At a recent Games Developer Conference, it was at one point asked the following question: “Who is now targeting mobile with their games?” and then all hands in the room were instantly shot up. Then, the next question asked was “But who is targeting Facebook?” and then only three, or maybe four hands were raised. In this situation game developers’ tendency to grow more social, and ditch Facebook, was extremely clear.
A few years ago, during the exact same conference, most hands would have been raised for Facebook, because then game developers were struggling to conquer the social media, and reach a larger audience. This used to happen, mainly after games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars made their developers incredibly famous, and wealthy. However, in spite of the fact that today Facebook still is extremely popular, and successful, it seems to be regarded as a less powerful gaming platform.
The incredible growth of smartphones and tablets on the entire globe has brought mobile development in the top of everyone’s preferences. Still, this does not mean that the social media element has disappeared for ever. Even now, in the current situation, game developers still view the social connections as a crucial factor in their game design, and know that it is an extremely important way to get their games noticed.
In relation with this matter, there are various tools on display at GDC to enable mobile developers to make their games as social as possible. Just consider the natty Propeller SDK from Grantoo, and think how it permits developers to easily create all sorts of social media connections, intriguing contests, competitions, tournaments, and many more, on Android, and on iOS. Plus, it adds one more layer of monetization, which is a significant topic among all game developers.
Surely, social layers in video games do not limit to mobile and casual games, and all the main console game manufacturers have observed this current trend. As a matter of fact, this is one of the main factors that has influenced the design of PlayStation 4, and because of it, the console will include a special “Share” button, which will enable its users to stream their playing sessions though a partnership with Twitch.tv. So far, Sony is eager to promote the mobile, and the social integration of its future PlayStation 4 system.
Furthermore, extremely interesting is the streaming games company named Playcast, which streams the games only to play them, and on the other part are TV communities, such as Twitch.tv. The main dissimilarity is that Playcast delivers all sorts of streaming games for play, by using the existing cable, thus the user can simply turn to a certain channel, select his favorite game, and play it right there. He will probably need to plug in a special USB gamepad into the set-top box, but he will not need to download and install any software, or additional programs. It is just a matter whether your TV provider collaborates with Playcast, or not.
Finally, the remaining question is how deep this new, social integration will go, considering that the latest PlayStation, and Xbox consoles are going to be released at the end of this year. Most developers that make the mobile games are used to create games that work flawlessly with the current friend lists, but now, all the major consoles have introduced their own lists of buddies. So, will the console manufacturers make it more facile for gamers to integrate with the main social networks? Unit now, no one can tell, but we are going to find out pretty soon if video games will grow socially and if the people will forget about Facebook or make it stronger.
Author Bio: Michael Clark is a full time blogger and a freelance writer. He wrote articles on video games, technology and entertainment. His site Zombie Games 365 is all about playing online zombie games.