Molyneux: Facebook is changing PC gaming

Molyneux: Facebook is changing PC gaming

Peter Molyneux reckons that Facebook and other social gaming sites are changing the face of PC gaming.

Peter Molyneux has commented that the PC gaming industry is in the process of being reborn, a process which is being spearheaded by social gaming sites like Facebook.

Specifically, Molyneux thinks companies like Zynga, who make the popular casual game Farmville, are on the cutting edge regarding where the PC games industry is headed.

"The surprising thing about the PC, that's just starting to happen now, is that gaming is being reborn on the PC," Molyneux told Switched, via Eurogamer.

"You've got Facebook, everybody's talking about Facebook games and there's this company called Zynga and they make these games with 88 million people...Everybody's making these big opus epics, and jealously looking at these Zynga new kids on the block and saying some disparaging things, quite often, about them. But it feels like everything involved in gaming is changing at the moment, and changing radically."

Molyneux also reckons that consoles are changing too, with new input devices like Natal helping to make the consoles a better home for hardcore gamers.

"It’s like I was born on PC. I felt it was this thing that was completely open-ended and that felt great," he said.

"When I skipped over to the console it felt like being slightly imprisoned by this box... But now they keep on giving us this new hardware stuff. Natals, Moves and input controllers - they kind of feel a bit more PC-ish."

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
chrisb2e9 22nd March 2010, 12:48 Quote
Sadly I agree. They (facebook gaming company's) are making a lot of money. And how much coding is involved in farmville compared to crysis?
Sadly for me, I would rather play crysis...

On a side note, I think Peter says random things until he gets something right. Or at least one person agrees with him...
Silver51 22nd March 2010, 12:51 Quote
Farmville ... cutting edge ... where the PC games industry is headed.

Which reminds me; I really need to get the name of Molyneux's pharmacist.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Facebook games were all about targeted advertising and harvesting user's details, (then selling them on to even more advertising companies.)
theflatworm 22nd March 2010, 12:51 Quote
If facebook flash games are the the future, I'm buying myself a sega master-system right now, just to get ahead of the curve.
mi1ez 22nd March 2010, 12:52 Quote
HAHA! You're right about Molyneux, he runs the percentage game!

As much as I hate it, PC gaming is becoming popular again, but not the games i'm interested in (HL2:Ep3 on facebook anyone?)
theflatworm 22nd March 2010, 12:55 Quote
Originally Posted by mi1ez
HAHA! You're right about Molyneux, he runs the percentage game!

As much as I hate it, PC gaming is becoming popular again, but not the games i'm interested in (HL2:Ep3 on facebook anyone?)

Invite 50 'friends' to gain the crowbar. Post 5000 bits of annoying junk on your own wall to deploy grav gun. Post 10,000 bits of annoying junk on other people's wall to... rinse, repeat.

Sadly, I was actually addicted to Mafia Wars for a little while. And I played Farmville *hangs head in shame*.
Woodspoon 22nd March 2010, 13:00 Quote
Zynga, poor games for people who are at work and bored.
Natal, a late attempt to cash in on the Wii's turf, with most Wii's now in the corner gathering dust.
Zero_UK 22nd March 2010, 13:02 Quote
Haha yeah... =\ Since when did games like farmville appeal to the true PC gaming audience. Farmville is just for the casual gaming market where the definition of fun comes from mindless straight forward and time consuming clicking where no one wins or loses but just gets their farm or fish all pretty and then demands more of your time to keep it that way. Casual games like that are just cheap and simple and as evidenced easily mass produced.

It amuses me seeing a casual gaming audience. "Ooo look at my experience it's more than yours haha!!! OWNED!!" hm. Okay, shows you've wasted more time on a process that you have gained nothing. You don't need to learn the game, you cant win, you cant lose, it doesn't make you think. Try a bit of starcraft and see you get your arse kicked, bit of Quake Live. Oh wait you don't like it, because everything has to be given to you on a plate. Or if you call flash games a PC game then play some real retro games like tetris, asteroids or what ever. -,-...
UrbanMarine 22nd March 2010, 13:04 Quote
I wouldn't call it reborn, just recycled to the casual social network.
Farmville = Viva Pinata
Mafia Wars = Gangland

Sadly I don't finding it to be cutting edge. More like a 180 turn back to the past (Retro gaming).
knuck 22nd March 2010, 13:07 Quote
farmville is NOT gaming, period.

