PopCap: This is "the beginning of the end" of Facebook's 'golden era'

Viral growth declining, but CCO Jason Kapalka also convinced that "casual is the new mainstream"

PopCap Games' Chief Creative Office Jason Kapalka has claimed that the rapid growth of Facebook gaming may be coming to an end.

Speaking to in an interview published today, he said "You're definitely in the stage right now in social games where there's a lot of bandwagon jumping, where everyone sees moneymoneymoney and suddenly all these new companies appear...

"It happened before in mobile, it happened before in casual in the past it's tended to signal the beginning of the end. Not necessarily of the genre, but of the sort of golden era, where everything was a fresh blue ocean.

Despite regular headlines about developer acquisitions, he felt that "a lot of the viral growth of Facebook games is now shut down. They have to do it the old fashioned way, which is by buying ads or by having something that people are actually interested in playing."

Kapalka felt his own company, responsible for titles such as Bejewelled and Plants vs Zombies, was relatively safe due to having fingers in many platform-pies.

"In general, it feels like the industry is caught up in the kind of games that we've always been doing. It feels less like we're in a position where we have to argue about why casual games and other games like we do are legitimate forms of entertainment.

"Anyone can look around now, they look on their iPhone, they look on Facebook or at the Nintendo Wii. It's pretty obvious that casual has kind of won, casual is the new mainstream."

The full interview with the PopCap co-founder, in which he also discussed why branded games may be less important than they once were and whether Google can successfully battle Facebook, is available here.

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Latest comments (6)

Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Rebellion Developments6 years ago
The bandwagoning was always going to happen with platforms like facebook. Cheap and easy devleopment costs mean people will try to follow the lead of playfish etc in a bid to make some easy money. Facebook has become a bit over the top now though, the same happened to's full of ads and spam. I think it's google's time to take the lead and dominate social networks and casual games.
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Martyn Brown Managing Director, Insight For Hire6 years ago
Cheap and easy? Surely some mistake. Zynga have over 800 staff. I'd suggest managing communities of games where 80m a month play across the portfolio are neither cheap nor easy.

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The other issue with Facebook is that it's a highly unstable platform that keeps changing its rules of development, marketing and consumer experience.
Whatever you based your business model and spread tactics on a few months ago will likely mean the end of your product (at least a steep decline) in less than a year, or at least require costly changes to adapt for a mildly to very different environment.
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Show all comments (6)
Jonathan Lindsay Creative Director, Playomic6 years ago
My two cents:

If you think you are making a facebook game, you are wrong. What you are really making is a browser game that leverages some facebook features.

The way I see it, the best strategy for such games is to avoid boxing yourself into any single dominant platform. The smart thing to do is simply make a facebook version of your browser game, as well as a stand alone version and a smart phone version.

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Luis Morales Public relations, Med Mercs6 years ago
Exactly..........Maybe is because I see social gaming as a trend and not what the future of games is. Facebook social games don't justify my time with those games. Whatever happend to creativity, innovation ? Maybe, I'll just stick with the PS3's, the XBOXE's........ Social Gaming needs a grip!
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Shanker Manokaran Product Developer, Razer6 years ago
One thing for sure ~ even if its not an innovation, its definitely an evolution - which is going to give birth to more sub genres within the social realms.
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