Gareth Davis, games chief at social networking giant Facebook, says we’re in the middle of a “renaissance” in casual video games, as users transform a once solitary activity into a social one.
“Game play is an essentially human activity, a social activity,” Davis said in an interview at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Facebook, which has 175 million active monthly users, has seen an explosion in application development since it opened its platform to third-party developers nearly two years ago. The site now boasts 50,000 applications, the largest category of which is games, with more than 5,000.
“With all that growth what we’ve seen is a tremendous interest in the usage of games.” Three of the top 10 apps are games, he said: Texas HoldEm Poker, Pet Society and Mafia Wars. “Poker just passed 11 million monthly users, which is the same size as World of Warcraft.”
“At the dawn of gaming way, way, way back all games were social. We play together as human beings and then we invented games, which were board games and chess and cards. And these are all inherently social games, they’re no fun on their own. What happened I think about 30 years ago is technology came along to the point where you can play a video game and the games tended to be solo games.”