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Facebook and the Merging of Games and Social Networks 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the world-of-pokecraft dept.
Gamasutra has an in-depth interview with Gareth Davis, Facebook's platform manager, about how social networks and online gaming are intersecting more and more as each industry matures. He says, "There's a cultural shift towards people being willing, excited, and preferring to use their real world identities online. We all know that 10 years ago, you were as anonymous as possible online, right? And today, we spend a lot of our time putting our real world identities out there and sharing them ... And we've seen this occur on Facebook.com, where as more and more people join Facebook and your social graph is more complete, you have the ability to have these social experiences with people you've never had before, and you're playing games with people whom you didn't play games with before, with your family members, with your parents, with friends in remote locations. There's this new gaming activity happening that we believe will translate to the consoles as well."
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Facebook and the Merging of Games and Social Networks

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  • Imagine that... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AMSmith42 (60300)

    ...they are discovering that people who played games really aren't anti-social. They would much rather have fun with their family and friends rather than be locked in a room by themselves. You'd think that LAN parties would have been a hint.

    • by orta (786013)
      This doesn't seem to be too new of a thing, I was impressed when the concept of achievements came out, providing a nice way to present the things you've done in games to others. I don't know the extent to which there's an API for things like this, I certainly wish Steam had an API I could grab my achievements from as I don't know / care too much about ones for my xbox. The wii seems to be trudging along in the back when you consider playing online, but it really does inspire you to play with your family (t
      • Re:Imagine that... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:36AM (#28666567)

        I was impressed when the concept of achievements came out, providing a nice way to present the things you've done in games to others.

        I wasn't. I thought it was stupid. I still do. I don't care in the slightest whether my friends know what I've done in the game. If I thought it was that interesting I'd tell them. Most of the achievments in most games aren't things I'd find worth mentioning, and in most cases, calling them an 'acheivement' at all is bit of a stretch.

        As for steam, I'm not sold on their DRM, and there denial of my right of first sale, by calling my purchases "subscriptions" with a one time payment. And they certainly aren't going to win me over with some sort of achievement API.

        Persnally, I think the Wii gets it mostly right. Its online could be stronger, but I like that Nintendo isn't trying to become my "social platform" or whatever Sony/Microsoft are trying to do.

        • Re:Imagine that... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @08:00AM (#28666653) Homepage Journal

          My gal, however spends all her time trying to best all her friends (and second-degree friends) in brain teasers and restaurant simulations. The addition of competition raises her normal compulsiveness to new levels.

          So the social system works, at least for a certain subset of people.

          • Re:Imagine that... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vux984 (928602) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @08:31AM (#28666775)

            So the social system works, at least for a certain subset of people.

            Yes, its a great waste of time. A bit of pointless fun is one thing, and I'm all for it. Hell I engage in lots myself; ./ included. But the end result of facebook for too many people is to become a slave to it... its got to be on your phone, and you've got to check it 100 times a day, and reply to all those 2nd degree friends...

            And at the end of the day, they've done nothing worthwhile, and have nothing but a bunch of superficial relationships, a collection of lolcats, and mastery of some idiotic flash game.

            The trouble with it, is that it "never sleeps". Its constantly poking you for attention, like those annoying electronic pets. So even when you've got something else to do, too many people can't put it down. At least with the pets the batteries die or you take them out. With facebook... its especially hard... because among that constant distractions there's some real people there too. Your best friend, or your mom, or whatever, so it becomes impossible to quit.

            Its like the way reality TV preys on some base human voyeuristic instinct. Most of us know its pointless rubbish and we could be doing anything else and it would be more worthwhile... and yet too many people can't look away, can't not watch.

            • Yes, its a great waste of time. A bit of pointless fun is one thing, and I'm all for it. Hell I engage in lots myself; ./ included. But the end result of facebook for too many people is to become a slave to it... its got to be on your phone, and you've got to check it 100 times a day, and reply to all those 2nd degree friends...

              Are we talking about facebook, most of the internet, sports, celebrity gossip, work*, TV (as you mentioned), or heroin, because to different people, that would apply to various degrees. People are quite good at frittering away their time, I don't think you can blame facebook for that. I personally find I waste much more time on heroin than I do facebook. Wait, not heroin, I meant to say videogames.

              * I mean people who let their jobs become 100% of their lives. Not implying that working at all is a waste

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by vux984 (928602)

                Are we talking about facebook, most of the internet, sports, celebrity gossip, work*, TV (as you mentioned), or heroin, because to different people, that would apply to various degrees.

                Facebook is different from the internet, sports, celebrity gossip, etc.

                If I turn off the TV or stop looking at pron it doesn't start sending me messages asking where I was, why am I ignoring them, am I mad at them, why didn't I comment on their picture, or fill out their survey, or play their game.

                With TV etc the compulsion i

            • by lennier (44736)

              "Your best friend, or your mom... preys on some base human voyeuristic instinct..."

              You take that back about my mom!

              s/base/natural. It's *normal* for humans to be social beings. Since when did 'has a social life' become an accusation? Where did the stereotype of the 'heroic lonely individual' come from? That's the dysfunctional syndrone, not the online chatter.

