John Schappert on why he left EA for Zynga

John Schappert on why he left EA for Zynga
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 16th 2012 at 2:05PM

Casual, social and mobile is making everyone a gamer, says Zynga COO

Former EA COO John Schappert left the publisher and the console business behind for Zynga as he saw casual and mobile gaming as the future of the industry, the development veteran told Develop in a recent interview.

Schappert shocked many with his decision to leave his position at EA to join the controversial social games giant in 2011, but said the casual space was where he felt games were going.

Whilst he said many consumers still play console games, the mobile and browser space had the potential to attract billions of users.

“It’s where I saw gaming going,” said Schappert.

“When I was at Electronic Arts I worked very closely with the group that had casual, mobile and social, and you just saw the explosive growth that was happening in that. It’s going from a couple of hundred million gamers to everyone being a gamer, billions of people.

“I’ve been in the industry my entire career. I love games, but I look at my own habits: I have fewer and fewer times where I could dedicate 40 hours to a longer play time experience.

“But I find myself dedicating ten, 15 minutes here and there to these short-burst experiences.”

Schappert added that even traditional parts of the industry could not afford to ignore social gaming, and had to look beyond consoles when creating big budget triple-A titles.

“People have to change. You have to think about things differently,” he said.

“You can’t think about $60 games and an installed base of a console. You’ve got to think ‘where are all the gamers today?’ They’re on that iPhone, they’re on Android devices, they’re on tablets, Macintosh, they’re on that PC, they are everywhere.”

For the full feature, as well as other interviews with Zynga execs, you can read it here.