a skill the game will auto-adapt to help a player excel," said Skaggs. "This type of experience may also automatically serve up new game suggestions to help players find games that match their taste and style.

"I'm an eternal optimist when it comes to the future of games. I'm also looking forward to break-through moments in tech, game mechanics and art that will come unpredictably from the minds of game-making geniuses around the world."

Earlier today, SharesPost valued Skagg's employer Zynga at $5.51 billion, besting EA's value of $5.16 billion, despite recent claims of data mining in Farmville.

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Stephany Nunneley

News Editor

Half-blind/half-dyslexic, bad typist, wine enthusiast, humanitarian, intellectual savant, idiot savior, lover of all things nonsensical, animal hoarder and highly sarcastic.

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