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Facebook and the Merging of Games and Social Networks

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the world-of-pokecraft dept.

Social Networks 40

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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40 comments

Frist Psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28666405)

In the tradition of playing the wonderful game known as Slashdot-trolling, I still prefer to be anonymous.

fr1$t p0s7 for gnaa and stev jobz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28666435)

8==C=O=C=K=S=L=A=P==D~~ [www.gnaa.us] this frist psot for gnaa gay nigger association of america and stev jobz

Imagine that... (2, Insightful)

AMSmith42 (60300) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666461)

...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.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

orta (786013) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666521)

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 (think super mario galaxy's 2nd controller) even if they're not that into the hardcore bit of gaming itself. Lately my mum's been watching me play Bit trip Beat on the Wii, she wouldn't want to play it, but she winces when I miss one in the same way I do.

Re:Imagine that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28666539)

I made your mum wince too.

Re:Imagine that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28666743)

Yeah, seeing herpes blisters makes a lot of people wince.

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

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#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... (4, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666653)

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... (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668649)

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 of time...

Re:Imagine that... (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#28672173)

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 is just me... I might obsess over it, but if I can stop obsessing and master the urge its over. Its not like dozens of other people expect me to watch TV. But Facebook, like those annoying electric pets, or mmorpgs is a lot more 'addictive' because there is a social pressure to keep participating.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28672429)

"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.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#28672621)

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 productive. Its like gossip... its a natural outgrowth of our healthy desire to be social and interact. But taken too far its destructive and pointless. Facebook takes it too far... its sole purpose in fact has nothing to do with relationships, and everything to do to ensure you have a reason to check facebook so they can show you more ads. The superficial relationships are just the bait.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

oblivionboy (181090) | more than 4 years ago | (#28691963)

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. There is nothing wrong with having just "Facebook friends". Are they superficial? No more than your friends on IRC or WOW, or wherever online. Its just another community. I think the mistake is thinking that somehow facebook has to relate someway to real life. It doesn't. Sometimes it does, but often its just what it is: facebook.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 4 years ago | (#28667075)

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.

Real world identities (1, Interesting)

sam0vi (985269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666569)

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)

Re:Real world identities (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666661)

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.

Re:Real world identities (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666943)

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.

Re:Real world identities (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666717)

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:Real world identities (2, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666735)

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.

Re:Real world identities (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666931)

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:Real world identities (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28667045)

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:

Re:Real world identities (1)

sam0vi (985269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668845)

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!

Re:Real world identities (1)

Sparton (1358159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668371)

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 don't want to be associated with them to begin with. I accept the risks to reap the benefits.

(Amusingly, there are a surprising number of people who share my first and last name that clearly aren't me that also show up, but results for me seem more prominent. Also, the career choices/pictures of the other results are also obviously not me, so I don't have to worry about people confusing their comments for me.)

Ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28666589)

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

No, we do not. We know what we could do with that information, so we don't put it out there.

The real Summary... (4, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666597)

"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.

Games? They're pesonality tests. (3, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

He's not being manipulative at all. Much. (3, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666623)

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...

Re:He's not being manipulative at all. Much. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666853)

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 trying to use my own name on the internet is futile... My last name is as common as can be (my family is the eldest of seven, a trend which seems to have ended in our family only in that generation) and my first and middle are both saints. Now that central America is on the internet my name is everywhere.

On the other hand, it IS starting to look like Facebook has won the social networking battle among English speakers. I've resisted them thus far, but it looks like the way to go. Just don't share anything with the world that you're not willing to share, you know, with the world.

Re:He's not being manipulative at all. Much. (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28667053)

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 Unix system, because it was just sort of how things were done... I had been culturalized

I think it's all a bit context dependent, really. My Slashdot posts appear under my real name. There are some other boards where I use an alias. It seems Gareth Davis would like us to think that not sharing everything with his employers falls into the so 1999 category. If that's the case, he can get off my lawn any time he likes.

On the other hand, it IS starting to look like Facebook has won the social networking battle among English speakers. I've resisted them thus far, but it looks like the way to go

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? I really can't see the appeal. (We're drifting a bit off topic here, but I'm genuinely curious about this).

Re:He's not being manipulative at all. Much. (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28667795)

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.

Re:He's not being manipulative at all. Much. (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28688293)

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 you may not be poor in ten years time, and the information will still be out there.

Still, I guess everyone has their own priorities.

There's also a cultural shift towards "Hide" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28666669)

As in, on Facebook, Hide this stupid fucking game. Nobody cares what Breakfast Club character you are. Nobody cares what fruit you are. Nobody cares about your gang on Mafia Wars.

I use Facebook to keep tabs on family and friends, but the games, applications, and polls are just plain stupid. I "Hide" every one of those stupid things that come across my page.

Just starting now? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28666847)

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 (3, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#28667043)

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.

Re:Less Anonymous (1)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 4 years ago | (#28673797)

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.

Facebook (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668163)

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.

I haven't changed the way I ID myself online. (1)

Mike Van Pelt (32582) | more than 4 years ago | (#28672207)

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.)

was creating a game (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 4 years ago | (#28676399)

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, I like the idea of a game being enriched by the experience of playing against anyone you know and ranking against them.
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