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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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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.