At last! Social Games Outed as Not Social

Posted on 25 May, 2011


It’s been coming. And others have said it before (me for one, probably far too loudly and frequently for my colleagues liking), and now Greg Costikyan does so in this excellent article on gamasutra. Well worth reading.

If you need to know what “social games” means in terms of general understanding, right now it means nothing more than games that are played in a social network. And that’s disappointing. There are games out there that require genuine co-operation, co-ordination, shared understanding and even planning. Many MMOs (take a look at the latest and greatest kid on the block, Rift) have streamlined this and allow you to seamlessly play with other people as the need arises, with a minimum of fuss and planning, but still paying to your individual strengths and yet working as a team.

Portal 2 and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light are both cracking games that require genuine cooperation between the two players. I’m a huge fan of both. But for genuine social games within the likes of Facebook we’ve got some way to go before anything remotely social becomes the norm, if indeed it ever does.