How Google+ Can Improve Social Gaming

How Google+ Can Improve Social Gaming

Now that Google+ is out and about, the social network has had some time to present itself as a hipper, safer, and more convenient alternative to Facebook. Google+ is more upfront than Facebook about security settings, for starters, and its Circles make it a breeze to ensure that parents aren’t subjected to sons’ and daughters’ detailed updates about how much beer was guzzled last night, and how much came back up.

Maybe you made the switch to Google+ to take advantage of a fresh start coupled with ease of use and transparent user agreements. If you made the jump to get away from the barrage of Facebook games, however, you may be out of luck. Social media has long been a hot platform for games, and even if Zynga opts out of setting up farms and cities on Google+ (or is restricted from doing so due to its long-term contract with Facebook), games are going to end up on Google+ sooner than later. Slashgear has already confirmed that Google appears to be grooming its network for games, and though the nature of said games is not yet clear, some breed of social gaming is a good guess.

Will social games take off on Google+? Google+ has garnered 20 million users in just three weeks, but that’s still a baby number compared to 750 million active monthly users on Facebook. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of work for Google+ to catch up with Facebook’s empire.

Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? Obviously, Google didn’t invest a truckload of money into social networking and social gaming with the intent of coming in at a distant second, but it could certainly build up a dedicated userbase by simply existing as a quieter, more controlled, and more “grown up” version of Facebook, games and all. Google+’s Circles would make it easier to corral our in-game updates so that only interested parties would be subject to them. As IndustryGamers points out, there is even the possibility for a hook-up with Android games, and Google+ could serve as a leaderboard of sorts. Social gaming is always in need of new ideas; transferable Android-Google+ leaderboards is just one such idea.

There’s no doubt Google+ will wind up hosting games before much longer. Critics of social gaming might not be compelled to break out the champagne when the news comes around, but veering away from social games won’t fix the genre’s flaws. Only experimentation can do that, and Google+ is as good a venue as any to start fixing some of the media criticisms that plague social gaming.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

2 Comments

  1. Wow, that was a fantastic little piece of industry analysis! Cheers!

  2. The only problem I have with Google+ is that it’s another Social Network I have to update to. It’s almost feeling like a job to me to update social networks, from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (my twitter updates it), and now Google+ I’m getting overwhelmed. Also that I admin pages on facebook it’s getting some what ridiculous.

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