Congratulations Zynga! Some Reflections on Shanghai, Casual Gaming and Zynga

William Volk, CCO

Post Featured in Gamasutra

On a Facebook group dedicated to Veterans of the Video Game Industry, the topic of Activison’s Shanghai game came up. Created by Brodie Lockard and launched in the mid 1980′s, this casual game was a popular casual game title for 15 years. When I was at Activision (1988 to 1994) I always wondered why we didn’t try harder to build the next Shanghai.

A typical topic at the GDC (Game Developer Conference) was “how do we bring in more people to gaming” often that was “how do we bring in more women into gaming.” The success of Shanghai in these segments was always of interest to many industry folks.

Fast forward to today. Zynga’s successful IPO (and EA’s impending $1B acquisition of PopCap, creators of the hit casual game Bejeweled) shows just how far casual games have come. Of course the social aspect, the interaction of players via achievements, gifts and invites, has added to the richness and popularity of these games.

So Congratulations Zynga. Not just for the IPO, but for expanding the audience for gaming for all casual and social games.

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