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Zynga says Xbox Live is too small for consideration

Brian Reynolds says that Microsoft's online platform doesn't have the users to make social games work

Zynga's chief game designer Brian Reynolds has told press that he doesn't believe online console networks like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network are of sufficient size to consider porting FaceBook titles to, or to be a suitable area of development for social gaming in general.

Speaking to Industry Gamers, Reynolds said that Live's million users was, compared to FaceBook's 500 million, "too small a demographic."

"We're after a lot of demographic," said Reynolds. "If I explain what we think is the core magic of social, I think that will explain the relative attraction, or the lens through which we view the relative attraction of different platforms. The thing that seems to make social gaming and networking magical is the fact that all my friends are potentially there and they might see the things that I'm posting or doing or expressing.

"[Xbox Live's] too small a demographic. Think about, of my friends, how many of them own an Xbox 360? Well, I'm a game developer and I even come from a triple-A space so we might even be in the double digits... Twenty or maybe even thirty percent of my friends might have an Xbox 360, but effectively 100 per cent of them have Facebook and effectively 100 per cent of them have a mobile phone. Of them, probably 90 per cent have a smartphone."

In fact, mobile seems to be a much more attractive prospect for the executive, bringing a broader audience with a lower entry requirement.

"So when you think about the social potential of a platform... if we made a game on Xbox Live, I think - forgetting about the fact that I might have an artificially high percentage of friends that do it because of what my profession is - the number of anyone's friends that's going to be able to participate in the social experience is going to be a very small number so the amount of social capital that there is isn't going to be very high.

"That's why right now we're on Facebook for sure, and mobile is the obvious next place for us to go because it is an inherently social platform. I mean, we've got to be on several different kinds of platforms, but especially if we can figure out a way to have people socialise cross-platform. Then, hey, we're helping with the problem. We're helping people socialize that wouldn't be able to."

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