Zynga dismisses ‘small’ Xbox Live

Xbox Live is widely regarded as the leading light of online console networks. So what does it say when the leading casual games developer Zynga dismisses it as small beans for games as popular as its own?

"Xbox Live’s too small a demographic," chief game designer Brian Reynolds told Industry Gamers. "Think about, of my friends, how many of them own an Xbox 360?

"I’m a game developer and I even come from a triple-A space so we might even be in the double digits. 20 or maybe even 30 per cent 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."

Facebook has in the region of half a billion users, and earlier this year publisher EA estimated that around 290m of those use the service to pay games. By contrast, Xbox Live has around 30m members.

But that’s not the half of it. Zynga’s latest release, CityVille, attracted a staggering 100m users in a little over a month following its Facebook debut late last year.

"If we made a game on Xbox Live, I think 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," Reynolds added.

"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."

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