Some developers think that the social gaming will be the big thing. They say how Farmville or World of Warcraft gets so many players. Little Big Planet is marketed with the “social aspect” of games. I’ve discussed with some people who praise the social media and explain how twitter is like the next big thing after Jesus. Luckily I’m hear to shout from my tower and correct these hopeless stupidities.
There’s two things why social gaming is the next big thing.
- Single player gaming is going to be there forever
- Social games have been here like decades
I don’t think social gaming is that big thing. Or at least a new thing. Sure… you might see more online highscores in new games and more ways to “share” your stuff with others, but in the end people who wanna play solo wanna play solo.
Which brings me to my first point:
People who wanna play solo wanna play solo
Here’s some news you might not want to hear:
- Farmville might have social aspect but my hunch says that 98% of the time you play it alone.
- Sure, World of Warcraft is played online… but did you realize that there’s tons of people who play solo. These guys don’t want to belong to any clan or meet other people. They play WoW as a single-player game. And developers have catered for this as well. It’s actually massively single-player game to be accurate.
Most players probably don’t want to have social aspects or other human players to play with them. Many people want to experience a fine story that evolves. They want to be in charge.
Players want single-player. Sure, there’s more and more multiplayer games and options (which is good for me) but majority will still stick with single player gaming. Or they play multiplayer games alone.
Have you ever heard of a book that was “read co-op”? Same will be with many, many games.
Social games have been here for ages
Now, to the second point. Little Big Planet – the PS3 hit “social” game – has player made levels. Like 98% of those levels are crap*. It’s also played solo (or home with friends). Sharing tracks sure is easier when you have internet, but think of the following.
About 15 years ago I played some car game where you could create tracks. We created tracks and used floppy disks to bring those levels to our friends. That was social gaming.
* Based on a reliable figure that I just pulled out of thin air.
We player some football manager game. It was supposed to be 1-player game but we played it with my brothers. And same happened for Bruce Lee (C64) and many other games. That was social gaming too.
I have been playing stuff like MUDs, online multiplayer shooters for decade or so. We shared things with our friends and asked people to join. Some people modded. I even drew maps and shared other stuff. It was social gaming, but we didn’t call it that. It was simply called “fun”. We didn’t need to call it “fun 2.0”.
Now, somebody invented stuff like “share” and “2.0” and “social web” and soon this new fad is embraced by the game development community.
Famous Quote by Abraham Lincoln: “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? Five? No, calling a tail a leg don’t make it a leg.”
Social aspect in games is important, but it has been here like forever.
(Will be really interested to read this article in the end of 2010 and see how wrong I was. Oh well. Your thoughts? We can check those too in the end of 2010…)