I hate how everyone refers to any kind of crappy game as "gaming". The real gaming is hardcore. Right as I am typing this, my Zune shuffled to the boss song of MegaMan III to remind me what real hardcore gaming is (mostly was)

"iPhone/CellPhones/mp3Players/facebook/flashInGeneral" games areNOT gaming, they are merely a way to kill 2minutes before you get bored of the damn thing
Fizzban 22nd March 2010, 13:18 Quote
Agrees ^

I don't think we should confuse 'PC gaming' with 'browser gaming'. You might use a browser largely on a PC, but that is where the similarity stops. The Zynga offerings are purely for browsers and are nothing more than tea-break pastimes.
javaman 22nd March 2010, 13:20 Quote
Biggest problems with these games are they're on not. Id rather keep my soul thankyou
Boxcarr 22nd March 2010, 15:06 Quote
Desktop defender is on facebook now... not quite as good as the original but its still fun to blow stuff up.

( & plants vs. zombies is a flash game if i'm not mistaken)
thehippoz 22nd March 2010, 15:15 Quote
I know why can't facebook users entertain themselves with videos from break or youtube like they used to.. zygna stole that game strait up from farm town

half my family on facebook plays mafia wars.. booooo actually facebook could be the new steam if they were smart- it's basically untapped and you see what little games they've got people who like solitair and minefield are all into it
liratheal 22nd March 2010, 17:05 Quote
Yet more crap dribbling from Captain Molyneuxs mouth.

Nothing new, nothing surprising, and nothing to take note of. He can go be a jabbering idiot elsewhere.
wuyanxu 22nd March 2010, 17:18 Quote
Originally Posted by Ghys
farmville is NOT gaming, period.

I hate how everyone refers to any kind of crappy game as "gaming". The real gaming is hardcore. Right as I am typing this, my Zune shuffled to the boss song of MegaMan III to remind me what real hardcore gaming is (mostly was)

"iPhone/CellPhones/mp3Players/facebook/flashInGeneral" games areNOT gaming, they are merely a way to kill 2minutes before you get bored of the damn thing


any facebook game is just a simple flash game, would people call miniclip's flash games PC gaming?

and well said on portable gaming, apart from a few exceptions, gaming on those small devices are just minute wasters.
(excepting being well ported games such as Peggle and Plants vs Zombies)
mastorofpuppetz 22nd March 2010, 18:32 Quote
This guy is an idiot, don't mean to sound harsh, but Ican't remember another dev that everytime he speaks it is total rubbish. Farmville, facebook is not Pc gaming in the least, they are simple time wasters, no different then the plethora of web based games that have been around for years.
1ad7 22nd March 2010, 20:19 Quote
well lets hope he starts making facebook games and leaves the lot of us the **** alone.
s3v3n 22nd March 2010, 23:03 Quote
He seems like a guy who tries real hard to convince other ( and maybe himself) that he thinks outside of the box. Change for the sake of change gives you ADD.
D-Cyph3r 22nd March 2010, 23:08 Quote
Molyneux needs a big slice of STFU cake...
Elton 22nd March 2010, 23:16 Quote
FB gaming isn't gaming at all..

Now paradoxially if it had SimCity games on FB, I'd totally jump on it, I absolutely love SimCity/Tycoon games.
LordPyrinc 22nd March 2010, 23:23 Quote
Casual gaming has its place for the bored mindless masses whose bosses don't closely monitor their employees' browsing habits.

I'll stick to real games for now.
Star*Dagger 23rd March 2010, 01:34 Quote
Originally Posted by 1ad7
well lets hope he starts making facebook games and leaves the lot of us the **** alone.

