USA Network launches Club Psych: Social games branding drudges on


USA Network, part of NBC Universal, is launching a new program to maintain its spot as the number one free cable network: Character Rewards. An addition to its existing Character Arcade, this online program will reward USA fans for watching video content, playing their games and responding to the network on Twitter and Facebook. Players can then use these rewards for virtual goods or tangible gifts like gift cards.

To start the Character Rewards initiative USA has launched Club Psych, an online hub surrounding the hit crime drama, during the show's fifth season. Rewards for amassing points from challenges like "Watch a Full Episode of Psych" include a Nintendo Wii, Psych DVDs and bobble heads, from the looks of the website. There are also leaderboards for players to compete for ultimate Psych fan status.

If these branded social games can innovate in terms of design and push social games forward then I'm all ears, but if all we gamers are to see are more FarmVille and Social City clones, then count me out. And when brands like USA hold chief concern in creating "brand ambassadors," according to senior vice president of brand strategy and digital for USA Network Alexandra Shapiro, it's hard to swallow that they're concerned with making influential, forward-thinking games.

[Via Venture Beat]

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