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Pincus: It's okay to be misunderstood, but not by your customers

Zynga CEO believes critics forget the company's role in creating the social games market

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus is unconcerned by the games industry's view of Zynga, as he believes it doesn't chime with the perception of the company's consumers.

In an interview with The Guardian, Pincus claimed that the Zynga user-base perceives the company in the same way that it perceives itself: as a facilitator of meaningful social interaction.

"If you look back at what we've said and done over the last five years, we've always said and done the same thing - what's changed is how the industry talks about us and perceives us," he said.

"I think that people see what they want to see. People who wanted to see us in a certain light were able to build their case"

"I think we've been a disruptive presence. For a while they were saying that FarmVille wasn't a game. We've just never defined ourselves by the way we're written about or by how the industry talks about us. It's okay to be misunderstood, as long as you're not misunderstood by your consumers."

The interview took place before Zynga's recent financial results pushed its share price below $3, and before the ensuing allegations of insider trading against Pincus and several high-ranking employees.

However, the industry's view of Zynga prior to recent events was still broadly negative, which Pincus regards as a form of confirmation bias, disregarding the company's contributions to the games business.

"I think that people see what they want to see. People who wanted to see us in a certain light were able to build their case. But here's what's ironic: we really have helped define and build an industry - we've made it bigger for everybody. It's bigger for EA, it's bigger for other publishers ... we're proud that we've helped expand the audience for gaming.

"We really take a blue ocean view - we don't think anyone else has to lose for us to do better."

To read GamesIndustry International's recent interview with Pincus, follow the link.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.