Playfish伦敦工作室总监Jeferson Valadares及其团队肩负沉重使命。他们的任务是：理清社交游戏的未来发展方向。在Valadares看来，这意味着他们需在游戏中融入更多社交情 感和故事元素。Valadares表示，“第一代游戏主要关乎竞争和排行榜元素，我们正在观察这类游戏的未来发展态势及要如何充分利用Facebook有 所变化的用户体验。”Valadares在某次采访中谈及如何将团队视作企业单位进行管理，分析社交游戏领域的下步发展，及要如何在全球范围内经营公司文化。
Playfish’s Jeferson Valadares on teams as business units, social game evolution and managing the company’s culture
by Vlad Micu
Playfish London’s studio director Jeferson Valadares and his team have a big task ahead of them. Their mission: figure out what’s next for social games. For Valadares, that means bringing out more social emotions and narrative in games. “The first generation was about competition and leaderboards, but the second generation is more about self-expression,” says Valadares. “We’re still waiting to see what is going to be next and how to make use of the changing user experience on Facebook.” We sat down with him to talk about teams as business units, the next step in social game evolution and managing a company’s culture worldwide.
Little big teams
“We spend a lot of time experimenting on our live games,” says Valadares. “Every week, there’s always something new in a game. The benefit of having a lot of games and big audience is that you can try these things out in different games and see what works.” With each team at Playfish managing their game as a small business unit, this process allows them to easily find out which new features work well. The individual teams then take the successful features and appropriate them into their own game.
“There are teams that are starting new games now, and these are the teams that are trying different types of game concepts,” says Valadares. One of those new teams at Valadares’ studio has started to take a more collaborative approach to playing social games. According to Valadares, the goal was to figure out how this could minimize the amount of friends playing a social game, but increase the social relationship between them. “Instead of doing something with ten people you are just colleagues with, why don’t you do something with three people you’re friends with,” explains Valadares.
Quality > quantity
With an increasing amount of game companies focusing on social games, the social game space has experienced exponential growth in the past couple of years.
Valadares sees the positive side of this growth, not only encouraging his own colleagues to experiment more, but also hoping to see more of that around him.
“When the space gets this big, there is space for people to do some unique things which might not be for everyone,” he argues. “But there are enough people who are interested in that to be successful.”
Aside from experimentation, Valadares is also noticing a rise in projects that involve cooperative game modes. Whether or not that could translate into social games is still not clear. “It could be,” says Valadares. “I’m not sure whether that’s going to happen in the short-term though, just because the more high-end you get, the more computing you need. Unless we move to things like OnLive, where you don’t need a strong computer when those things take off, then we’ll see social high-end as well.”
“Sometimes we look at board games,” admits Valadares. “The value of having good writing, a good story. It’s something that is really compelling to people in general.” There are lots of things Valadares would like to see in the social space. “A really great story-based game, because a story is something that is very strong for humans, always has been, and I suspect always will be. So how can we weave that in with the social experience more strongly? There have been a few shallow attempts.”
Undergoing substantial growth, Valadares’ studio in London is very much struggling to keep their corporate culture in place. “We’ve been growing a lot, there are maybe three people who have left in the last year or so,” says Valadares. “I think that’s pretty good. We’re still hiring a lot. I think the company is four times bigger then when I joined, which was a little over a year ago.”
Because of that growth, Valadares has been constantly asking himself “how we can celebrate success and not forget the reason we do things.” With new offices starting in different areas of the world, a lot of Playfish people are moving around trying to maintain that same culture everywhere. “In London, everybody kind of sees what’s happening, but it’s harder to keep the other studios connected,” admits Valadares. “We’re still trying to grow while maintaining the creative spirit that we had in the beginning.”
But baring in mind the particular cultures of the regions each Playfish office is located in, some of those cultural variations should also be encouraged. “In China, the guys in the office like their particular games,” explains Valadares. “In the past, we tried to make them do Western games, but what we actually realized is that they’re better doing what they understand. That’s exactly why we have an office in the US, Europe and Asia.”（Source：gamesauce）