Pincus: "I'm pretty bored with all games"

Zynga founder expresses lack of interest in gaming at Tel Aviv event

Zynga founder Mark Pincus has told a group of Israeli entrepreneurs that he is "bored" with games.

Pincus was in Tel Aviv to attend an event hosted by the Garage Geeks, a non-profit organisation devoted to encouraging creativity and innovation in Israel. In an informal session, attended by the Wall Street Journal, Pincus was asked by Yossi Vardi, a prominent Israeli entrepreneur, about his favourite games.

"Right now, I'm pretty bored with all games," Pincus replied.

Allegedly, Vardi then suggested a handful of popular mobile and social games, including some from Zynga's own recent release slate, but Pincus remained steadfast in his stance.

He claimed to have been addicted to FarmVille and CityVille at the time of their releases, but, "I want that addiction again."

Pincus brought in former Xbox chief Don Mattrick to take his place as CEO of Zynga, which has struggled to recapture the success it enjoyed during the social gaming boom. At the time of his appointment, Mattrick claimed that Zynga had, "yet to realise its potential."

The company's stock is currently trading at around $3.80 a share - a third of the IPO value.

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Latest comments (22)

Jason Avent VP, Studio Head, NaturalMotion4 years ago
I'd imagine it's pretty easy to become bored with anything when you're a billionaire. Especially video-games. You don't need a simulation of being powerful in a fantasy world if you're hugely powerful in the real world and get to do pretty much whatever you want.

I never had Mark Pincus pegged as an avid gamer in the first place though. Did anyone?
8Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Pincus: "I'm pretty bored with all games"

Yeah well guess what Marcus?
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
Well, that's my day ruined.
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Show all comments (22)
Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 4 years ago
At Jason... It usually follows that if a person is running a huge game company that they should have some interest in games.

In other businesses, say mining engineering, if you're uninterested in what it is that you are making, yiou're going to be in trouble pretty soon.
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ARNAUD Jean-Christophe CEO & Founder, Malorian4 years ago
A nice way to thank all people working hard for him.
How person with such huge responsabilities can say something like that... publicly ?
(nice pic btw x))
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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College4 years ago
The fact of the matter is that Pincus has never been interested in games. He' not a gamer, he's a marketer. Social games were just the "widget" he stumbled on to market with.

This has always been both Zynga's strength and its weakness.
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Chris Wray Freelance 4 years ago
To be quite frank, he never took me as a gamer. Not an actual gamer who loves the medium anyway.

His business practices, including the blatant copying of games with a thin veneer to cover them, are not ones of a true fan of the medium but one of a person exploiting the medium. The fact that he only specifically mentions two of his previous games, both being quite shallow in the grand scheme, is proof enough for me.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
He saw games as a way to make money and his venture has reached its course. He made all the money he could make and now its on to other things. He never came across as a guy who was aiming at making games out of the joy of it, nore did he come across to me as a gamer or a guy who was interested in them. I dont know why this is even news...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 2nd October 2013 7:43pm

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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College4 years ago
Its new because Zynga was oversold by the press as "the next EA". Most of us who actually know anything about the industry knew better.
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Ben Board Senior Product Lead, Boss Alien Ltd4 years ago
I think I'd struggle to get excited by anything else if I also played left-back for England.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ben Board on 2nd October 2013 9:26pm

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The feeling is mutual, Mark!
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Meelad Sadat [a]list daily editorial director, Ayzenberg Group4 years ago
I won't pretend I understand Mark Pincus' exact situation, but I had a period when something that sickened me about the industry (acquisition then layoffs) actually made me want to avoid games. In my case it was a sudden divide between my lifelong passion for games and the revulsion I felt after being exposed to (and a victim of) some of the ruthless practices in the industry. There was a sense of betrayal - unjustified, but undeniably there. When Phil Fish had his meltdown it brought back the same memory for me.

If this is what you're feeling, Mark, and assuming you truly had passion for games at some point, it passes. Hopefully for you too, Phil, though you got some 'splaining to do.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Oh, good gravy on a stick. I'll buy his boring company from this bored billionaire for a beat up dollar bill and run it better in three years' time. I've had a controller in my hands since 1972 and love games too much to stop playing.....
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Sean Warren Inspector 4 years ago
@ Greg
Good to see you're still a fixture around these parts, and that you still have the sensibilities that lead me to appreciate your commentary on industry news to begin with.

On that note, on to the article.
Bored huh?
You don't say?
Move along then, who cares?
This article may as well have been titled "Someones boss rolled over in their sleep".
Not that I don't appreciate hearing about what bores the fabulously wealthy and successful.
Oh, wait...
I'm starting to remember why I haven't been here in a while.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sean Warren on 3rd October 2013 2:44am

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its really hard to find the energy to comment these days...
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Phil Hindle Technical Director, FreeStyleGames4 years ago
I've created a new app, it's called "Rhyme with Friends". You're all invited to play.

Here's round 1 : What word rhymes with 'punt' and describes Mark Pincus?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
@Phil Hindle

Really no need for that on a professional game industry forum.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve4 years ago
I think it's very sad when the figurehead of a company has no passion for the very thing they produce. How can you lead a company when you don't believe in what you do. I for one enjoy games just as much as I did 10 years ago and I consider it to be an important part of what drives my career in this industry.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
Its ok to be bored, but that's the time when you have to move on.
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Steven Pick Lead Graphic Designer, Atomhawk Design4 years ago
Rather disheartening.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 4 years ago
@Ben Board - choked so hard on my dinner when I saw that picture
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 4 years ago
A lot of unanswered questions here. Saying "I'm bored with games" is like saying "I'm bored with books." Yes, there are certain number that are clichéd and formulaic - "So they form an unlikely fellowship of disparate personalities and travel across the world in order to defeat some kind of nasty evil force? Why do they call them 'novels' again?" - but then one day you wake up reading Altered Carbon and realize the problem isn't books, it's the people who commission endless re-writes of the same book.

And the co-point to that is that games aren't a single homologous category any more. There's quite a number of completely different things you can be doing under the auspicies of "Playing a game"., and even when the mechanics are exactly the same, quality and appeal can still vary based on subject matter, story, art direction... and so on.

Still, if Mr Pincus wants to take a break from gaming, maybe he can go to that marketing textbook and move on to the next chapter - the one after "how to spam".
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