Game Development Reference
Interview with Janus Anderson: Gaming and the
Q: In the mobile space, then, it seems like people are quickly catching up.
Tell me about how social games can work in the mobile space?
A: Let's just say that Zynga has a big interest in the mobile space. I think
they see that as the next big horizon. Social games are still fledgling on
mobile, probably because they don't have a baked in social graph. There's
no clear virality; you have to invent those viral systems. The reason Zynga
had success is that they entered the social game space when viral chan-
nels were wide open. They were able to acquire tons and tons of cus-
tomers for free using the baked-in social features of that platform. I don't
think that there are traditional ways of networking with your friends on
mobile yet. Zynga has the underlying social architecture, so they can cre-
ate and maintain big social graphs underneath the hood. So I think they'll
have a leg up in that space too.
Q: What about other social networks?
A: Those are all fine, but it's an economy of scale. What you get on
Facebook is this: if you can find a profitable business model where you
can make money off a customer, provided that your cost of acquisition is
at least a little less than the amount of revenue that you're going to get off
that player, then you can turn that knob from zero to 750 million players
overnight. It's not quite that simple, but this is one of the reasons that we
shifted from web games to Facebook. We just found the scalability and
traffic that we could get was just blindingly better than any other plat-
form at the time. Including the Web. Clearly, everyone is on the Web, but
there's just no easy way to go and get them. So I think the problem with
the other guys is they just don't have enough members, enough faces, for
you to get the kind of numbers that you want. If you're making a dime off
of each player, it's much better to reach 100 million players than it is to
reach 5 million players.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on Google+ as a potential competitor to
A: It's probably too early to tell. They'll probably acquire a bunch of cus-
tomers, but I saw a lot of my friends do exactly what I did, which was go
check it out, then go back to Facebook. Partially, Facebook keeps people
because it has tons of content. That's where the games are, that's where the
applications are, that's where their friends are. People need a clear reason to