Online Gaming Wars – Uninteresting

One of the bigger stories in the tech world recently has involved the online gaming wars going on between Facebook and Google+. Google announced their plans to make a gaming platform for developers on Thursday, which puts them in direct competition with Facebook’s already popular gaming architecture. On the very same day, Facebook announced a developer-only event to announce updates to their gaming platform.  (Don’t believe me? Check out how much of your Facebook newsfeed is filled with notifications from games instead of people.)

Honestly, this is not interesting news to me.

First of all, Google and Facebook have every reason to be competitive with one another on every aspect of their networks:

  1. Google+ was already competing with Facebook anyway
  2. Facebook is rather competitive in general, and we’ve seen this before at least once or twice with Facebook’s release of its standalone mobile app Messages (to compete with the upcoming iOS private messaging similar to Blackberry’s BBM) and their announcement of video integration in Facebook chat soon after the release of Google+.
google and facebook buildings

Even the buildings are trying to one-up each other...

Second, I’m not sure how much games drive engagement in social networks.

Playing Tetris on Facebook will cause you to spend more time on Facebook, but can it become the defining reason to go to Facebook? Probably not. Granted, the example is a little unfair because Tetris is so widespread and is available on multiple platforms. Take another example: Farmville. The creator, Zynga, has an exclusive deal with Facebook on Farmville and Cityville, so these games will not be available on Google (though some of Zynga’s other games will). Exclusive deals for games are normal. For example, Halo is only produced for XBox

The difference is that Facebook and Google+ aren’t primarily gaming platforms like the XBox. Games are a perk, but ultimately, most people go to Facebook and Google+ to interact with their friends online. Gaming is a part, but not the whole, of that interaction. In the long run, the success and dominance of one social network over another will have more to do with the ability to create a satisfying experience with person-to-person interactions rather than the specific games offered or the availability of a gaming platform.


Want more? Subscribe via RSS or Email for updates.

What do you think of the gaming wars? Are games an important factor in your social network choice? Let me know in the comments.


Got Something to Say? Say it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s