A quick new post to get you thinking about how you can use social gaming or simply social elements incorporated into online gaming to help increase sharing and good will toward your brand.
Social gaming has been a hot topic recently with the success of such Facebook embedded giants Cafe World, Mafia Wars and Farmville. The company bringing you these gems is Zynga . Zynga specializes in social gaming. What is social gaming you ask? Here is an unofficial definition with some player detail brought to us by our friends at gaming resource IGN, "Game titles played on social networks like Facebook and MySpace -- are an increasingly important part of the overall game industry, with a projected revenue of more than a billion dollars in 2010." There is a lot more great information, summarized for your convenience HERE.
When considering either a social game or a game that has social components (sharing with friend features, community based score boards or even multi-player function, as a brand, to get more time with your target audience or to couch promotional and/or marketing value in a fun entertainment experience, simply creating a game is not enough. As the title states, go the distance.
What does that mean? It means take the time to understand what will excite and engage the audience through game play, design and social tools. Will the game offer enough value that your audience will feel compelled to share with friends once playing is complete, or even tell their friends to come play with them in real time? Will the game successfully offer the player value as it relates to your brand? This is a bit more tricky. You do not want to turn off your audience with a blatant advertisement disguised as a game, however you want to engage through the game, but still push the needle for the brand. Maybe baking in hidden offers (real offers, not the same old crummy coupon for a $1.00 off) that are genuinely exciting for your audience? Maybe motivating the player to reach a certain level with the promise of a valuable product or service, and giving them a bonus for sharing with a friend. If the offer is solid enough, your audience will most likely not need much prompting to share. I want my friends to enjoy the same perks I get, so I share when offers are good, and my friends appreciate that.
Too often games produced for brands focus too much on enlarging logos, and not enough on what real value is offered to their audience, which yields more long term value for the player, and the brand. Going the distance will insure your game is a great investment in resources for you, and in time for your audience.