This made me laugh
livesabitch 23rd March 2010, 02:25 Quote
Have to say facebook is S**T i hate the site what a load of rubbish! why would i sit on my computer and talk to people when i can go down the pub and be social! is it realy that hard now days to have a life? but back to the point PC gaming doesn't involve a browser! FULL STOP. im into my COD and i love it! now thats gaming! wether im going via the story or online gaming! playing a pethetic game like spazvill is a waste of anyones time, that has no self pitty to play a real game! enough said!
Marc5002 23rd March 2010, 02:29 Quote
These game on pc Should be Second-hand Game For when you'r at work and as a pause or when you'r reading forum post and reply and help at same tiem it can be held very easly : but to all those people who are spending... 30-50$US PER Few month to get EXTRA play time energy Faster : and Imbalanced Item ! shame on you !!!
asphinx 23rd March 2010, 06:25 Quote
Say what you will about Facebook and Peter Molyneux but I for one thinks he makes a valid point. Something I'm apparently alone in thinking. If PC gaming is defined by the people using it, in other words, the people who play games on PC's? Which at least in my mind, should be the definition of PC gaming. With everyone moaning and complaining instead if waking up and realizing that the evolution of how we define gaming has already begun. Stay with, or stay behind. Don't embrace every new thing like it's "the cake" (already been doing that for years, check!) but don't shun it like it's got the plaque either.

Saying "The real gaming is hardcore.", "it's just simple flash games" makes Peter's point all the more valid, it has changed and is still changing as everything else evolving and you just haven't kept up. A game is still a game even if your mother plays it. Or humor me this? What makes Crysis a game?

Sometimes I think Peter Molyneux is full of **** (despite still liking both Fable games for what they were, as opposed to what he "promised"), and sometimes he makes valid arguments.
Nonetheless he has probably realized that the games they made years ago (Dungeon Keeper for instance springs to mind) are now sell-able again. Changed the platform a bit, changed the demographics, target 400 million active users, where a big portion of them have never even seen the game, and for those who have. Nostalgia here I come.

Facebook according to their own site, has more than 400 million active users
Steam has according to multiple sources 25 million active users
Assuming the numbers are somewhat biased, that is still quite a large gap.
BentAnat 23rd March 2010, 07:32 Quote
The bottom line is that money runs the industry.
There's money to be had on Facebook and the likes.
I for one wouldn't be surprised to see EA publishing FB games, for example. It might be a fad, but it's a fad that makes money.And FB gaming IS introducing a lot of people to gaming at present. They're similar people to those that bought PopCap games... with the delivery system being new and, evidently, working.
Sifter3000 23rd March 2010, 09:05 Quote
Asphinx gets it right when he says PC gaming is defined by the people playing the games. The whole point of PC gaming, why I always liked it, was that it was such a broad church - because there's no central authority (ie Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo) saying what can and can't be published, or selling expensive SDKs/dev kits, the PC is home to the greatest variety of games around. I never expected to like them all, but that's not a reason to say something is/is not deserving of being called a game.

As BentAnat says, Facebook gaming is developing - EA will be on there, and Sid Meier is working on a version of Civ for it...
[USRF]Obiwan 23rd March 2010, 10:00 Quote
Originally Posted by theflatworm

Invite 50 'friends' to gain the crowbar. Post 5000 bits of annoying junk on your own wall to deploy grav gun. Post 10,000 bits of annoying junk on other people's wall to... rinse, repeat.


Does anybody knows how i get ride of all the junk (like: Eat a cake, drink a bear, and weird gifts) from my newsfeeds...

ah found it. Click Hide button when hovering over (i hope this hides these bullshit items for ever)
OnyxLilninja 23rd March 2010, 10:40 Quote
Peter Molyneux is no idiot, I think he makes a good point. Farmville and Mafia Wars are just the tip of the iceberg for what's possible. If **** 'games' like those are popular, what will happen when Sid Meier releases his Civilisation Network on Facebook... it should be a world conqueror.
cjmUK 23rd March 2010, 11:59 Quote
So if I'm not on MyFace, and never will be on it, does this mean that I'm no longer a gamer? :(
supermonkey 23rd March 2010, 13:58 Quote
Personally, I think a lot of people commenting here have completely missed his point. Either that, or their PC-as-gaming egos are threatened by the idea that their casual-as-gaming acquaintances are encroaching on their turf.

