Zynga: Social Games Ain't Social

Zynga: Social Games Ain't Social

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Zynga reckons what we call social games are actually viral, rather than truly social.

As aforementioned creative officer (yeah, yeah, laugh it up, chuckles) of external studios, Bob Bates, told GamesIndustry International:

"We're still in the infancy of understanding what's possible and what it really means for a game to be social. Right now we're viral, but true social, where you feel like you're actually playing with your friends, not 'I'm playing here, he's playing there' is still ahead."

Though social titles tend to be tightly integrated into the social networks they're hosted on, very few of them let players interact with each other in any meaningful way. Most of the games are asynchronous, turned based affairs like blatant scrabble knock-off, Words With Friends, or the hilarious, competitive phallus-drawing simulator, Draw Something. As fun as these games are, they aren't any more "social" than say, playing chess via email.

Previously, social games were hamstrung by the limitations of browser-based game engines, making turn-based games the most obvious choice. As browsers become more capable, more involved games are becoming possible.

"The sense of actually playing together, that's a real challenge," continued Bates, "and I'd like to be in a position where I can attack that challenge. I don't feel like I know enough yet to pull that off; I'm still learning the space. Finding ways to do those kinds of things would be very, very cool."

So it seems Zynga will have to try a little harder to make the perfect social game. Alternatively, they could just wait for someone else to do it.

source: GameIndustry International

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So, Zynga thinks it still hasnt made a social game now?

Why dont they just call themselves a viral games developer? Given the ideas theyve demonstrated recently theyre probably far from breaking the mould they themselves set.

Well they are viral in a sense.
In the sense that I'm fucking sick of them.

You know what games were "social"?

Things like Super Mario where friends or family could gather around the screen and play together. Games like StarCraft or Battlefield where you could do a LAN with friends, haul over your machines to someone else's place and then play together or against each other all the while throwing insults at each other, alternatively visiting Internet cafes together and doing that there. Or nowadays Multiplayer and CoOp games that one can play together while talking to each other over VoIP tools or while sitting next to each other on a couch...

Those were/are "social" experiences, not inviting someone to "water your virtual plants" by clicking on them or similar...

Gotta agree with the sentiment

A social game can be more like your standard MMO lots of people together - and you'll co-operate and compete against them

OR

Take a game I play, Kingdom Of Loathing, it is...pretty much, a single player game. However there are lots of social elements, there are clan dungeons which can be solo-ed but are better together...there's the mall - nearly everything for sale is sold by the players - and chat - chat is awesome.

Unfortunatly chat in kingdom of zynga would be

Add me - daily player level 102
Add me - Gift all the time
PLZ nned 2 more short swords for quest
Anyway to get more Platinum coins without paying

ad infintitum

I'm sure we're all sick of the Zynga spam, and every new game needing to be added to your ignore list - the formula is boring and going bust - I play a few (wife plays I play...one way or the other) so I see it you need X items which you have to spam your wall for....why - NO ONE IS NOT IGNORING THESE NOW

They bring NOTHING to the game, wall spam is wall spam and is IGNORED immediately by non players - an initial advert would be fine....but yeh they are not social games they're single players I need clickers for

It ain't even viral. People just play it cause it's there, not cause it's something you bring up at every opportunity to make people laugh or feel anything at all, really. It's a leech on society.

Dexter111:
You know what games were "social"?

Things like Super Mario where friends or family could gather around the screen and play together. Games like StarCraft or Battlefield where you could do a LAN with friends, haul over your machines to someone else's place and then play together or against each other all the while throwing insults at each other, alternatively visiting Internet cafes together and doing that there. Or nowadays Multiplayer and CoOp games that one can play together while talking to each other over VoIP tools or while sitting next to each other on a couch...

Those were/are "social" experiences, not inviting someone to "water your virtual plants" by clicking on them or similar...

OK, so you don't understand this at all. What could possibly be more social than sending out a lot of messages annoying all your Facebook friends at the same time?

We already have social games.

You know, every game ever that had multiplayer?

You wanna know what's a social game? Super Smash Bros.

The irony is that games labeled as "Social" games have very little interaction with other people, while a game that's considered to be anti-social, like an MMO, specifically requires that you interact with other people in order to be successful.

Hexenwolf:
We already have social games.

Exactly what I was thinking - probably along with most of the other people reading this article. Bates makes it sound like no one at Zynga has ever played any real games, which wouldn't actually surprise me.

...otherwise they'd have found better ones to copy. Har. Har. Har.

I played a game called ink links a long time ago that was completely awesome. It is like draw something mixed with a chatroom where everyone guesses and you can talk to people back and forth.

Spacewar! came out in 1962 and was 'true social'. So Zynga has 50 years of video game history to study from if they want to know how to make a social game.

Rem the days, when everyone made a effort to get together to link up there xboxs for epic halo sessions..goldeneye doom... beat fuck out of each other on streetfighters getting a wee bit fucking drunk while eating shit
The amount of fights that used to kick off was great (friendly fights that is)
It was social, it was enjoyable and most of all it was great bonding between friends..

Now everyone is in there pants shooting each other, no one is really talking because there is hardly any breaks between breaks to socialize with each other its just frag frag frag because whats the point of socializing on there, no one really listens to each other just reply with grunts and groans while they rub there dicks cause 1 eye is on the pc looking up dodgy porn

Online games are not fucking social, this is pretty much end of fucking story.

Captcha: Barking Mad

No i aint i'm fucking right.

"The sense of actually playing together, that's a real challenge"

Quite right Zynga, the challenge of actually having the feeling of playing WITH someone is an almost unatainable dream at this point. If only there were games were your characters interacted with eachother in co-operative or Adversary stlye gameplay, a kid of 'Munti Player gaming' if you will. What a concept. Imagine a world where you could voice-chat with eachother whilst working together for a common goal. One day there might even be games where hundreds of people could interact in a shared space, a massive amount of multi-players lets call it.

If only Zynga, if only...

Could have sworn we had multiplayer around for quite a few years already... must be hard, eh?

DugMachine:
Could have sworn we had multiplayer around for quite a few years already... must be hard, eh?

It is, specially when you only want to spend $10 on development to have kids sit around and copy&paste code from one game into the empty Zynga Game file.

Social gaming... you mean like playing over XBL or sitting in front of the couch playing splitscreen Mario Kart? That's a lot more social than saying "FERTILIZE MY CROOOPPPSSS PLZZZZZZKTHX!"

Calling Zynga's games "viral" is very accurate.

Because the Facebook integration comes down to just advertising themselves to everyone the player knows. That's definitely what I'd call viral.

(Ha, bet you thought I was going to say "Because they're like a virus" or some other lame joke. But no, seriously, this trend in games is stupid and anyone who claims their game's Facebook integration serves any purpose other than to hijack the player's wall as an advertising platform is lying out their ass. THIS INCLUDES YOU, VALVE!)

 

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