Dirk Knemeyer

Software development, marketers vs. engineers, and Facebook gaming

Software development, marketers vs. engineers, and Facebook gaming, January 17, 2011

A short comment contextualizing the prediction could go right here

In the early days of software, software was for the most part all engineer driven. With the rise of the web that changed, and in the early days of the web it was all about fighting for the supremacy of the website between the marketing organization and the engineering organization. In software and apps the creators, the experience-makers really stayed—and largely have stayed—in power, which, generally, I think is a really good thing. But Facebook is one context where the marketers have taken hold and taken the lead, and we’re seeing the deleterious effects of that with things like the Facebook games, it’s really a shame.

Now, we shouldn’t be terribly surprised about this. People are flocking to these games. There is seemingly no incentive for them to change what they are doing because this is a money machine. Well, I have two points to make on that. First, this is going to change. The market will stop responding to these black holes of suckdom. It may not be today, or tomorrow, but it will change. There will be a demand for the experience-to-investment ratio to get substantially better. And then the games will dutifully shift to meet the market. But my second point is the more immediate one. class=”prediction-highlight”>Remember the Golden Rule? Treat others as you would like them to treat you. I can assure you that the designers of these games are not designing experiences they want to play. They are designing business-driven income generators. We live in a capitalist society, and a game development company needs to make money to stay in business. What we have instead are games that are generating massive profits while being true embarrassments of experience design. class=”prediction-highlight”>The design decisions are shameful, and I can assure you if the designers were creating something they wanted to play they would craft things that were far different. Well, take the first step Facebook game designers. Create something you want to play. The great computer games of the past came from the minds of gamers, people who thought, “Wow, I would LOVE to play this!” and had a vision and made that vision real. This generation of Facebook games are coming right from the minds of marketers: What theme can we copy that is popular? How can we get people to add more friends? How can we get people to keep spending money? How can we force people to spend time in the game whether they want to or not?