I would consider myself middle-of-the-road in this debate: On Saturday nights I meet online with a group of close friends for some gaming. We play anything from Quake 2 (with maps we created ourselves), Warcraft 3 (again - with maps we created ourselves), or Left 4 Dead (1 and 2, sometimes with user-created maps we've discovered online). I'm not particularly into Starcraft, but my friends are big fans. Add to that the fact that we're developing a small turn-based strategy game of our own, and you could say that we're gamers, if not totally hard core - if anyone can actually come up with a reasonable definition for "hard core gamer."

On the other hand, I also get a lot of enjoyment out of social games like Rockband. My wife, who joins our gaming sessions in all of the games listed above, also plays quite a few Facebook games (she's played through Mousehunt, Mafia Wars, Farmville, and Cafe World, to name a few). I don't play Facebook games, but that's more due to the fact that I don't have a Facebook account.

In some respect, I'm confused as to how a group of self-professed geeks who supposedly know so much more about technology than the common folks could be so short-sighted when it comes to PC gaming in whatever form it's presented. On the other hand, given the attitudes displayed in just about every other arena of the techno-world, I'm not at all surprised. This is gaming's answer to the whole iPad-Netbook debate. Or it could be the Linux-Windows-OSX debate. Or it could be the Nintendo-Xbox-PS3 debate. HD-DVD vs Blu-ray, anyone?

So the casual Facebook games aren't as in-depth as Crysis. Then again, how in-depth is Crysis, anyway? I'll give you the backstory - casual games rarely have much story behind them, while the so-called "hard core" games are often driven by some kind of narrative. But to suggest that there is much more involved game play is a bit far-fetched. I could just as easily boil most FPS games down to: run around, point, click, repeat. Not terribly in-depth, when you think about it. After a few years playing Warcraft 3, even it becomes a bit monotonous at times: create peons, harvest materials, start the pre-determined build order. From my experience, many RTS games follow a similar pattern.

More to the point, though, is that it doesn't really matter in the long run which game is harder, or more in-depth, or has flashier graphics, or more lines of code, or (insert arbitrary criteria here). Games are games. Some are meant to be casual fun, some are by design meant to be more challenging. That alone does not make any one game better, nor more hard-core than the next. It just makes it different.

You all can continue to dig in your heels and insist that playing Crysis makes you hard core, and that "pwning noobs" in Starcraft separates the men from the boys. In the meantime, the Wii and Plants vs Zombies will continue to be outrageously popular because people in the real world actually understand concepts like "fun" and "entertainment." You know, things "games" are supposed to be.
cjmUK 23rd March 2010, 14:40 Quote
I think you have missed the point Supermonkey.

Facebook games are incredibly simple and thus are easy to produce, but they have a short shelf-life and are harder to monetise. So while an incredibly large number of people play *some* of the games, they don't give much of a return - they only get income through advertising and micropayments.

This market will only ever be a fraction the size of the traditional PC games market (in terms of revenue) and that is only a small part of gaming as a whole. Sure, the number of registered players will often be *huge* but the casual gaming market is extremely shallow.

In my circle, a host of people are signed up for farmville, but only a small minority actively play (though in some cases these guys manage other peoples farms for them as well) - but not one of them has ever made any payment (or for any other games either). Nor are they ever going to. Farmville (and other facebook games) are minor distraction... it's a laugh for some (a chore for others), but if it came to paying for it, they'll walk away in the blink of an eye.

Molyneux purports to believe that facebook casual games are the future of PC gaming. It's not, and I don't think he believes it either - he simply likes the sound of his own voice and will state something eye-catching to hype up a game he's about to launch, or as in this case, to fill the gap until a future game is ready to be hyped (Fable III).

If Zynga are still in existence in 5 years time, I'll eat my words. IMHO, the best they can hope for is to be swallowed up by a larger publisher, but more likely they will have faded back into obscurity.
asphinx 23rd March 2010, 15:06 Quote
I apparently stand corrected in thinking I was alone in my opinions. Especially, but not exclusively, supermonkey continues and further explores some of the things I expressed. I also think cjmUK raises an interesting question, ironic or not.