              • by vux984 (928602)

                It's *normal* for humans to be social beings. Since when did 'has a social life' become an accusation? Where did the stereotype of the 'heroic lonely individual' come from? That's the dysfunctional syndrone, not the online chatter.

                Yes its "natural". When I said base I meant just that, we're hardwired for it, it occurs at a lower level than conscious. Its instinctive.

                Its normal for people to be social and build relationships. The sort of superficial stuff that facebook enables however isn't all that producti

            • Sure if you consider facebook WORK, and are trying to GET something out of it. But I think that misses the point. I use facebook because its fun. I have fun with my status updates, I make fun comments on other people's posts, and in general its a really fun, great distraction a few times a day. When a really great thread gets riffing off of someone's status update I think about it for the afternoon with a little inner smile if its particularly amusing.

              Sounds like you might be taking it a bit too seriously.

      • Eh, achievements and gamerscore is a nice little touch to see which of your friends needs to go outside the worst, but to me it seems mostly to be fluff. On the other hand, the built in players network is great and the marketplace+arcade to use Microsoft as the example have made high quality low budget games much more common.
  • by sam0vi (985269)

    And today, we spend a lot of our time putting our real world identities out there and sharing them

    I must say that even though i (lightly) use social sites i take great care in maintaining my real identity as obscure as possible, so only people who know me can recognize me. I can proudly say that if i google my full name it yields 0 results. How many of you can say that??

    Disclaimer: I'm from Spain, and here we have two last names, making collisions harder (e.g. John Smith)

    • I can proudly say that if i google my full name it yields 0 results. How many of you can say that??

      If I google my name I get thousands of results, few of them about me. Not that I care if people match my profile with my identity.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        If your name is Michael Smith, you've got nothing to worry about. But if you had a less common name and there were quite a few collisions, it'd be a matter for concern. Likewise if you had a prominent presence associated with your name. Employers (and by employers, I mean HR) will often use anything and everything you say online against you.

    • by maxume (22995)

      I get lots of collisions (and I have relatively obscure first and last compared to John Smith), but there quite a few results in the first few pages that are from postings I made to public mailing lists, revealing that I like computers.

      If the particular mailing list was not mirrored all over the place (to draw in search traffic), the number of results would be much smaller. Also, searching for a variant (firstlast with no space) gives many more results (but again, I was well aware of what I was sharing).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by icebraining (1313345)

      I get about 20 results, but all from my college internal pages. I would think grades should at least be protected by robots.txt, but not for them, apparently.

      But my nickname never appears connected to my real name, thankfully.

    • by gilleain (1310105)

      Unfortunately my first name is nearly unique, so I have no choice but to be readily identifiable online. At one point, I was 9 of the top ten hits on a vanity google search for my name. Not sure if this is good or bad.

      It's probably an all-or-nothing thing - either you dive straight in the deep end, and try not to care, or you are ultra-careful. As for using my real identity in online games, I guess I would - but I would also be quite careful about what I said, and to who!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

      I can proudly say that if i google my full name it yields 0 results. How many of you can say that??

      I'm not going to spend the time deep-diving on this one, but you're being a little overconfident, I think. Here's just a guess about you:

      • by sam0vi (985269)

        Bravo! I must say i'm pretty flattered by your search. Only a couple of errors (the mininova thing and my current residence) but still pretty good. That's why i started using a different nick for my dirty deeds (and Tor). For example, you don't want to use the same nick for slashdot and for that BSDM site you like so much (rhetorical you).
        And by the way, your nick only yields slashdot posts, so kudos on that (or get out more), whatever answer is better. Cheers!

    • by Sparton (1358159)

      I can proudly say that if i google my full name it yields 0 results. How many of you can say that??

      I can proudly say that if any prospective employer googled my name, they'd see many insightful comments from Gamasutra, my personal website, and other websites that speak well of me. How many of you would like to say that?

      Yes, there are risks and other problems with having things you say being able to be drawn back to you online, but like with what many other Slashdotters have posted in other stories in the past, if someone wants to find something to dislike me for with something I said online years ago, I

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:46AM (#28666597) Homepage

    "Holy crap we don't have a clue how we are going to make money out of this.... errr what about Games?.... err yes Games make lots of money and there are lots of people playing games and lots of people on Facebook.... Therefore we can CLEARLY make money from Games on Facebook"

    Its brilliantly undermined by the slight statement, just after saying "We've got more people that WoW" it then adds "errr but they don't pay". Later on it talks about monetisation and the wonderful "there will be new revenue streams" which as we all know really means "errr haven't worked that bit out yet.

    So lets all be clear, yes social connections (err where was the mention of the Wii attempt at this in the article?) will be important in a lot of future social gaming. Whether the social network is on Facebook or not doesn't matter as that network is just a graph, the key question is how you actually write games that make money out of it with Facebook (at best) becoming a utility, a SNSP (Social Network Service Provider), and unable to charge a large "tax" as the interop is getting higher.

    • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:24AM (#28667481)

      I was talking to an old programmer who has done some pretty, um. . , interesting jobs in the past, who told me that one of the Facebook silent partners is indeed you know who. (Do not speak IT's name.)

