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Playfish: Devs "without franchises will be in a precarious position"

Segerstråle admits social decline but "it forces much better quality"

Playfish boss Kristian Segerstråle has argued that although the boom era of Facebook gaming may be over, the best is yet to come.

"I don't believe we've seen the Super Mario or the Halo of this platform yet," he told CNBC. "We've barely scratched the surface of what's possible."

He felt that, following Facebook crackdowns on virality, "It's more than plateaued, I think it's declined a little bit" but that might ultimately be to game-makers' benefit.

"Perhaps the immediate effect of Facebook curbing some of these channels is to see the aggregate number of clicks going down a little bit but at the same time it forces much better quality product and in my mind it's a far more sustainable way of growing the market."

He also admitted that chest-thumping statements about user bases may not be a useful metric. "To date we've had our games installed more than 300 million times, but if somebody has clicked on your game once and played it for two seconds, it doesn't really mean anything

"What means something is whether you're able to become an indispensable part of someone's everyday life because they enjoy socialising with their friends through your product. Those are the kind of things we're trying to track more."

While he denied that Playfish was aggressively competing with FarmVille-maker Zynga, he did hint that "Companies without franchises will be in an increasingly precarious position." Segerstråle was referring here to PlayFish's adaptations of owner company EA's IP for Facebook.

"The winner overall – the company that's going to be remembered for forging this market – will be the one that creates a truly inspirational product for social interaction, competition, cooperation and exchange across a lot of platforms.

"It's a green field, and creating that company that's the most loved and respected by players is really what we're after."

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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