Recently it became clear that Google+ is going to also be a platform for social games. It may look like “social gaming” is something big. Well, it is big, but it has nothing to do with “social”. I have played games online long before the social networks became so popular. Yes, games with other people. These people were not my friends and that is supposed to be the big difference. Guess what – it isn’t. What makes the difference is the scale.
Facebook has such a huge userbase that is the potential user base of each new game. Everyone that 1. plays games online 2. is on facebook, is a much easier target now. It’s not that you can’t get running outside the facebook platform, but it is the speed you can grow that also matters. Gaming facebook users will say “Hey, I want to play this with somebody”..and their option is to send invitations to their “friends”. It’s not that they want to play with their friends in particular, it’s just the easiest way to get more people. The social graph is used, but just because it’s a graph. Any graph containing people would do. If twitter had games would it be “interest gaming” (after their “interest graph”) just because you invited all your followers? Or if LinkedIn had games (sounds weird)? In fact it is not uncommon to add “friends” on facebook in order to play a game. There are groups that connect gamers that are otherwise unrelated.
So it’s just the same old web games – in terms of gameplay and in terms of graphics. The slight difference is that they force you to spam your friends. And that your mother also plays.