Posts Tagged ‘game’

Social Gaming, The Emergence of a Frontier

March 21, 2011

Even without a full picture, the information NGMoco released about We Rule on the game’s one year anniversary in the app store reveals a lot about social gaming and engagement via some very powerful mobile platforms.

Social Game at 1 Year

NGMoco’s We Rule has more than 13 million downloads in a year-a number anyone in the app space would covet.  But the more impressive (to me and hopefully you) number is the 3 billion minutes players have spent on We Rule in a year.  The 15 million mojo’s transacted each day is impressive too-although what is not clear how many of those are hard-dollar purchases versus free acquisition via the game.

What is clear though is that the hybrid “freemium” model NGMoco introduced is a viable business model, with significant hooks into many digital facets to bear close study no matter what your core business is.

For the uninitiated, We Rule is a free game to download for iOS devices.  The game is mostly simple, through touch and swipe gamers are able to grow and expand their kingdom from a single plot of farmland growing corn to multiple (now up to eight) realms with purchases of businesses and amenities to create an empire.

My We Rule has a dark realm where I keep dragons and land scarring structures; a water front with a ship yard, fish monger, naval ship.  (this is also where I keep the three little pigs and a butcher shop).  I have an opulent castle (recently upgraded) and I am eyeing one of the four new realms that opened with the last download of the game.

Some of the unique qualities of the game though-the ones to seriously look at and contemplate for products are:

  1. SSO-the games are tied to a gaming hub, which recognizes me when I log in and remembers me across games.  It also remembers friends from my networks (including Gmail, Twitter, Facebook).
  2. Real time app updating through downloading.  These are graphical components served into your game via a server side download-which means no new submission to the app store.  When there is a structural change to the game board, there is a standard Apple update.
  3. Hooks to keep finding and refining my in game friend list through my social networks.
  4. In-app purchase of mojo (the game currency), and other game components.

While the game is fairly engaging and easy to play and understand, there are some components that can be improved-and I would think knowing the way NGMoco has rolled out other games (I also play Adventure Bay and Castle Craft (esd714 is my gamer name in all three games) there is a constant review.

  1. It would be nice to integrate some level of real time twitter feed into the game (maybe via hashtag?) so I can brag about purchases and accomplishments in real time.
  2. There is no way to remove a friend’s game once it is connected to mine.  I have some friends who played some, but stopped, and their kingdoms and islands are part of my game experience.
  3. As the games become more complex, there is an increased crash rate, especially when WiFi capability changes in mid-game.

Social, Gaming-There is More, Right?

October 10, 2010

In what are probably equal parts of influence between work, my kids, curiosity and boredom I have been spending time in the social game space lately primarily on the iPad, and I have to admit I am hugely underwhelmed.

For a bunch of reasons, Farmville never clicked with me on Facebook, I tried it–I was even one of the early players but I just never was able to “get into” the game.  There are friends in my feed who are on the game more than 12 hours a day.  In fact, it got so bad, I have actually hidden Farmville and its related links from my feed.

<Note to Facebook-it would be nice to be able to similarly hide that content and manage it from apps and mobile web.>

However, I completely understand the importance of “game mechanics” as a driver for engagement.  Hell, for really no apparent reason I manage check-ins on Foursquare and Gowalla regularly and BrightKite and Loopt with less frequency and I really can not give you a good reason for it.  There are aspects that are engaging.

1. The Work reasons:  Taking those aspects and building them into the broader experience–the so-called real-time web is a driver.  So, since this is my business I need to be in the space.

2.  The Kids excuse:  My kids are becoming voracious in social gaming–and since I need to be a good parent in 2010–and know what they are doing and provide guidance to safety and best practices, I am out there with them.

3. The Curiosity factor:  I still wish I could figure out the compelling parts of Farmville or even the ones I do play like We Rule (I am esd714)

and City Story I am esd714).

4. Boredom is a driver:  I have an hour-20 each way each day on the Long Island Rail Road.  Tack on up to 10 minutes to at least half of those trips each week for random “only on the LIRR” issues, and I have time to kill.

Even with that, and the connections to Facebook and Twitter there just is not anything overly compelling that draws me into these games.  The element of success in the game just does not carry enough excitement.

Of course, there are Second Life like experiences, and not really integrated into my daily web or consumption pattern–which probably helps make them less desirable to me.  If there were a way to hook this into my daily reading on hockey, or baseball or politics it may work better.

But still, there has to be more, right?  There is a bustling business model of selling for not a little money game components for these virtual world–north of $5B in 2010 so there should be a way to make this ring a little more indispensible, isn’t there?


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