The Facebook "Become a Fan" Games Madness Begins!
First of all, I'm sure you've seen them recently (I'm talking about the image above). All the applications went mad to make you a fan (at least) or have you signed up to receive e-mail notifications. Zynga was one heavy promoter, offering huge cash prizes in Cafe World or impressive Limited Edition Items in Mafia Wars. All the other games did something similar.
There were rewards, bonuses, goodies - pure heaven for the regular player. But why do these games want you so badly? Well... it's all about the money and the viral aspect of the social games!
If you don't allow an application to specifically send you notices, it won't. Therefore, you will never know when new stuff is added to the game, an update has been made, a special event is being held - basically all the "spam" that made you play these games. And if you think that this is crap and you'd still be playing your social games no matter what, just try to remember how many times have you quit a specific game just to notice that an update was made, a new item was introduced or one of your friends started to play it, and start playing that game once more?
Well... that's why all the social games are trying to make you their fan - to keep you updated and to make sure you keep playing!
How will this measure influence the social games world? Probably on the short term there will be no major changes, but I do predict that in the near future the number of social gamers will decrease (and by social gamers I mean gamers that play at least a couple of times per day). Even more, newer games will find it a lot more difficult to "make it" - since they won't have the solid user base to help them naturally expand their boundaries, nor the trust from the new players to grant them permission to their e-mails, the upcoming social games will find it quite difficult to become popular.
In the long run, this will mean that the giants like FarmVille, Restaurant City, Mafia Wars etc will grow even bigger, with more independent developers having to shut down their games due to the lack of players.
On the other side, this might also mean that the future Facebook games will be innovative and of high quality since they should go viral by other means than those of "spamming". Which is good for us, since for some time now Facebook seemed to get invaded by poor FarmVille clones!
Will social games die in 2010? Absolutely not! But the rules will be changed a little and developers will have to do a bit more to get our attention. From this point of view, they have a lot to learn from FarmVille's creators, Zynga.
This article originally appeared on Social Games Help.