If you aren't keeping up with current "platforms" of gaming, are you then also not a gamer? I personally don't think that's the case. I think for most people, simply by defining yourself as a gamer, you are indeed a gamer. Even if you only play games on NES for instance. But to me that makes the people who don't define themselves as gamers more interesting, even when they play Farmville on a daily basis. Has Facebook blurred the line between gamer and non-gamer, when both parties play games?
cjmUK 23rd March 2010, 15:24 Quote
Originally Posted by asphinx
I think for most people, simply by defining yourself as a gamer, you are indeed a gamer.

Can I consider myself a 'petrolhead' simply because I own a car? Am I a golfer because I play pitch & put in the summer with my mates? My brother-in-law owns a number of games for his PC including Microsoft Train Simulator and Crysis; is he a gamer?

I'd say the answer to all 3 questions is 'No'.

While people who (solely) play a limited amount of casual games can technically call themselves gamers, I don't think they really are gamers. Clearly there is no universally accepted definition of 'gamer', but I think the majority of people can agree on the extremes.

Some of the people playing facebook games would be considered gamers in my eyes, but most would not. Many people who regularly play PC games would be considered gamers in my eyes, but some would not. But to generalisel, we might regard PC gamers as 'Gamers' and facebook gamers as not - I the majority of cases of each, we would be right.
Woodspoon 23rd March 2010, 15:37 Quote
Mafia wars, Farmville etc. are not games but elaborate chain letters.
The design of the so called games is based around sharing with as many people as possible "congrats you've killed boss A share this with your friends to give bonus" "to get bonus A get x number of people to join your gang" or something along those lines to maximize advertising and the revenue that goes with it.
The gaming is an incidental hook to an advertising string.
asphinx 23rd March 2010, 16:32 Quote
Originally Posted by cjmUK
Can I consider myself a 'petrolhead' simply because I own a car? Am I a golfer because I play pitch & put in the summer with my mates? My brother-in-law owns a number of games for his PC including Microsoft Train Simulator and Crysis; is he a gamer?

I'd say the answer to all 3 questions is 'No'.

Then by your own definition you are not a petrolhead and not a golfer. And your brother-in-law is by your definition not a gamer, which is somewhat presumptuous of you. Are you entitled to define whether he is a gamer or not?
Where I think you misunderstand me, is when you confuse subjective opinions with objective opinions. I stated that if anyone considers themselves to be a gamer, then they are a gamer. Other people might disagree with them and they are entitled to do so, but to label someone as being "not a gamer" simply because they don't constrain to your personal opinions and/or beliefs is just wrong.
Take your brother-in-law as an example, does he consider himself to be a gamer? If he doesn't, then fine, both of your opinions match and there's probably no issues regarding "what a gamer is". But let's say that he does consider himself to be gamer, then who are you to take that definition from him? Maybe he's less of a gamer than you, or maybe he's a different kind of gamer. But in this example, he is still (in his subjective opinion) a gamer, whether you agree with him or not (in your subjective opinion).
The_Beast 23rd March 2010, 16:36 Quote
My mom is addicted to Farmville

Fizzban 23rd March 2010, 17:18 Quote
I think certain people are missing the point that while Mafia Wars and Farmville ect ARE games, they are NOT PC games. You play them in your browser and you don't even install them. Hell you don't even need a PC to play them.

So to suggest that these are some how affecting PC gaming is just daft. You might as well ask how Facebook is affecting console gaming.
cjmUK 23rd March 2010, 17:24 Quote
Originally Posted by asphinx

The point is that, as there is no definition of gamer, do we all make up our own definitions (as you prefer) or do we reach a general consensus (as I prefer)?

Perhaps you would care to define what you understand to qualify someone as a gamer?

For me, to be a gamer, you need to have more than a superficial, passing experience with computer games - you need a sustained interest and passion. A simplistic test would be that, when asked what hobbies they have, a gamer would say gaming!

Would a casual farmville or mafia wars person list gaming as a hobby? No, it's generally just a passing interest.

It's very egalitarian to wish people to define their inclusion as gamers, but beyond that it isn't very practical.

In more practical terms, I regard myself as a software developer - and there is nothing legally to stop me using that term. Am I a software developer? Following the consensus, the whether I am a software developer or not would depend on whether I could demonstrate skills and experience that are synonymous with software development.

