Argentina star Diego Maradona endorses Facebook soccer game

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With the current glut of Facebook soccer games (or "Facebook football games" for those of you who aren't awesome enough to be part of Team America (NSFW audio)), it takes something truly special to stand out above the crowd. Usually this means some sort of gameplay or technical innovation that sets your game apart from the others. We don't know if The9's new Facebook game Winning Goal has anything like that, but we do know one unique feature it brings to the table -- the support of Argentinian World Cup team captain Diego Maradona.

In a press release announcing both the game and the endorsement, The9 explains that Maradona has provided autographed soccer balls that can be won as prizes for participating in in-game events. That might seem like a pretty modest endorsement (what, no international TV ads? No life-size standees in supermarkets?), but in the relatively young world of Facebook gaming, it's a pretty big deal. In fact, we can't think of a single social game yet that's been backed by this level of star power -- or any star power, for that matter.

So while we're not all that impressed with Winning Goal or it's somewhat rinky-dink endorsement deal, we felt this moment was worth noting as yet another sign that the business of social games is becoming more and more like the business of traditional games every day. So... um... note it! Yeah!
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