Can other games mimic FIFA Superstars' World Cup success?

As mentioned in our discussion of the week's top gaining Facebook games, EA Sports/Playfish's FIFA Superstars has seen some relatively healthy growth since launching just a few weeks ago. No doubt the FIFA branding (and the support of a major company like EA) has helped the game stand out from the crowd. But there may be an external reason for the game's recent success -- the World Cup.

As VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi recently noticed, the game has logged over 3.3 million World Cup match predictions since launching near the start of the tournament. The predictions have ranged from prescient (97% picked Brazil over North Korea) to horribly wrong (only 1.6% picked Switzerland beating Spain) but these guesses are notable more for their volume than their predictive ability. For possibly the first time, a real world sporting event is driving interest in a virtual social game, thanks in part to clever integration from the developers.

If FIFA Superstars' success continues throughout the tournament, we can probably expect other developers to try to capitalize on real world sporting events to drive interest in their games. Already Sports illustrated has plans for Facebook-powered Fantasy Football when that sport starts up again, and a few other developers are dipping their toes in the social sports waters.

But why stop at sports? With their quick development times, social games could be deployed to coincide with all sorts of topical real world events, from elections to awards shows. If people are talking about it, it only stands to reason that people would want to game about it too.

This kind of topical gaming is definitely an intriguing potential trend to watch out for in the social games space going forward, and we intend to do just that.
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