Games are designed for fun and game development companies are the only place where your bosses will be happy when they see you playing games, says Cadir Lee
BANGALORE, INDIA: Every one on this planet loves to play games-- either offline or online. From being a fun element to stress busters, games have become part of children, youth and adults as well. Simply put, there is a game for every one and plenty of options to hook to games of one's choice.
[image_library_tag 271/17271, align="left" width="150" height="215" title="Cadir Lee, Chief Technology Officer, Zynga Inc." alt="Cadir Lee, Chief Technology Officer, Zynga Inc." border="0" vspace="5" hspace="5" complete="complete" complete="complete" ,default]Though there are many companies which are pretty much active in providing online games for free, Zynga can be called the most popular among all. True to its theme, Zynga is truly connecting the world through games.
Recently, in an exclusive interaction with CIOL, Cadir Lee, chief technology officer, Zynga Inc. talked about how social gaming has become an extension of our lives and Zynga's plans to be innovative to stay ahead in the growing competition.
CIOL: Looking at the growing online gaming market, what are Zynga's plans to attract more online gamers?
Cadir Lee: Our mission is to connect the world through games and we believe, people are playing games for thousands of years. But in the past two or three decades, we have seen people making use of computers to play games.
The popularity of online games is evident from the fact that Zynga today has over 232 million monthly active users playing their games across the world, which include CityVille, FarmVille, Empires & Allies, Words With Friends, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker on global platforms.
Now, looking at the growth in the past decade, we see a transformation in social gaming and social world. To address the growing market, we have built some of the world's largest games using the latest technologies for Facebook, Google+, Tencent, MySpace, Yahoo, the iPad, the iPhone and Android devices.
CIOL: Going by Zynga's motive 'connecting the world through games', what are the plans to tap the growing smartphone market?
CL: We are really optimistic about the growth of smartphone market and smartphone is one of the key areas of focus apart from Web for Zynga.
With more number of new devices coming out everyday in the market, we would like to tap this growing market by releasing more number of titles especially for mobile market. In fact, our investment in this area has also increased in couple of years to bring out new creative and innovative games.
We are pretty heavily focused on mobiles and try to bring not only our web title to mobiles but also original games for smartphone users. We also have plans to release couple of new games in near future.
Next: Zynga collaboration with Facebook...
CIOL: Zynga got good exposure when you launched couple of games on Facebook. Now, you are planning to launch a separate website. How will this affect your collaboration with Facebook?
CL: Our collaboration with Facebook will continue and users can continue playing Zynga games on the Facebook. Even after launching our own site, we will stay connected with the Facebook.
With the new website from Zynga, we would like to bring new user interface, bring instant social networking to the website by creating an opportunity to meet new people for our users. To start with, we will allow only Zynga games on our sites and in future we are planning to allow others to host games, developed by individual developers.
I would like to emphasise that we are very close to Facebook and Facebook will be heavily integrated into Zynga.
CIOL: What are the key focus areas for Zynga and why?
CL: We continue to be very focused on social gaming and I feel we have done a tremendous work in the area of social gaming and happy to claim ourselves as leaders in gaming industry
I still feel social media is vast and there is pretty much to cover. There are more elements that we can bring into this media. We want to create experience and memorable events for our users with our games.
To share some of the examples, we have instances where our users have used our platform as a medium to get connected with their loved ones, to propose their loved one and to get married.
Keeping all this in mind, I feel we have really touched people and I still feel that we can do much more.
CIOL: Do you believe in targeting games for set type of target audience?
CL: Our core value is games should be played by anybody. We also want our games to be simple, approachable, easy to play and easy to learn.
In fact, we really work hard to bring out games which are addressed to all types of audiences and we hope everybody on this planet will play Zynga games.
Next: Games that can increase IT pros productivity...
CIOL: Do you have any plans to develop a game which can increase productivity of IT professionals?
CL: (laughs) No, but definitely we can work out something on these lines in coming days.
One important initiative that I would like to highlight is that we are very focused on education and we are doing a lot of work in the area of education, where we have come out with games for students in education sector. We are planning to expand this on zynga.org in coming days.
A recent research report on social gaming states that social gaming provides good relief, when people take short breaks between work. Hence, our games are designed to play for five or ten minutes to take benefit for those short breaks, get relaxed and increase productivity.
CIOL: What are the core technology focus for Zynga?
CL: One of the key focus is games engine, where we spent lot of time for game engine development. To comply our games with all the web browsers, we do a lot of testing on browsers for compatibility before it is offered to our customers.
Second one is Analytics, where we analyze the data of players who play our games on their interest and suggest other users to play games together with the first user after analyzing the data of the second user. This enables us to make use of our analytics data in a much better way to offer personalized experience for our users. Next one is the growing cloud computing area, where we claim that we are one of the leading users of cloud computing.
The last one would be HTML5 and open web stack, where we recently announced several projects for developer community.
CIOL: How do you see the growth of online gaming industry?
CL: It's been a rocket shift so far and we see tremendous amount of growth in mobile and expect more and more number of users embracing mobile.
We have identified mobile as a big area for future investment and excited to see the growth especially in places like India and China, where people can change the desktop era and shift from feature-rich phones to smartphones.
Next: Hiring in Zynga...
CIOL: How do you see the talent of Indian developers who are part of Zynga?
CL: Very high! One of the great things about Bangalore in particular is it has got a long history in technology but not much in gaming.
Just like the Silicon Valley, we have got wonderful multiple qualified people with great experience from top companies and which mixes well with Zynga.
CIOL: Are you still hiring in Bangalore center and any plans to expand to other cities?
CL: Yes, we are growing and we want to hire the best for our Bangalore centre.
We don't have any plans to go to any other city in India. Looking at the talent level and kind of knowledge that we see here, I still feel there are many potential employees in Bangalore who can be part of Zynga and I encourage all of them to apply.
CIOL: Why do you want engineering graduates/freshers to opt for game development industry?
CL: Games are designed for fun and it's the only place where your bosses will be happy when they see you playing games. It's a fun thing to do when people play games.
Gaming has always been a traditional computer science challenging area. Game development involves multi-player interaction, distributed system, asynchronous real time communication and cheating.
If some one has just graduated and really wants to hone their skills and develop their career in game
development industry, I would suggest them to be part of the growing industry to get updated on the latest technology which will succeed them a better career path in the future.