Tobold's Blog
Saturday, April 03, 2010
 
Thought for the day: Not a threat

After spending some time testing various Facebook games, I would say that all the hype at the GDC of "Facebook games are the future of gaming" was overblown. Facebook games are not a threat because they severely lack longevity. All Facebook games together have less hours of gameplay in them than World of Warcraft. So they are great for casual gaming a few minutes here or there, but can't compete for people who want to spend many hours each week on gaming.
Comments:
What do you think about the iPad & iPhone as a gaming platform?
 
Not a surprise, IMHO :)
 
I wonder if they will ever include more serious games. It would be perfectly possible to play something like Doom or the original Age of Empires in a browser these days. Sadly as long as they are making money hands over fist on things like Farmville there is no incentive.
 
Thanks to RPS I just spotted that Zynga are on the point of knocking Valve out the Escapists developer showdown: Escapist Poll

Wonderful comment from Zynga supporter: I voted Zynga, coz they are all social games and you make a lot of new friends. And they are easy to play, being on facebook and all.Valve I know nothing about, Half life? Looks gross with all the blood.
 
Tobold, what do you think of Blizzard's signals that they are going to make the new battle.net more of a social space with rich feature for interacting between friends even while playing different games?
 
For the social interaction part yes I think the devs are right, ALL games are getting social and interactive even the ones that never were. For example BioWare's social network brings a level of social behavior around their games only known to MMOs previously. Now you have Dragon Age and Mass Effect fans befriending each other, collaborating on projects, fan fiction, blogs you name it.

What it does is unite your community which is great for the community and scary for the developper when the community as a whole decides they are pissed.. lol

What I don't think is part of future gaming are the games themselves, those I think you're right will have their time, but as Beau Turkey says maybe this will entice some to gaming in a bigger way and bring more people to our world, muah ha.. :)
 
It would be nice if Facebook would get more serious games. Something that holds my attention for more than just a few minutes. I don't think MMOs or hardcore console games are competing with Facebook games. It is a different market entirely.
 
The only serious game I've found on Facebook is Starfleet Commander:

http://apps.facebook.com/starfleet_commander/?ref_id=580605334&ref_type=link

I play a few hours every day. It's 80% PvP, 20% PvE. They ease new players into PvP by first having newbie protection for free, and then taxing on your in-game income if you choose to retain it at the higher levels.

Their monetizing model is the use of credits to accelerate some real-time tasks like buildings and research. You start with 10,000 credits ($1 USD) and can use them in small increments (~100) to insta-create your initial buildings. But RMT offers a very limited advantage in the game, as you can't use credits to insta-create resources, ships, or defenses. In WoW terms, the RMT would offer teleports to eliminate travel time, but not help in combat.
 
The unfortunate hole in your argument is the sheer amount of games on Facebook to play (and that will grow). Right now, I'm playing 15-20 of these regularly, and they consume 3-4 hours of each day. And I could play them more if I had time.

Lack longevity for you, mayhaps, because there are only a couple you're enjoying. For others, there is way more fun content on Facebook to play than elsewhere. :)
 
"This will not be good in the future because it is not good now."

Induction fail.

This just in, MUDs would never lead to a genre of games that sustains 10s of millions of players because MUDs couldn't handle the traffic and can never have mass appeal.
 
Is the issue here one of longevity, Tobold, or an issue of the richness of the provided content as it relates to the actual gamespace - where boredom is concerned? I believe the hype might very well be true in regards to how browser based games advance in technology. If the current problems of bandwidth, content streaming and persistance data can be solved, then it only makes sense for Browser based games to be the next boon for developers.

When the need to QA games across multiple processors, video cards and driver configuratons dissapears, I think developing for a sole Browser based standard makes plenty of economic sense.
 
"Cuppycake said...

The unfortunate hole in your argument is the sheer amount of games on Facebook to play (and that will grow). Right now, I'm playing 15-20 of these regularly, and they consume 3-4 hours of each day. And I could play them more if I had time.

Lack longevity for you, mayhaps, because there are only a couple you're enjoying. For others, there is way more fun content on Facebook to play than elsewhere. :)"

Don't you work for a company that is now developing Facebook games?

There's no doubt a lot of money in Facebook games, but it's possible that the lion's share of it has already been locked up by the first movers, Zynga et al. Latecomers to the show may find themselves fighting for a toehold in the market space.
 
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