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Ex-Zynga studio boss Matthew Wiggins on where social games went wrong

18/07/2013 18:25

'Spamming someone's Facebook feed is not a meaningful interaction,' says developer, whose new venture JiggeryPokery wants to put the fun back into free-to-play.
Has social gaming lost its soul? In its early days on Facebook, the talk was of bringing gaming to a much wider audience, and connecting people through play: games as a vehicle for communication between friends.
In 2013, there are few too many social games that feel more like vehicles for monetisation, where the art and craft of game design has mutated into a science of getting people to spend more money, with social features relegated to the role of just another potential purchasing trigger.
Matthew Wiggins has seen the shifting sands of social gaming close up. Having worked at Lionhead Studios, Linden Lab and Codemasters, in 2009 he founded his own studio, Wonderland Software, to make mobile games.
It released a game named GodFinger in 2009 through publisher ngmoco, which was one of the first companies to kickstart the free-to-play social mobile gaming bandwagon in the West, after Apple opened up in-app purchases to free iOS games in October 2009.
In April 2011, Wonderland was bought by social games giant Zynga, where Wiggins spent 20 months as general manager of its Zynga Mobile UK studio. He left in November 2012, lay low for six months, and then announced a new indie studio named JiggeryPokery.

Source: https://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2013/jul/18/jiggerypokery-social-games-freemium-zynga