What is Social Gaming?

What is Social Gaming?

When the Facebook platform launched over a year ago, many observers of the new platform quickly realized that gaming was quickly becoming one of the most popular category of applications on the site. What appeared to be revolutionary about this new series of games was the turn-based model that was seamlessly integrated into the Facebook experience.

Once other platforms launched, this “new” genre of games quickly followed. At the time, I think many people were simply amazed at the sheer number of users playing extremely simple games like “Scrabulous” (which was recently shut down). What many began to realize was an explosion of casual gaming through which I believe the awareness of each others’ gaming activities was a catalyst for.

More recently I’ve been wondering about the concept of a “social games” segment as part of the general gaming industry. Prior to sharing my personal thoughts on the matter, I thought it would be best to give a general overview of social games and the companies behind them.

One key thing that I’ve been trying to determine over the past couple weeks is if “social games” should really be granted their own category. While there is a new set of companies that have emerged as a direct result of the opening of social platforms, most social games mimic the features that make other multiplayer games successful.

Personally, the launch of the iPhone has transformed my idea of “social games”. There are now a number of games that I can play at dinner with my friends and family such as Connect Four, Tic Tac Toe and a number of others, all of which I would consider “social games”. While the users I’m playing against may be physically present and don’t have an identity tied to an online social network, it’s inherently a social activity.

As such, I believe that the “social gaming” networks will slowly begin to mimic traditional gaming companies and simply become part of the group. Those that don’t adapt quickly will slowly drift into oblivion while those that do adapt will quickly become leaders in the gaming industry, not just in this newly created category of “social games”.