Social games that aren’t really social

Have you tried to have a conversation playing DrawSomething but failed badly? Have you ever gifted an item in (insert your favorite Facebook game) with the hope that someone might get the message and give that same item back to you? Have you felt like a nuisance every time you invite someone to play a game just to be able to unlock a stage needed to advance? The answer should be yes to all the questions if you like to play games through Facebook.

These so-called social games lack sociability. The number one reason for this is the lack of communication within the application. It seems that designers have overlooked the necessity thinking that players can communicate through Facebook. Yes, they can but they won’t unless there is a level of trust between the users. Close friends might not have a problem asking each other for “more gold” through the chat but colleagues and acquaintances might feel awkward.

And what’s wrong with talking to strangers within the game? It’s a social network for crying out loud! Let players communicate, bond, compete, and have fun together.

Sometimes these games feel like a party I went to a few years ago. I couldn’t hear anyone so I ended up outside.

Gretchen Ortiz