29 Mar

Apropos to their namesake, Boston-based casual developer Floodgate Entertainment (Flowerz, Daycare Nightmare) becomes the latest acquisition to Zynga’s massive industry infrastructure grab. The studio will join with Zynga Boston, Floodgate’s founder Paul Neurath becoming the new studio’s Creative Director. The specific details of the deal have not been released.

With such growing dominance over the social market, there are few platforms Zynga doesn’t have an investment in. One of the chief exceptions, Xbox Live Arcade, has been a mysterious omission for the company in the eyes of many analysts. Brian Reynolds, Zynga Chief Game Designer, recently spoke on the issue with IndustryGamers. The brass tax? 30 million registered users is insignificant compared to 500 million.

“We’re after a lot of demographic. If I explain what we think is the core magic of social, I think that will explain the relative attraction, or the lens through which we view the relative attraction of different platforms. The thing that seems to make social gaming and networking magical is the fact that all my friends are potentially there and they might see the things that I’m posting or doing or expressing,” Reynolds began.”[Xbox Live’s] too small a demographic. Think about, of my friends, how many of them own an Xbox 360? Well, I’m a game developer and I even come from a triple-A space so we might even be in the double digits… Twenty or maybe even thirty percent of my friends might have an Xbox 360, but effectively 100% of them have Facebook and effectively 100% of them have a mobile phone. Of them, probably 90% have a smartphone.

“So when you think about the social potential of a platform… if we made a game on Xbox Live, I think – forgetting about the fact that I might have an artificially high percentage of friends that do it because of what my profession is – 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.” continued Reynolds, “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. I mean, we’ve got to be on several different kinds of platforms, but especially if we can figure out a way to have people socialize cross-platform. Then, hey, we’re helping with the problem. We’re helping people socialize that wouldn’t be able to.”