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Feature: Square Enix's Tsuchida On Learning The Social Game

In a new Gamasutra feature interview, longtime Square Enix developer and Front Mission creator Toshiro Tsuchida discusses the curiosity that inspired him
In a new Gamasutra feature interview, longtime Square Enix developer and Front Mission creator Toshiro Tsuchida discusses what inspired him to make the move to social game network GREE. In a word: curiosity. "Well, one thing is that, as I got hands-on with social games as a player, I wanted to learn more about the design methodology behind them," Tsuchida told Gamasutra. "I didn't want to be out of the loop on that knowledge as I continued to work on games, and I felt I might as well be where there's the most available on the subject." Tsuchida said that after a career focused on "'deeper' games that tried to attract users by really having them develop a love for the title" he was curious to find out why "all these users -- including myself -- are getting addicted to this lighter stuff" in social games. In the interview, Tsuchida expressed interest in the ability to change a social game's design on the fly based on analyzing the play patterns of actual users, but said he wasn't sure whether the free-to-play business model would prove to be better in the long run. "There are a lot of ways to monetize social games, and on the other hand, a lot of console games get their budgets only because companies can predict how much they'll sell," he noted. "There are a lot of approaches, but from a creative viewpoint, going free and seeing the amount of players expand as a result is a very welcome thing." The full interview goes on to discuss issues such as increasing complexity in social games, compressed development schedules in the social arena, and whether traditional audiences can cross over to social games.

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