584 million people are active on Facebook.com on a daily basis, according to the website’s numbers as of September 30th, 2012. If Facebook were a country, this would rank Facebook as the third most populated country in the world, right behind China and India. While gamers moan and groan about the growth of gaming on social networks, it is hard to argue with those kinds of numbers.
I mean, a nation with nearly double the population of the United States that you can market your games to? How can you argue with that?
Pretty easily apparently. Gamers scream and yell against the rise of social gaming, harping that it is too “casual” for normal gamers. Games on Facebook like Farmville and Cityville, developed by Zynga Game Network, calls for little more than a few clicks on the screen to achieve your goals. These social games are known for having simple game design, for placing gamers on a daily limit, and for offering buy-in options to bypass any limits and to overall succeed on a higher level.
Gamers have an understandable gripe against most social games. With the ability to pay a few bucks to essentially break a game’s limits or to gain items that take most people full weeks to acquire, these games represent Zynga’s profitable business model more than their use of good game design.
Why work when you can become the best farmer in all the land for twenty dollars?
But there are a few games out there that do it right, games that offer interaction between you and your Facebook friends in a unique way that only gaming can offer. Battle your friends with gaming classics like Tetris, bond with family in games similar to board game classics like Draw Something. There are gaming opportunities out there.
While Zynga’s practices are a bit questionable, money had to be made somehow and complete criticism cannot be tossed their way as they are behind some of the better social games out there. If not for the continuing efforts, the potential of the market would not have been seen.
Big developers have also looked into the social gaming market. EA has developed and published a number of their big titles on the website, The Sims Social being their biggest hit. Insomniac Games, developers of the widely praised Ratchet and Clank series, developed Outernauts for the site and were met with the praise that their title meant a change in social game development.
The social gaming market is wide open and gamers are hoping to see bigger and better games on sites like Facebook. A fresh-faced game design student has the best opportunity to present something new and exciting for a market desperate for ideas.
Get information on game design degrees using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your game design degree.
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