True originality is not always easy to find in social gaming. And many games incorporate ideas from others and “borrow” whole concepts. We at Monkeybin are the first to admit we base our games off of well known game mechanics. But we do not steal someone's game.
I imagine the social gaming revolution has claimed a few traditional board game companies around the world as its victims. But one pretty ancient Dutch company refused to lie down and let the social gaming juggernaut run over it and splat it into a million and one jigsaw pieces. Its logo is an elephant but the company was rapidly becoming a dinosaur of the gaming world, until it embraced new technology and started using it as the creative tool it was always meant to be.
The more I look around the more it seems that Monopoly money just doesn’t get people excited anymore. If you’ve noticed how Facebook is becoming more like a casino every day you will understand what I’m talking about. How has social gambling come to play such a large role in social gaming (talk about "monetising games"!) and is it creating any problems?
Electronic Arts (EA) is big news; it is currently the fifth most successful social game developer on the planet, with approximately 33 million monthly active users.
So when it announces that it will drop three of its social games from Facebook, there tends to be a few shudders through the industry. Shares in Zynga, Facebook, and Electronic Arts all took a hit after the announcement.
Why is the developer taking this step and what does it mean in a wider sense?
If you like your social games pure and unadulterated then look away now.
Get ready for the inevitable invasion. When the printed word was king, the marketers didn’t take long in getting their ads in print; when radio came along, the ad men were suddenly in our ears selling us stuff; then TV came – and we all know what happened there; when the Internet came along it threw the advertisers a little – it was a new world, where people were in control of the content they read and watched – but soon banner ads and Pay Per Click came along.
Wherever people go, the marketing men follow and that’s why we shouldn't be surprised at what’s happening to social and mobile gaming.
A recent article in Forbes magazine asked “What Makes a Good Social Game?”
It's definitely worth considering, given that the games market is so competitive and is now worth around $15 billion.
The social gaming experts they spoke to were from Popcap and Gramble and they identified seven main characteristics, one of which we focus on below.
Sony’s recent announcement that the next generation PS4, to be unveiled later this year, will allow sharing of the game experience on social networks, is another sign that the “social” part of gaming is becoming king.
Until now, the experience of playing social games on Facebook on your PC, or via apps for the iphone, iPad or Android devices, has been considered quite separate from the console experience offered by the likes of Sony and Nintendo.
Is that about to change, with Sony’s long-awaited announcement?
In such a fast-paced sector as social gaming, on such a rapidly-changing platform as Facebook, it’s often hard to know where everything is heading.
Success in social gaming is nearly always fleeting; there is no resting on laurels for game developers if they strike gold, as there is always a competitor waiting in the wings, ready to shoot them down, declare "game over" and step in to take their place at the next opportunity.
Despite many challenges, Facebook’s social gaming platform remains the best barometer of the sector as a whole, and we take a look at where it’s going as 2013 unfolds.
Social gaming and instant messaging development companies have generally ploughed separate paths since the explosion of social media and mobile Internet-ready devices created a boom in both these areas.
Though they are obviously close bosom buddies, with the “social” component of gaming lying in the ability to chat while playing, people use messaging outside of gaming – and so the line has generally been clear between mobile messaging app companies and game development companies.
In Asia that’s changing… the “line” has already been crossed and we may see more of it in the future.
I am not a “gamer” and have never classed myself as one. Never owned a Playstation, Xbox or Wii; only ever purchased one PC game in my lifetime (Championship Manager!) and would rather watch angry birds scrapping on a bird table than play the game.
Yet I know the addictive power of social board games. In fact, I took counseling at one stage – well, not quite, but my wife booked me in!