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Why social features are equally important for console games as social games

Posted by: In: blog 10 Dec 2013 Comments: 0

Social media like Facebook, Google+ etc. give us a relatively straightforward way to put a ‘social wrapper’ on some of our game experiences, which was missing from most versions of most of our games today. Given the chance, people will socialize around games, but to date that social activity has been almost entirely limited to gathering around a single computer.

Social gaming has been a substantial part to reach out to both smartphone and feature phone users. However, nowadays, successful games that will not rely on social networking service but have interactions with friends in the game, is increasing. If the main force shifts to contents of the games, social features are equally playing an important role is its success.

Examples of social features

Facebook is something that connects you socially with a lot of different friends, who are going to have interactions with you via Facebook in interested games. More than 200 million people playing games on Facebook. The social gaming market is starting to generate big revenues and a marketplace that could constitute a good chunk of the social e-commerce market.

If you look at gaming services, for example if you look at Xbox One or PS4, one of the more traditionally or generally accepted features of the gaming service is the ability to play with friends at different locations at the same time.

It is pretty obvious that engaging a larger group of players will produce a better gaming experience and then yield more creative ways enhancing the contents. However the real benefits of engaging the team come from the changes that happen in the team.

By engaging the team not only do get better input data and ideas, but it also encourages problem solving, foster action, build social capital and foster collective ownership of ideas. Games like PetVille has used collaborative building to build content and others like Ravenwood Fair uses collaborative building in its main game loop where player need to ask others for help in order to build new games.

Most massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are open-ended virtual environments with extraordinarily rich possibilities for play. These games are played successfully using a wide variety of strategies. NCSoft and Cryptic Studios formed the vanguard of one of the first few MMOs to make huge popularity amidst EverQuest, World of Warcraft, and others.

The experience of a social game needs to be different each time and the presented challenge needs to evolve. As such, players can send each other gifts, cosmetic and decorative or add certain items that are needed within a game. Games like Fairway Solitaire inspire great loyalty because their players can always find something to new to do in them. From a design perspective, Gamebrain is a one such platform for collaboration that is a kind of social base of knowledge and tools for mobile analytics, development, distribution, and monetization.

Social features in games may start as a way to interact with an old friend. That interaction may become a deeper social engagement – you exchange news, obtain any kind of milestone within the game, rediscover old similarities or rivalries. Bejeweled Blitz, for instance, has a daily bonus and a slot machine so that players can win a random amount each day. GameDuell has the social feature to rescue and share cute animals and the company has doubled the number of feed entries from their game by introducing unlockable cute fuzzy animals. There are also all kinds of rewards for players by achieving certain levels.

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