      So long as the information flows, the whole system will have all the funding it needs, as has clearly been the case thus far.

      You're right though, this new trend towards trying to encourage gaming in social networks does seem a little. . , I don't know. . , desperate, like, "Come on you little white mice! We built all these cool experi- um, 'games' for you to play. Go on, play them. Please?"

      I mean, shite, when ALL the games are basically personality tests. . . Even just selling that kind of info to marketing firms would have been profitable enough.

      -FL

  • by NickFortune (613926) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:53AM (#28666623) Homepage Journal

    There's a cultural shift towards people being willing, excited, and preferring to use their real world identities online.

    Why, gosh, yes. I'm excited. I bet you're excited too, children!

    We all know that 10 years ago, you were as anonymous as possible online, right?

    Right? Right? Right? We all know that, don't we kiddies?

    And today, we spend a lot of our time putting our real world identities out there and sharing them ...

    ... because that's how Facebook makes its money.... I mean that's what all the cool kids are doing. And you wouldn't want to feel left out, would you?

    And we've seen this occur on Facebook.com, where as more and more people join Facebook and your social graph is more complete, you have the ability to have these social experiences with people you've never had before, and you're playing games with people whom you didn't play games with before

    Whoa whoa whoa! When did all this happen? I'm still at the point of signing up so I can be like the cool kids. Can we back up a bit?

    with your family members, with your parents, with friends in remote locations.

    Yeah yeah yeah. Just another marketing drone practicing his second rate NLP language patterns. Nothing to see here...

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Any time someone says "We all know" you should be as suspicious as when someone says "All you have to do is..." Either way, a line of bullshit will follow. Personally, I went by an alias when I signed up for my first BBS because it told me to, and I didn't want to buck their culture until I knew what I was bucking. I stuck with [a derivative of] it when I went to a Unix system, because it was just sort of how things were done... I had been culturalized. Now, I still use one because it is often required and

      • Any time someone says "We all know" you should be as suspicious as when someone says "All you have to do is..." Either way, a line of bullshit will follow

        Exactly. He's got nothing at all, so he's trying to whip up enthusiasm for ... what's the "social trend" equivalent of vaoporware? A vaportrend?

        Personally, I went by an alias when I signed up for my first BBS because it told me to, and I didn't want to buck their culture until I knew what I was bucking. I stuck with [a derivative of] it when I went to a

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          Why? I mean what's the draw? You give out information to make life easier for the adbots and identity thieves, you tie up all your contact list in someone's proprietary database, and in return you get ... what, precisely?

          The opportunity to find long-lost friends, which is more important than most of that other shit anyway. It's already pathetically easy to find out things about me, or most anyone else. I need friends more than I need it to be one tenth of one percent harder to steal my useless, indebted, tax-encumbered identity. Maybe if I had really good credit I'd be more concerned. Anyone who steals my identity is going to end up in the hole.

          • I need friends more than I need it to be one tenth of one percent harder to steal my useless, indebted, tax-encumbered identity.

            Well, everyone needs friends. That said, it's always worth having that extra half percent or so. There are non-linear relationships at work in these things. Half a percent could mean the difference between 50 people with the skill to rip you off, and opening your wallet to 50,000 potential thieves. Of course, if you don't have any money, that might not seem so important. But the

  • Facebook and the Merging of Games and Social Networks

    At the risk of sounding like someone who was 50 years old when COBOL became popular, games and social networks already occupy the same category in my mind.

  • Less Anonymous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @09:53AM (#28667043) Homepage Journal
    I think the being anonymous on a social networking site is opposite the idea. At least with something like Facebook, where the point is to reconnect with friends from school or family. And given that you no doubt want to be found by those people (and can refuse people who you don't want to have access to your information), it's not like you're going to obfuscate yourself to the point of being invisible. Now having said that, yes, some small number of people out there are still going to. And when I go to any other site needing information, I still use an alias/handle/username that isn't related to me except for those people who know that I always use the same one or two.
    • by dugeen (1224138)
      I use Facebook to interact with people who I already know IRL. I don't want people from school or anywhere else to find me, so I use a realistic-sounding nom de net.
  • at some point is going to implode. They simply have shitty talent, their CIO is a joke (WAAAA intel says 30% CPU increase but I cant get my app to go 30% faster. waaaaa) and Zuckerberg has limited intellectual capital.

  • Eh. I've never been big on aliases. I've used my real name since BBS days, even on a popular local one (Stuart ][) just about everyone else used a pseudonym. Same on Usenet. Yeah, search on my name, and I'm the top hit. (A guy who runs a woodworking school is pretty high on the list, too.)
  • As a member of the younger generation, I enjoy using facebook, all of my friends are online and active so it's a good community. To speak truthfully, it's a social necessity to have a facebook on a college campus, but I digress...

    I've started work on a facebook game of my own, a simple artillery firing game. Facebook is a great place for games for me, because I know that if I deploy my game on facebook, I have a built in user base of... everyone I know.

    Also, the social aspect of the game is interesting,

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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