With a greater emphasis on multiplayer gaming coming to fruition in the past 20 years it has led me to question whether upcoming titles will capture the essence of social gaming.
What is social gaming exactly? It is exactly that: social gaming. It is an activity that, more often than not, involves hardcore gamers and casual alike partaking in what many may call online multiplayer and/or co-op gameplay. It is a symptom of our society’s incredible emphasis on Internet usage and the like; however, it has made for an incredible array of titles to find their way into millions of homes worldwide.
Now, for instance, let’s take a step back and consider a title such as Minecraft and Call of Duty. Could we group these two games within the same genre? Of course not. But both have multiplayer aspects which may or may not encourage gamers to partake in the aforementioned activity which, for all the intents and purposes of this article, will be referred to as social gaming. No, social gaming isn’t limited to games such as Farmville which has found its way into college libraries, dormitories, and study lounges the world over due to its charismatic emphasis on that incredible feeling referred to as ‘fun’. Do I think Farmville is fun? I’ve never played it so I couldn’t tell you; however, it should be known that it is indeed being played by millions of people for some reason. I am simply stating that the social aspect of the game may be what keeps bringing players back time and time again.
Titles such as Call of Duty which allow for multiplayer bouts capable of bringing an inexperienced player to his grave in mere seconds have become mainstream successes not only because of the series’ commitment to quality and a thriving community but, in addition, the franchise’s wealth of multiplayer content that fuels players efforts through broken catacombs, forgotten cities, underground cavers, torn bunkers and a wealth of other vistas which contribute to the atmosphere which the development teams over at Activision have been going for ever since the series’ inception. It is in this way that social gaming has taken a firm grip on the gaming world as we know it – especially in the home console arena.
Furthermore, the effects that social gaming has had on the industry as whole can be perceived as either plagues or blessings depending on how they are analyzed. For one, when considering the breadth of content that may find itself on PC’s and home consoles alike the weeks and months following a title’s release, one may question whether developers are simply trying to make a quick buck out of their devoted fan base. In addition, there is always the looming fear that DLC (downloadable content) that may find itself on your hard drive has always been there but, due to the monetary implications, has now been unlocked for your consumption upon proof of purchase. Kinda makes you wonder, huh?
Conclusively, the state of social gaming has proven to be an incredibly powerful force in the industry as a whole and, if my input means anything in terms of analysis, social gaming will continue to be a moving force in the future.