Long gone are the days of games such as Shoots and Ladders and Candyland. Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario are old friends now forgotten. There's a new kid on the block -- Zynga, the social gaming company that is growing at record speed, has changed the way people around the world play games and interact with one another online.
"Nightline" was given exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the company's headquarters and game studio in San Francisco. In an exclusive interview, CEO and founder Mark Pincus also gave us a first look at Zynga's newest game, "CityVille," a take on the company's super popular "FarmVille" game.
"Where in FarmVille you're growing crops, in CityVille you're growing neighborhoods," Pincus said. "In FarmVille you're tending to your animals and in CityVille, you're tending to your residents and your people. And in both cases, it's all about playing with your friends."
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Sean Kelly is the General Manager of CityVille, overseeing the development and execution of the new game.
"The concept is Monopoly meets Main Street. So, we think it's a great idea for users to be able to build a dream city from the ground up. So, they'll be letting their imagination run wild with all the different things you can do in a city," he explained. "We have every kind of restaurant. We've got different kinds of train stations. We have skyscrapers for high finance. We have really an opportunity for people to build whatever kind of city they want."
Kelly designed the game to allow users to create cities as diverse and the people creating them.
"So, if you're from a small town in real life, you can build a big, thriving metropolis. If you're from a big city, maybe you can redo it the way that you wish it was. It can have more community gardens or more open air space. We have all different kinds of things that you can use to decorate the game and express yourself," he said.
One of the goals when developing CityVille is to make it Zynga's most social game ever, Kelly added. "We even have more social interactions than we've ever done before around trading goods, sending people trains and all kinds of things that you can do to play with each other to grow your city."
The opportunity to interact with friends doesn't stop there. "In our game, you can even run a business in one of your friends' cities," Kelly said. "By interacting, I'm also actually making progress in the game and looking for ways to increase the number of friends that I can play with."
CityVille will also be Zynga's first game to launch in five different languages -- English, French, Italian, German and Spanish -- as well as the company's first game to use 3D-rendered technology, making CityVille its most complex game to date.
Before Zynga, the 44-year-old said he was a self-described "serial entrepreneur" who was making a career out of searching for a career.
"I joke to my friends, when I started this company that I'm kind of like the 41-year-old pitcher for the Yankees, who's still walking out to the mound, and he looks around, and all his friends are coaches or team owners, or they have car dealerships or something, and he's still doing it, and he's still at it," he said.
Now known for popular games like "Pincus's company has hit a grand slam.
Started in 2007, the CEO said Zynga grew out of what he described as the need for a website that was about having fun.