It's "damaging traditional gaming" he notes, but how it'll pan out "is anyone's guess." Dyack feels it's a huge bubble waiting to pop, it's "going to crash very hard."
Everyone seems to be raving the name of social gaming and setting up studios, large and small, to churn out Facebook, iPhone and other apps to get a slice. Dennis Dyack feels these ventures will fall prey to the industry bubble bursting as it 'has no real future'.
"It is damaging traditional gaming for sure but... how it’s going to work out is anyone’s guess. The trend that I see is it’s probably going to be one of the biggest bubbles and explosions that our industry's seen in a long time and I think when it crashes it’s going to crash very hard. I don’t think there’s an economy there," said Dyack.
It's the amount of capital that's poured into the social gaming space that concerns Silicon Knights' boss. It would be better spent elsewhere within the industry?
"I don’t know about Zynga – I think that’s a big micro, but I think that the amount of venture that’s being poured in, in general, that's most of the video game industry investment. As far as I know right now, it's going into pure social gaming," he continued.
"It looks like marketing to me. It doesn’t look like real gaming. And maybe it’ll change, I don’t know. It looks very, very dangerous. I think Zynga’s valuated more than some traditional publishers right now that have been in the industry for decades. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it. It seems imaginary to me... it doesn’t look long term healthy to me."
"And right now you’re seeing a lot of influx in venture and you’re seeing a lot of excitement and a lot of pie in the sky ideas, but when games actually have to start showing pure revenue and real ‘here’s how much we made and here’s how much it cost’ ...I think that industry is going to not last very long," cautioned Dyack.
Not everyone is quick to jump on social gaming, like giant Activision-Blizzard who has steered clear. Dyack says many more feel the same way as Activision does.
"I think there are a lot of publishers out there that don’t agree with it and they just haven’t spoken about it," he said. "I don’t see Nintendo going into that space, as an example. There are a lot of publishers that I don’t see going into that space."
Experimentation with the model is one thing, like with what EA is doing, compared to throwing in your whole lot with it. "So if Silicon Knights said hey, we’re going to throw 3 or 4 people on a social game and see what happens that’s very different than me saying, ‘hey I think that’s going to be really successful,'" Dyack went on.
"You know, we may do that in the future but it’s kind of like an experiment versus 'this is our business model.' I tried playing FarmVille, I really did, but it’s not my cup of tea. And I’m not saying that FarmVille’s a bad game but as a gamer who's played games all my life, I know what kinds of games I want to play."
"I play games every day and I’m always trying new stuff. Our golden rule is we make games that we want to play ourselves and I just look at those games and those are just games I don’t want to play for whatever reason. I just think that they're not a good use of my time versus quality." Is social gaming on track for a huge bubble burst?