Ex-Zynga UK GM questions viability of large mobile teams

Ex-Zynga UK GM questions viability of large mobile teams
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 19th 2013 at 12:38PM

'It's probably not a good idea to have 80 people working on a mobile game for two years'

JiggeryPokery founder and former Zynga UK boss Matthew Wiggins has expressed concern over the viability of large mobile game developers.

Speaking to The Guardian, Wiggins said many mobile firms do not need significant numbers of staff, as they don’t need that many developers to make successful games.

He explained that it’s “probably not a good idea” to have 80 people working on one mobile title for two years, and praised studios like Clash of Clans developer Supercell for its slow growth, which lessens the risk of failure down the line.

"What they should be worried about is they don't need the number of people that they've got to make successful games. It's probably not a good idea to have 80 people working on a mobile game for two years," said Wiggins.

"As Supercell have shown, it's about small cross-discipline teams with ownership over their games: making them, testing them and putting them out. Then you start to ramp the thing up. The risk is much lower than if you're someone like Bungie putting together [console game] Destiny."

Wiggins also questioned how much large teams working on just a few games would cost a company overtime, and such a business model meant that studios would have to guarantee their next game would be a hit to survive.

“Over time, the industry will support less of those companies,” he said.

“We're moving towards a film industry model, where a small number of very large companies can put a lot of money into games and turn them into an event," he says.

"But there's only so many of those humungous hits you can have. But the App Store supports that whole idea of smaller, more agile things. It's a tough environment for companies who think in terms of big, big budgets and big, big marketing."