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Playfish: Cloning products will lead to a "tough time"

VP Segerstrale calls for social devs to innovate and respect their users

Playfish general manager and VP Kristian Segerstrale has claimed that social gaming is about to move into a new era so much so that the term 'social gaming' may cease to exist.

Speaking to the audience at the Social Games Summit in London today, Segerstrale claimed that copycat games would see diminishing returns.

If you are today a company that doesn't have access to franchises but relies on cloning other people's products and you're determined not to innovate, I believe you're going to have a tough time," he said.

"I believe we're back at a time where innovation is important again. It's not just about the platform, it's also about consumers."

Continuing a veiled commentary on the likes of Zynga, he reasoned that "If consumers keep coming into games and they see a timer in motion and they have to come back tomorrow to get their free gifts [they will think they're all the same.

"I believe we have a blank canvas in front of us again."

He also felt it was important to respect social games' users, suggesting that consumer faith had been lost following a string of privacy-related controversies. "Most recently we had a scandal of people's details allegedly being passed on. Frankly, we don't need to do this.

"We have a successful industry that's growing very rapidly. The surest way to undermine our own growth potential is to let down our users. [We can do this] without resorting to things that aren't right. Let's treat our players like we would treat ourselves."

The VP went on to call for more integration between social games and traditional gaming mediums, as PlayFish had done with bundling FIFA Superstars with the FIFA 11 demo. He felt that by consolidating audiences in this way, social games would cease to be perceived as a separate industry.

"I believe the word social games has a lifespan of only two or three years," he predicted. "We'll just call them games. They'll be part of the very fabric of the games industry."

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