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Q&A: Oberon Media's Kucharz Talks MySpace Partnership, Social Gaming

Q&A: Oberon Media's Kucharz Talks MySpace Partnership, Social Gaming

October 23, 2007 | By Leigh Alexander

October 23, 2007 | By Leigh Alexander
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More: Console/PC

Casual game publisher Oberon Media just announced a partnership with the popular MySpace social network to create MySpace Games, a new service that will allow users to play and share online casual games through MySpace, slated for launch in early 2008.

Named MySpace Games, the new service will allow users to choose from “hundreds” of online casual games to play with friends in the community. Users will also be able to add and virally share games through their personal MySpace profile pages.

All games will be available to play online free of charge to MySpace users. Players will be able to challenge friends to multiplayer games, invite them to play the same single player game or socialize via chat services within the game.

Gaming and social networking are crossing into one another's spheres with increasing frequency, so Gamasutra talked to Oberon Media's executive vice president, Ezra Kucharz, about the new initiative.

Can you comment on this idea of "social gaming," and why you think it's important to offer casual games via MySpace, as opposed to just a portal?

The idea of social gaming is to allow MySpace users to post games on their profile pages from the MySpace games channel, and then invite their friends to play their favorite games, show off their high scores and chat while playing.

It’s making the concept of casual gaming more interactive, more sociable -- and because of that, the games will be that much more accessible and viral.

The importance of offering casual games via MySpace is making the experience of playing games even more personal to the user, allowing him or her to share that experience with their own friends - as opposed to a community of people you meet through gaming.

Since all the games will be free, how will you earn revenue on them? Will they be ad-supported?

Yes, the games will be ad-supported. Because of MySpace’s approach to its community and the extent to which they listen, watch and respond to their needs, we are looking forward to being part of that process and giving MySpace gamers exactly the gaming experience they’re looking for.

In addition, the mine of data that this process yields will also provide highly valuable inventory for our ad partners.

Can you tell us a little more about how this partnership invites a relationship with the developer community?

We are working with our network of developers to create exciting and new content.

[A previous press release announcing MySpace Games noted: "The two companies have already begun encouraging developers to submit ideas for new social gaming titles to [email protected], with the service supported by its own specially created software development kit (SDK)."]

Can you speak generally about the launch timeframe for the service?

We will be launching this initiative in Q1 2008.

What do you think users of MySpace are looking for in terms of their gameplay experience?

The casual games category will fit the needs of the majority of users who are looking for an entertainment snack to fill their lunch break or downtime, who want instant gratification as well as an ongoing challenge, and who want to share that experience with their friends.

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