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SPIL Games' Peter Driessen

On the move to social, HTML growth and why the old casual games model will die

SPIL Games has built a formidable casual gaming empire targeted towards non-traditional gaming demographics, but now, like so much of the industry, it's turning its gaze to social games. This week, the Dutch firm introduces the Activity Feed to its 4000 games and claimed 130 million users. SPIL says the new social layer will debut with some 420,00 daily achievement postings, 200,000 daily comments and half a million daily friend requests.

Here, GamesIndustry.biz talks to SPIL CEO Peter Driessen about why it's moving to social, whether traditional casual games are dead, whether user privacy can be protected and why HTML5 gaming will eclipse apps.

GamesIndustry.biz Why have Spil moved into social gaming, and why now?
Peter Driessen

The source is in our social confidence which we have built so far. Starting up with a profile with friends, with game scores, the source between this is really this feature, a wall where we connect everything with each other. That's quite nice, because it's quite dynamic, we're talking about high loads of traffic, so it was quite an achievement to have built for all these gaming websites which we own.

GamesIndustry.bizYou describe yourself as the world's leading social gaming platform - what's the metric that means you can describe yourself as bigger than Facebook?
Peter Driessen

Well, Facebook isn't a social gaming platform - it's a social platform. We're really only about games, we don't do anything else.

GamesIndustry.bizBut there are surely more social gamers on Facebook...
Peter Driessen

Of course, yes.

GamesIndustry.bizSo this will purely be happening via your own platform, or will you encompass Facebook Connect?
Peter Driessen

Yeah, we do work with Facebook Connect, so people can use the Facebook Connect graph to play within our social gaming platform - that's one way to use it. But really it stands by itself, so we've been building up these audiences which are forming communities, playing with each other in that social environment. What we especially see, and what we had really never thought about, is that people are really making a lot of friends. So it's just starting up, and already half a million happen every day - that's quite a lot.

GamesIndustry.biz This is about taking advantage of existing communities rather than sort of forcing players into that construct, then?
Peter Driessen

It's more the other way around, I think - people have this need to have friends, and people who share the same passion for games and playing them together. That wasn't possible before, really. Now this opens new territories. For example, we now have a mix of singleplayer games and social games, like farm games and fishing games, all the genres. People go into these games saying 'oh, that's cool, I really want to have a lot of friends to play these social games'. So it doesn't necessarily mean that you want to play only with your real friends - people really love to have people around them that they can meet up with.

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Alec Meer

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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.