Zynga Founder Mark Pincus Is Bored With Games

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Zynga Founder Mark Pincus Is Bored With Games

Mark Pincus

Mark Pincus, the man who gave the world FarmVille, says videogames no longer give him the zing they used to.

Mark Pincus has done pretty well for himself with videogames. His company, Zynga, may not shine quite as brightly as it once did but it's still a pretty big dog as these things go. But it turns out that they no longer turn his crank the way they once did.

During a Q&A following an informal talk to tech entrepreneurs in Israel, Pincus was asked about his favorite game. And to everyone's surprise, he replied, "Right now, I'm pretty bored with all games." He used to be hooked on fare like FarmVille and CityVille when they were new, he explained, but nothing has come along in more recent times to replace them. "I want that addiction again," he said.

It's possible that Pincus is just down in the dumps because of Zynga's ongoing troubles. He effectively eliminated his own salary earlier this year in an effort to retain executives, the company's second quarter financials were a disaster and the appointment of former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick as CEO over the summer very quickly resulted in the ouster of the company's chief operating officer, chief people officer and chief technical officer - not the sort of thing likely to make a man feel very comfortable about the company he founded.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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I didn't realize those were video games in the first place.

Zyng!

Really though, it's rather saddening to see someone lose their passion for their work. Perhaps he'll find a new spark, or maybe even an entirely different, fulfilling line of work.

Maybe stop playing the "games" your company makes? Shockingly, they're pretty far from the norm if you look outside the mobile sphere.

It sounds here like he's only every played his own games.

How do things like that happen?

I'd say that's largely down to the fact he ties the feeling of enjoying a game to an addiction. As in most cases of addiction, once that initial thrill wears off and there's nothing else going on to support it, you're stuck looking for the next bigger hit.

With everything going on in gaming right now, from new hardware to new OSs to quality new entries in old IPs to new IPs and the continued rise of smaller independent development, if you're bored with gaming right now you're doing it wrong.

Basically, if he had been involved in making better games with more aspects to them than an addictive hook, he probably wouldn't feel the same way.

Well, video games have been bored with him for a long time already.

Man who popularises casual games says he's bored of casual games.

Son, go play some Mario 64. Then learn how to make a game that'll stick around in the mind for more than five minutes.

Those weren't games, they were Skinner Boxes in various uncreative skins. This guy is the anti-video-game.

I guess it's time for FarmVille 3, now with added weather features, and even more micro-transactiony than ever before.

Maybe he should try playing some real games for a chance, I am sure that would turn his view around quite nicely.

Pink Gregory:
It sounds here like he's only every played his own games.

How do things like that happen?

I have been gaming for over 30 years and I am also getting bored with games.

Ohhh Pincus.... "I want to make the word 'zynga' a verb for gaming, the way google and tivo are verbs" (paraphrased quote)

Maybe he should try playing GOOD games and not the insult to shovel ware Zynga makes.

course, I'm kinda 'burnt out on games to' but thats really only the AAA market, indie games still make me happy

Andy Chalk:
not the sort of thing likely to make a man feel very comfortable about the company he founded.

To which I say "Good". Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to come-off as malicious, but when a person flat-out admits to using scams as a method of drumming-up some cash for his company (Oh, but "it's okay", because he's "not gonna do it anymore"), I'm not gonna feel much sympathy for him when karma comes around to bite him in the ass and said company starts having some hard times. I definitely feel sorry for the employees of Zynga who have to deal with him, they must feel completely disenfranchised in their decision to get into game design because of the way that he basically has them carbon-copy existing games, slap "Ville" in the title, then call it a day.

But he isn't completely beyond redemption. Long as he's learning the right lessons from this (like "don't be a shit-head of a business owner") and uses those lessons going forward, I could see myself actually fighting in favor of Zynga. Heck, if EA was able to redeem themselves for a short while before they went back to their usual tricks, then certainly Zynga isn't completely beyond hope. Markus just has to learn the right lessons, is all.

My first thought was : How can you be bored with games?! You haven't made any.

My second thought was : No, seriously... those aren't games. They're Skinner boxes in drag.

My third thought was : Actually, I'm being kind of a tit, aren't I? It's no fun to hate your job, to lose enjoyment in anything, let alone something as important as that.

I recommend that we introduce the poor dude to the Kerbal Space Program.

I bought it on a Steam sale. At the same time as I bought Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and a couple of other big name titles. I have yet (over a month later) to install said big name titles. KSP is awesome.

Go try that, Mr. Zynga. Look hard. Then go back to work and make THAT sort of thing your priority.

Damnit Andy, and I had JUST stopped laughing since the last time someone mentioned that Don Mattrick is the CEO of Zynga...now I won't be able to stop laughing for another 3 months. Thanks a lot. xP

More to the subject: I suppose I'd be pretty bored with writing if all I ever did was copy other people's writing and slap my own bastardization of their title onto the cover. Seems a lot like cheating in a game: if you cheat, you remove all the challenge and effort that makes winning the game a rewarding experience. If you're not going to put the effort in, they why even bother?

It seems like players are bored of his games, too.

Well I came into this thread with snark to offer, but it appears I've been ninja's about 17 times. Ah well. Good to know we all share the same revulsion to the 'Villes of the gaming world I guess.

I'll try to think up an appropriate zinger just the same.

Uh...
"What do you want to do tonight Brain?"
"Same thing we do every night Pincus... TRY TO MAKE THE MOST BORING CRAP IN THE WORLD"

image

"I'd rather just sell people sprites and cut out the whole 'game' middle man. Now who wants to buy a picture of a silly white fox? They're on sale at 75% off today, only $25!

