Gamer's Piece: Games don’t need to #trend, developers
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 22:09
On my Twitter handle in the past few days, a few strange tweets have been posted on my timeline, so strange that someone might think I’ve been hacked. “Playing with the Broncos in #Madden13, JTHusky defeated the Cardinals 21-3 on All-Pro in Play Now.” “Playing with the Seahawks in #Madden13, JTHusky defeated the Dolphins 28-10 on Pro in Play Now.” “Playing with the Packers in #Madden13, JTHusky lost to the Chargers 0-3 on All-Pro in Play Now.”
So, what’s going on? I’ve been sending those tweets straight from “Madden 13” in a post-game feature easily accessible after a game is played in any mode.
And that’s not the only game I’ve played in the past week that has such overbearing social network posting. “Rock Band Blitz” is built to connect to Harmonix’s “Rock Band World” Facebook app, where challenges are available that offer more coins and experience than players can reach on their own in the game itself.
I’ve seen other games connect through Facebook. “Call of Duty” has a mode where players can see their friends’ loadouts and stats. Countless others offer players chances to tell their friends when they get new achievements or beat games.
Of course, this stuff is all completely useless.
Everyone loves Facebook and Twitter. But people don’t like Facebook or Twitter spam, they hate it. And these social network integrations are essentially spam, especially when developers don’t think their ideas out and make it so a game might post 50 times to commemorate achievements when the game’s less than 10 hours long start-to-finish.
What’s more, people don’t really like to clutter their Facebooks after they turn about 17 years old. Facebook is for maintaining relationships with friends, and friends might not be happy to be spammed. Thus, no one really uses these features, which means a whole lot of work by a decent amount of developers is simply sitting there, wasted space.
And, of course, there’s the whole “giving them your information” aspect. For users on the 360 who might use the Cloud Drive to save game files, getting hacked would result in more than just having to fight back and reclaim their Gamertag. It would mean exposing their Facebook or Twitter information, which could lead to identity theft. When PSN has been hacked and brought down for more than a month, and Xbox Live has been horrendously hacked through a FIFA glitch (which itself has Facebook and Twitter integration!), this is a valid point.
So, my advice to developers? Don’t worry about the social media aspect of sales. You don’t need this connectivity. At least, if you try it, do it in an interesting or original way. Word-of-mouth is done by mouth, rarely by tweet.