Games don’t need to be social
Social games have been a big trend in recent years. Zynga struck it big and now everyone else is trying to emulate them. Unfortunately, the first thing that pops into anyones head when a Zynga game is mentioned is Facebook. Facebook is the platform upon which their success stories like FarmVille were built, but it’s not the reason for their success.
Zyngas games work because they are fun. The social connectivity is merely a mechanism to share your enjoyment of the game with others. It becomes utterly useless if there is no enjoyment to share.
Sadly, many focus on social connectivity out of some misguided delusion of necessity. People actually believe their game needs to be social to be successful. This is simply not the case. At best, it’s a distraction from the real importance; fun. At worst, it’s lipstick on a pig. If your game sucks, social connectivity isn’t going to magically make people not notice.
Minecraft sold millions. No Facebook, no Twitter. It’s not even out of beta. Braid did incredibly well too. As did Bejeweled. No social connectivity there. Just good, old-fashioned fun. That’s all games need.
Stop for a moment and think; if Facebook didn’t exist, could my game still work? Would I still love playing it? Would I still tell my friends about that cool thing I did in it last night? If the answer to any of those is no, you have lost. Game over. Retry.