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Copying Zynga "would be a losing proposition" - News Corp

Making Fun has no mandate to use Myspace but will leverage media conglomerate to reach new audiences

News Corp's social gaming division Making Fun has no mandate to use the media giant's products or services - such as the flagging Myspace network - and will be left to build its own partnerships as it looks to make an impact in the growing gaming market.

Vice president of the publisher John Welch, told GamesIndustry.biz that he understands Zynga has already "won" the first iteration of social gaming on the internet, but he expects the entry of a company like Google to help democratise the living room space now that traditional console manufacturers have had their dominance disrupted by mobile and tech companies.

The living room screen is going to be opened up in a more democratised fashion where you don't have to pray to the gods of the game platform companies to get your content on screen.

John Welch, Making Fun

"First and foremost, we're not even playing the game in the first innings of the social games. Zynga won that one. They came in and established ways of doing things and kinds of games, and they built a hell of a great business," said Welch in an interview published today.

"If we're going to come in and do what they did, I think that would be a losing proposition."

"The living room screen is, I would imagine, going to be opened up shortly, whether it's Google or Apple, again in a more democratised fashion where you don't have to pray to the gods of the game platform companies to get your content on screen."

While Making Fun is going to be run as independently as possible, it will leverage the News Corp network of print, radio, TV, movie and web properties - a strength that Welch points out his rivals lack no matter how well established.

"News Corp has a whole lot of eyeballs it reaches across its various media strategies, and to the extent that we can make partnerships that are win-win between News Corp brands and what we're doing within games - that's the way that we can have an advantage that Zynga doesn't have.

"Zynga isn't part of a major media company; they're again leader coming out of the first inning of the ball game, but I don't think anybody in their right mind thinks this game is anywhere near over. The world is not becoming less social - you're not going to see people carrying less and weaker devices, playing fewer games five years from now."

When it comes to content, Welch said the publisher has three titles in production, with the first to be structured more like a traditional video game.

"Our first game out, which I can't say too much about, it's going to do something pretty revolutionary in the social games space: it has an ending. Name another social game that ends,"

"With social games, everybody who stops playing kind of does it because they get sick of it - that's not the way that I want to leave my customers when they finished an experience that they may have paid me money for, or at least a lot of their time. I want them to have a sense of accomplishment."

The full interview with John Welch, in which he discusses the developer/publisher relationship in detail, and why the 'old gods' of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are no longer the leaders in the living room games space, can be read here.

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Latest comments (7)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
Who would want to copy Zynga when most of their games are copies of other games. Even more so when most of their games play exactly the same. Yoville, Fishville, Cityville, Farmville, CafeWorld, PetVille. You do practically the same thing in all of them... Level up, buy stuff, decorate, add friends, REPEAT until your at level 100 and bored.

My problem with farmville, is that when my farm was full a stuff I had no where to store them, Storage was limited and I either had to pay for more storage or Spam my friends for shovels. And that stuff of spamming your friends for materials and and stuff got tiresome and aggrivating. And when trying to complete a building I was often left with a building half built because their was a tight deadline to complete it. And unless I harassed my friends for parts I wasnt gonna get it done. Then you had to pay money if you wanted it. Especially when every day you would get hundreds of request from people asking you for stuff. Then the trend followed in Petville, and their other games. I enjoyed cafe world until they started making you beg friends for parts to build stoves. And for every stupid new feature added or everything you wanted to do you had to pay money.

I really wish the framework of facebook allowed for games that you can play in real time with friends who are online. Such as a fighting game and games that didnt require you to add friends to enjoy it. Like an RPG or an adventure game or sidscroller with an actual story. Im a designer, not a programmer, i only have enough understanding of game programming so i can design for it. So im not sure if the facebook frame work allows for what im talking about. A game like Castle Crashers on facebook anyone?, It would be cool to team up with 4 friends and just kick ass, save a princess etc. Games like this can have in game advertisments spaces that can be rented to differant clients.

If you wanna make money, then I guess you would want to copy Zynga, they are making loads of money and you can deny that. But seriously, as a game creator who would want to copy zynga? when most of there games are copies of other games, even there own games are copies of each other.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 28th March 2011 5:13pm

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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
Copy a company that copies? :P
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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext8 years ago
If you check out the next generation of games coming to facebook, you will find that some are indeed 'real' MMO's with live interaction. Facebook is a great platform for social media... but that does not exclude real time interaction with many people.

We have simply gone through the first round of a new media format for games. They were simple, and used what they had very effectively. However, with the next generation of games, you will start to see more innovation, as developers try to separate themselves from the 'generic' games that have already been done. Many of these games will fail, but the innovation that they bring will change the market.

People seem to forget that WoW was not the first big hit, nor was it the most original. It was really a second generation MMO, designed to capitalize on what had worked in the past, but to open the market for more customers. We should be seeing something like this (even if not a single game) for the social gaming market in the next few years.
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Show all comments (7)
Lets have some truly interactive games such as Civ FB or non farming games that really bring the fun into games.
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J. Goldmaker Community Management 8 years ago
It would be nice to see a game that is a Social Network, that isn't too lame in graphics.
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Neil Aldis Assistant Manager, Mobile Project Development, Capcom8 years ago
"While Making Fun is going to be run as independently as possible, it will leverage the News Corp network of print, radio, TV, movie and web properties"

Meaning from now until the next thing News Corp wants to see major returns from crops up, you will be seeing the name Making Fun and its associated games cropping up in papers and TV shows on a daily basis. Remember when Sky launched? You couldn't go a day without seeing some kind of 'news report' that involved Sky TV in one way or another.

I wonder, though, will Private Eye be monitoring this and printing every one they see in its own box out? Time for that bastion of journalistic pride to get with the times!
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Benjamin Seeberger Writer/Translator 8 years ago
It makes me sick, seeing games devolve in such a way. Farmville, while a hopelessly addictive game, stinks; in terms of design. (In my opinion. I couldn't play it for more than 10 minutes, which I suppose is in the minority).

But now that Zynga is an actual model for big companies that want to use the gaming platform to make money, I shudder at the prospect of the future of popular gaming, especially for the casual game market. Casual games on the airplane are bad enough, but having Farmville look-alikes prop up on our bedroom walls, toilet seats, car seat backrests, or restaurant table monitors (why haven't they thought of that yet?) would be a nightmare come true.

I'm also curious if John Welch really has such bad grammar, or if those were just typos in his interview. The rest of the article seems fine (outside of the interview), but it seems that (according to the transcript) Walsh needs some basic lessons in sentence construction.

Is there good news here? (I could use some.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Benjamin Seeberger on 29th March 2011 1:31pm

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