If I've merely written a few macros (or something equally trivial) then, perhaps technically I could be regarded as such - but the software development world wouldn't agree, and I'd be unlikely to gain work in the field.

So while anyone can call themselves a gamer, I disagree that it makes them so.
asphinx 23rd March 2010, 21:40 Quote
Originally Posted by cjmUK
also snipped

Actually, interestingly enough our definitions of gamers seems to be very equally matched. With the exception that I would probably be more likely to ask someone what they enjoy doing, rather than using the word hobby. But the point being, we have very similar if not identical definitions of what constitutes as a gamer. I'm especially fond of your "you need a sustained interest and passion" -wording.

I still say and think that people should be entitled to their own definitions of what constitutes a gamer, despite the fact that I myself might not always agree with their definition. The world, this community and a lot of people already have their own definitions anyway and as such people will judged according to the, can I call it "objective opinion", suggesting "according to a majority". I always hope that people would realize that there's both, and that they might be different.

Your practical example is a good one. But if I may add to it? Regarding yourself a software developer, having written a few macros (or something equally trivial). Would you apply for a position, where it is obvious that your definition and that of the general public is vastly different?

As for calling me egalitarian, I'll take that as a well intended compliment and hope it was meant as such.
|:-) 24th March 2010, 10:14 Quote
Some very interesting philosophical debates going on here about the deeper meaning of what it is to be considered a gamer, both in your own mind and in other people's opinions. So I couldn't resist adding my bit.....and some, sorry bout that!

I believe anything designed to be fun & entertaining (no matter how short lived or long lasted) and has some degree of challenge built into it (no matter how simple or complex) and requires the player to interact with something or someone, can be described as a game. Therefore by default someone who enjoys this type of activity could be described as a person who likes playing games.

Of course this could apply to anything, like they could be into hopscotch, cricket, chess or football.

So if you were someone who liked to play a game of cricket every other Sunday with the local team during the summer and watched all the big test when they were on TV, would you describe yourself as a cricketer? No you'd probably just say I like cricket and only if you'd ever made it professionally as a cricketer and earned a living from it would you then start calling yourself a cricketer.

So when it comes to computer games, if someone likes playing games that are based on a computer, whats the problem with calling them a gamer?
Well If we go by the above (and many other) real life examples of when you can say your a "something-er" most "gamers" don't have any right to call themselves gamers at all, I mean hands up how many of you get paid to play games? I'm guessing not many, so really the majority of us (including FB enthusiasts), are just people who like playing computer games, its just some of us are a little more dedicated/addicted to playing computer games than others.

For those that believe FB games will live a short lived life, I think your very much mistaken, they have their place probably for more than just a few good reasons. Two very good reasons that spring to my mind are...

1. Not everyone has access to a decent gaming rig, either due to financial constraints or other more pressing priorities in life. Hence why online FB/Zynga style games become an easy way to kill some time and get some (limited) enjoyment, with an Eee or a very basic laptop/netbook or home PC etc...

2. Initially the game play is FREE (in monetary terms) and you can continue to play for an indefinite period of time without spending a single dollar

Plus the comment made by someone above saying that FB people dont have a life and cant understand why they dont just go down the pub and talk to their friends there, is not just a little like the kettle calling the pot black! Its also pretty ignorant, as a lot of people who have lived very well traveled and colourful lives tend to have friends a little further a field than down the local pub! Like other countries in the REAL world that we inhabit, so FB is a good way to keep in touch with what good old friends from the other side of the world may be up to.

Anyway, as it happens I hate FB games because I play them...yeah how stupid is that, I waste my time killing 5 mins here and there on them, almost every day. I've never parted with a single dollar but I've lost precious hours on something very pointless that has no end to it, no winner or loser and no plot. I have also spent countless hours of my time (at an earlier point in my life), playing proper computer games, both PC, PS and Xbox and these have brought me great satisfaction in the past.

So I think it would be fair to say that I have experienced most forms of computer gaming and they all can be described as games, its just that PC & console gaming (as opposed to FB gaming) requires a little more dedication, time, commitment and $$$, for a much greater return in overall satisfaction and enjoyment. It just happens that I for one dont currently have the dedication, time, commitment or spare $$$.

Do I call myself a gamer? No definitely not.....but I do love games!
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