Video Games Predictions for 2012 – Social Media and Games
Following on from my last post on the topic of the future, I’m going to move from Free-to-Play games into the the closely related turf of social media. The ‘traditional’ games industry has struggled to make sense of social media. They have been trying to make their own systems (e.g. Playstation Home) or buying their way in (e.g. EA buying PlayFish, the Facebook gaming company) or trying to integrate with existing systems (e.g. Sony’s Playstation App for iPhone). However in 2011 we did see companies trying to get a grip on what this means for gaming, lead by companies like Zynga who have been blending social media into gaming very well. So what is to come in 2012?
This post on Facebook and how it’s gotten a bit too crowded caught my eye:
A year ago Steven Levy suggested that Facebook should give us each a single “friend-list do-over.”
A lot of commenters challenged him. “Grow some balls and just unfriend people,” said one of the more even tempered readers. Another – “These comments are too constructive. Someone should just call this guy an idiot.”
Steven probably didn’t see that criticism coming, because he probably assumed people understand how difficult it is to unfriend people on Facebook at any sort of scale. You have to find the person, hover over the friend button, select unfriend and then click a confirmation.
That’s a few seconds, and when you are trying to remove hundreds, or thousands, or people you don’t know as friends, that takes Too Long. And so the friends stay, for the same reason that every clock in my house is off by an hour for half the year.
So, no, most of us aren’t going to spend the time removing friends on Facebook. Instead many of us are using new social networks, like Path (we’re an investor) and the upcoming Just.Me (we’re also investors, guess how much we like this space) to start fresh. Facebook is for thousands of people you don’t know. The start fresh new services can be finely crafted from the start to include only your actual friends. And they’re made for mobile. Update: Check out Ourspot as well.
So what does all this mean for gaming? I think we’re going to see much more integration of systems. Microsoft have done a pretty good job of this with Windows Phone 7, of getting social feeds into one place and also linking to the gamer stuff from Xbox live. I think we’ll see more alliances of gamers developers as content creators looking to help build new social platforms – after all games are a major draw for new platforms – software and hardware. Put simply in 2012 I think we’ll see more developers ‘getting’ social media, which is a good thing.
Problem is (as you can see from the post above) just as we’re all getting Facebook, social media is moving on…