That's great news there Mark. Now please, for everyone's sake, get out of our hobby.

ZZoMBiE13:
Well I came into this thread with snark to offer, but it appears I've been ninja's about 17 times. Ah well. Good to know we all share the same revulsion to the 'Villes of the gaming world I guess.

I'll try to think up an appropriate zinger just the same.

Uh...
"What do you want to do tonight Brain?"
"Same thing we do every night Pincus... TRY TO MAKE THE MOST BORING CRAP IN THE WORLD"

image

"It's Pincus and the Brain
It's Pincus and the Brain
One is a genius
The other hates games!"

Yeah, Mark? You do know there's more to gaming than browser-based cruft and Cookie Clicker wannabes, right? You don't need a beastly PC or a console, either! Try this Minecraft thing, maybe? Or, oh! Load up one of the oldies, like Myst!

My guess is he doesn't. As soon as a game is just barely more than a straight-up Skinner Box reskin, he loses interest.

Klytus, I'm bored with games. What play thing can you offer me today?

"A game about mining space minerals. The men call it, 'astroid ville.'"

How normal and fun it looks.
<Hits button. Game now Zyngaized!>

"Most effective, Your Majesty. Will you cancel this 'Astroid Ville?'"

Later. I like to play with thing a while before annihilation.

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Has he ever played a proper game before? I'd start with Jazz JackRabbit, The Lost Vikings and commando keen , then go some Zelda, minecraft and Sid Meier's Alpha Centuri.

Wow. I read the headline and was going to make a lame joke about how he must have played his own games but that's... actually what he's been doing... Now I'm just sad.

Lunar Templar:

course, I'm kinda 'burnt out on games to' but thats really only the AAA market, indie games still make me happy

That's exactly it. We're essentially in something of a golden age for gaming right now. Given how many excellent games there are out there across any genre, playstyle, commitment level, cost, etc. there are right now, if you're not finding something that you can enjoy then you're just not looking.

So heroin not doing it anymore for you Mark? Wanna try speedballs? Maybe some meth?
Seriously, only playing your own games seems a bit egotistical and short-sighted. And these are Zynga "games" we're talking about so... Talk about stretching the meaning of a word.

I fully expect that soon he will be making movies that you have to pay micro-transactions on if you wish to watch more than five minutes a day.

What? A guy who ran his company and designed his games solely based on how he could get the most money for the least amount of work or creativity turns out to not really care about the medium? I'm shocked.

As a game industry recruiter in Tokyo, I've seen first hand how these companies have shocked and essentially changed the entire industry for the worst. I could write a big long book about the chaos the sub-industry of "social games" has caused and this guy would certainly make a strong appearance in chapter 1.

Oh great, a man who doesn't like video games makes video games. I know that's not exactly what he said but who cares? This guy should quit now. Not because "he doesn't make hardcore games for our master race, snur snur snur" like every other fucker on this site says but because in order to make something that lasts you have to enjoy it yourself. If a creator doesn't like his own work then he will put little to no effort into it, and if you put no effort into something then it is inevitably going to suck. I think this guy should quit now so that doesn't happen to him and so that he doesn't end up churning out the waves that are video games in his sea of future apathy.

Andy Chalk:
"Right now, I'm pretty bored with all games." He used to be hooked on fare like FarmVille and CityVille when they were new, he explained, but nothing has come along in more recent times to replace them. "I want that addiction again,"

This could apply to nearly every single 'casual' player that created the 'facebook-ville' bubble.

Muphin_Mann:
I fully expect that soon he will be making movies that you have to pay micro-transactions on if you wish to watch more than five minutes a day.

They would also be rip-offs of successful independent movies or so formulaic that you can work out the entire plot from the trailer.

Frankly I have no sympathy for Pincus, if he is bored of his own games then he deserves to be bored. It just goes to show that they don't make anything that is fun and there is no passion in their development except for the bit about raking in money (which they aren't even doing any more).

WeepingAngels:

Pink Gregory:
It sounds here like he's only every played his own games.

How do things like that happen?

I have been gaming for over 30 years and I am also getting bored with games.

Yeah but, 30 years is a long ass time man.

Thats like, more than twice the reign of Nero. Thats like, sevenish leap years. Thats like, 11.1 blue moons. You could span three cicada blooms in that time. At least three and a half presidents. Superbowl 17. Ewoks, national lampoon, brown suits, and the invention of the McNugget.

I'll be there soon brah, but like ford says in the captcha, I'm Please Enter: Built Ford Tough

Lawyer105:
My first thought was : How can you be bored with games?! You haven't made any.

My second thought was : No, seriously... those aren't games. They're Skinner boxes in drag.

My third thought was : Actually, I'm being kind of a tit, aren't I? It's no fun to hate your job, to lose enjoyment in anything, let alone something as important as that.

I recommend that we introduce the poor dude to the Kerbal Space Program.

I bought it on a Steam sale. At the same time as I bought Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and a couple of other big name titles. I have yet (over a month later) to install said big name titles. KSP is awesome.

Go try that, Mr. Zynga. Look hard. Then go back to work and make THAT sort of thing your priority.

I would advise against that - With Zynga's track record, all they'll do is rip off KSP, making a dumbed down clone repackaged for mass market, with microtransactions up the wazoo.
I wish I was over exaggerating, but it's basically their business model. Making something like KSP is best left to people with creativity and imagination, who are willing to take bold risks in innovation.

Give him an Xbox, or a Wii U, or something. Then he wont be bored with games, since ya know...he can actually play them for once.

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