I’m somewhat dismayed by society and its acceptance the definition of the word “game.”
- 1 a (1) : activity engaged in for diversion or amusement.
Is that really all there is to it? I mean by that definition isn’t whistling to yourself a game? So, thanks to Facebook we now have games on our social networking sites. But are these truly games or are they creatively designed money pits?
Venture capitalists have invested approximately $98 million in social game companies last year. Another scary, yet interesting fact about social network gamers, they exceed the total number of users for World of Warcraft and Xbox Live combined (Gamasutra). What we have here is a potentially very powerful and very lucrative audience. Yet what are we seeing? Games where the only way you advance, currently, is to spend real world dollars. Now if this practice was exercised in the main stream gaming market their would be angry mobs and journalists leading the charge with scathing editorial reviews of their products. Yet it not only survives in social networking platforms it thrives.
What is the difference between main stream games and social networking games besides the silly cash for fun system in place in the majority of the titles? About 15-20 years. Main stream audiences were playing titles like the ones on these popular sites that long ago. Yet on a 200 million subscriber network that’s what is being peddled. The iPhone has a smaller subscriber base and you would think far less powerful hardware than what is possible on a server somewhere. Currently you can play browser based FPS and MMO games. Now just looking at those, without even trying them you can immediately tell the difference from this.
Now I’m not saying that you’ll have more fun with these games than you will with the social network achievement sharing style. What I am saying is, is that 200 million people deserve a higher standard. Because if there was a game like this available to me through Facebook right now I’d have hard time justifying downloading or buying any other kind of product.