Kixeye wants some friendly competition in the core-focused social space

Kixeye CEO Will Harbin explains why he wants to see more core-focused competition on Facebook, noting particularly why a lack of quality content is holding back the market.
Kixeye is one of the few social developers out there that isn't targeting a casual audience. Its strategy titles such as Backyard Monsters and Battle Pirates have found a fairly strong audience on the platform, but the company believes a lack of core competition is holding back the market. Company CEO Will Harbin sees a wealth of untapped potential in the social space, and the only way to realize it, he says, is for developers to release content that appeals to more than just the casual crowd. Speaking to Gamasutra, Harbin estimated that "maybe 10 percent" of the core audience on Facebook is actually playing games, and developers just aren't releasing enough games for those players to encourage growth. "There's just a lack of quality content. That's what it boils down to. Up until two years ago, there was zero content there. The casual audience was the first audience to have any content on Facebook, and core games just aren't there yet." Of course, other developers like Kabam and Row Sham Bow are also targeting that core demographic, but Harbin said a handful of developers aren't enough to realize the market's potential. He further explained that developers don't need to create city-management titles, isometric strategy games, or other genres most often seen on social networks. Rather, he believes there isn't much difference between Facebook and any other game platform. "I've been trying to tell developers is that social gaming is just another platform, but with slightly handicapped tech. The same kind of game mechanics work -- of course you have to balance some kind of economy -- but it's really not that hard when you have one game up and running; you learn from it," he said. As Harbin sees it, core developers just need to give Facebook development a try. As long as those developers care about the games they make, everything else will follow. "Chances are, Facebook doesn't have a game that you like -- so make what you like! If it works on another platform, it'll work here; it's just an empty canvas," he said.

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