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Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games by Jon Radoff

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Chapter 7

Anatomy of a Social Game

In this Chapter, you’ll learn:

  • How social games work with Facebook
  • The features that make a game social
  • The three life-cycle phases that social game players experience
  • How social games spread through social channels

The social games industry has confused the subject of what social games consist of by associating them with the place they are distributed: social networks. Think about social games more broadly by thinking of them simply as games where players interact with each other. Over the next few years, social games will be increasingly defined not by where they are distributed, but how they are played. When discussing what goes into a social game, you’ll see examples that exist both on and off social networks because this can enable you to gain a more holistic understanding of how social games work.

In many of the games played on social networks, social interactions are limited to viral marketing: The game provides mechanisms that make it so that customers share their experiences with their friends. Similarly, social media has attempted to use the close ties between friends to spread interest in non-gaming applications and businesses. Games have taken this further by providing social incentives in the form of badges, bragging rights, and leaderboards.

However, the most persuasive social games and applications go beyond recognition systems such as badges—and make social interactions the actual substance of gameplay. This isn’t limited to ...

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