What is exactly a social networking game? It’s actually not that hard to explain, and the lot of you have probably played this type of game before without even realizing it. Social Networking games are designed to create interaction as the game feeds off and benefits from the players’ network. Have you ever played that one game that requires the “help” from other players to complete a set of objectives? A simple example of this gaming structure is seen in most of the games available on Facebook. Do titles like Farmville or CityVille ring a bell? If you played those games before, that means you have mastered the art of social networking gaming.
Social Networking Game: The Origins
What started it all? Exactly what was it that pioneered this cool system of gaming? We have Facebook to thank for that. As we all already know, Facebook played a very crucial part in revolutionizing the whole ‘social networking’ concept. The arrival of Facebook opened a lot of doors for potential businesses, and that includes the gaming industry. So let’s break it down to its core.
What does Facebook make money from? What do you mean by business opportunities? First of all, Facebook gained popularity from the sheer number of users and the interactions they bring. The gaming industries probably realized this, and so they created a gaming system that allowed them to utilize user’s interaction.
Now, with that being said, you’d probably realize that in some/most of the Facebook games, they encouraged you to “send invites” to other Facebook users so they could join in, or even help out a specific objective. This course of action benefits both parties, Facebook using a gaming platform to boost their user interaction, vice versa the game itself uses Facebook as a marketing tool.
The Japanese media has also played a big part in shaping the world of gaming. Think of every popular childhood games you ever played, Sonic from SEGA, Super Mario Bros. from Nintendo, and even Pokemon. It was never a doubt that Japanese helped mold the basis of the social media gaming to its core.
If you pay attention, you will notice that Japanese companies have earned big bucks having been able to utilize social media gaming to their benefits. Charts have shown that Japan is the number 1 country that has people spend the most money on gaming. Why is that? Perhaps the answer lies on how the people of Japan perceive the culture of gaming. This allowed gaming to be a very popular market ground for them. So with that in mind, let’s check out some of the games mentioned below!
Shaping Future Social Networking Games
After the massive success and popularity of social networking games on Facebook, other social media platforms have started to make their move, implementing games on their platform as well. This opened another door for the mobile industry, as more and more people have an easier access to mobile phone messaging app. One example is “LINE”, a mobile communication app that allows you to make free calls and messages. You can download this from Google Play or the App Store.
So aside from having been able to use their messaging and telephone services, LINE also created several games that have a similar principal to those of the social networking game. Titles like LINE Cookie Run, or LINE Pokopang are two of the many other games that the LINE app provides.
Another example is KakaoTalk, a Korean based app that offers similar services that LINE has. And just like LINE, KakaoTalk offers a range of mobile games that you can play exclusively under the KakaoTalk Group, having to send invites to other users through the game.
- System/Platform: PC, Mac
- Publisher: Zynga
- Developer: Zynga
- Release Dates: June 19, 2009
FarmVille is a social networking game developed by Zynga in 2009. The game gained massive popularity on Facebook, receiving multiple awards for the Best Social Application in 2009, and again, Social Game of the Year Award in 2010. The game basically is a farming simulation, where you play the farmer and you tend to your farm. Building barns and buildings necessary for your livestock, or milking the cows and collecting eggs from your well-beloved chicken.
- System/Platform: Mobile (Android, iOS)
- Publisher: LINE Corporation
- Developer: LINE Corporation
- Release Dates: May 28, 2013
LINE Pokopang is a time-based puzzle game, where you defeat animals/creatures by highlighting the same color blocks together. You would need at least 3 of the same color to make a match. This simple yet addicting game was released in 2013 and since then have been known quite well by fellow LINE users. The game itself is very vibrant in colors, and the soundtrack is well-written as well.
LINE Pokopang Trailer:
- System/Platform: Mobile (Android, iOS)
- Publisher: A-Lim, Gumi
- Developer: A-Lim
- Release Dates: May 3, 2013
Brave Frontier is one of the most popular RPG games available on mobile phones. It features a wide range of cool and colorful characters/heroes that you can choose to aid you in your journey. With over more than 30 million downloads from players around the world, you can’t fathom the revenue that can be generated from this social media game. Again, this is a testament as to how Japanese was able to create such an addicting and viral game through the influence of social media.
Brave Frontier Trailer:
To sum it up, social networking games is the one game that won’t ever die in this day of age. Since technology have been progressing more and more rapidly towards the years, people have been more glued to their phones than ever before so that is a good indicator that social networking games aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Japanese people are proven to spend the most on social media games, and based on this fact, the market for social media games should continue to grow. Will there be boundaries though? Will the gaming trend in Japan plummet?
And it does beg the question: Will there be a more advanced form of social networking games? A new way of attracting players and users, inciting interactions amongst users? An innovative way of gaming? Guess we’ll have to wait for the future to unfold.