The Silicon Knights boss is waiting for the Facebook gaming bubble to collapse.
Zynga is currently valued at approximately $10 billion, but Denis Dyack still isn’t a believer. The Silicon Knights founder is convinced that the entire social games market is headed for a massive collapse, and he’s not going to be sorry when it happens.
“The trend that I see is it’s probably going to be one of the biggest bubbles and explosions that our industry’s seen in a long time and I think when it crashes it’s going to crash very hard,” said Dyack in an interview with Industry Gamers. “I don’t think there’s an economy there.”
“It looks like marketing to me. It doesn’t look like real gaming. And maybe it’ll change, I don’t know. It looks very, very dangerous. I think Zynga’s valuated more than some traditional publishers right now that have been in the industry for decades. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it. It seems imaginary to me… it doesn’t look long term healthy to me.”
Dyack believes that most traditional game publishers share his opinions (although only Activision is willing to say as much), and that the industry’s current fascination with social games is little more than an experiment.
“I tried playing FarmVille, I really did, but it’s not my cup of tea. And I’m not saying that FarmVille’s a bad game but as a gamer who’s played games all my life, I know what kinds of games I want to play. I play games every day and I’m always trying new stuff. Our golden rule is we make games that we want to play ourselves and I just look at those [social] games and those are just games I don’t want to play for whatever reason. I just think that they’re not a good use of my time versus quality.”
There’s a part of me that wants Dyack to be right, and I’m not going to say that he’s wrong. At some point, every bubble tends to burst, and social games might not always be as lucrative as they are now. Even so, I suspect that he may be missing the point. Companies like Zynga are successful precisely because they make games that appeal to people who have traditionally been non-gamers, so Dyack may be blind to the demands of a massive audience if he’s only using his own tastes as a AAA developer to measure video game quality.
After all, Solitaire and Hearts have been around for generations and there are millions of commuters looking for similarly disposable experiences. That market isn’t going anywhere, so someone will keep making Angry Birds as long as people have iPhones to support it.
Source: Industry Gamers