More often than not, modern social games rely on straightforward mechanics that target a casual, mass-market audience. This sort of simplicity doesn't always appeal to the hardcore-focused designer, but online game developer Dan Fiden (now of venture capital firm Signia Ventures) believes that social games may actually offer a lot of important lessons on core game development.
At last year's GDC Online, Fiden shared his thoughts on the impact social games have had on the industry, and urged traditional game developers to pay attention, as their influence isn't going away any time soon.
For instance, Fiden pointed out that social games have really changed the way players approach multiplayer sessions, as social players have become accustomed to playing with people they know in real life rather than a group of anonymous strangers. If developers are clever, they can leverage those pre-existing relationships to make their online games far more compelling.
"Facebook has allowed us to make games that assume real world relationships. We don't need to solve the problem of putting you in a situation and forcing you to make a friend... we have access to all of your friends – we just need to put you in the same game together, and we can presuppose that relationship," Fiden said.
If a developer can expect that existing relationship between players, Fiden added that their games can become more complex, more social, and ultimately, more satisfying for the player.
For more of Fiden's thoughts on how social games can teach core game developers, be sure to check out his full GDC Online presentation in the above video, courtesy of the GDC Vault.
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