7 Ways Console Game Developers Could Be More Social

Tue, Apr 27, 2010

Console, Facebook, Features, Social, Twitter

Many developers are moving into the social direction with increasing integration into services such as Xbox Live, PSN, Steam and the like. However, few are interacting with the social networking world that exists outside the console like Facebook and Twitter.

Currently, Xbox Live features Twitter and Facebook as parts of their Xbox Live Gold Subscription which tend to be nice apps for viewing these networks on their televisions. PS3, Wii, PSP, and DS all have web browsers but they tend to only be able to view very limited web pages so the ability to view and interact with them is near impossible and certainly not practical.

I believe that, with a little extra effort, a lot of console games could hit the social mark. As both a gamer and social media nut, I can at least say I’d appreciate it a lot.

1. Allow quick, in-game updates with progress – Not necessarily auto-updates but take what a game such as Blur has done by providing a button on the statistic or leaderboard screen  that allows you to quickly push a status update to the masses.

An example of how Blur's Twitter integration works.

2. Screenshot Sharing – Allow easy access to take a snapshot of gameplay and share it with the social worlds of Twitter and Facebook.

Needs a 'Game Screenshot' album

3. Pause Menu Updating – Very simple: You finished that major boss battle and need a quick break to prepare for the next onslaught. In my idea, you could update Twitter from the pause menu at any time (without leaving the game).

Just stick a 'Update Twitter' selection somewhere!

4. Moderate Auto-Updating – Uncharted 2 incorporated Twitter auto-updating that led to many people either never using the option or being annoyed by their flooded timeline. In my idea, the auto-updating would be optional but also only update when major events such as game completion take place. “Talor completed Left 4 Dead 2 and earned 700 Gamerscore by doing so.” would work very well.

5. Social Network Inviting - A quick message that just allows someone to alert their friends that they are playing a certain game and requires more players. “Talor is looking for a squad in MAG.” would be a good example of this proposed feature.

6. Facebook Pages – I believe many publishers and developers are understanding this, but perhaps have it even more integrated with the game. Have their own meta-app that tracks progress through the game and allows players to share it on their wall or challenge Facebook friends.

7. Meta-Social Games – Perhaps having real characters on Twitter is not an original concept but perhaps having them be an integral part of the game (Capcom did it for Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles). Have a character with an account on Twitter that players need to look at in order to progress or have them mention the account to unlock certain items.

As clearly laid out, social gaming has a ways to go before I am completely satisfied with the integration. Still, I think it’s a very important discussion to have as well as something I am extremely interested in for the future and next generation of consoles.

Did you like the list? Hate it? I would love to discuss this topic in the comment section below!

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- who has written 807 posts on Frisky Mongoose.

Talor is a Contributing Editor at Frisky Mongoose focusing on the mobile side of the social gaming world.

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