New competition 'shows how much opportunity exists on the social network'

Zynga dev ‘excited’ by Sims success on Facebook

Electronic Arts’ biggest achievement on Facebook demonstrates the social network’s vast untapped potential, a lead developer at Zynga has said.

Zynga has become the global authority for Facebook games, with an unmatched monthly active user base across its fleet of blockbusters.

But recently EA has stolen thunder with its The Sims Social, a game that has amassed 65 million monthly active users – making it the second most popular game in Facebook history.

Erik Bethke, a Zynga general manager, said “from a personal perspective I am really excited to see EA doing so well”.

“Its success shows how much opportunity there is in social games, and it shows you we’re at the beginning stages of all of this,” he told Develop.

Bethke’s team is currently building the upcoming Mafia Wars 2.

The game will Zynga’s first sequel ever and – along with EA’s engineering of the Sims brand – is a further indication that brands are becoming increasingly relevant for social network games.

Mafia Wars 2, which Develop was given a demonstration of, appears to be targeted at the core gamer.

Asked is this ‘hardcore social’ demographic was becoming more important, Bethke said Zynga “likes to surprise the cynical die-hard gamer, the ‘seen it all played it all’ gamer”.

But he clarified that Mafia Wars 2 was not intentionally isolating one particular market.

“We think we should bring the Mafia Wars 2 experience to as many people as possible,” he said.

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