A round up of gaming news revealed two interesting and related items.
First, Gamasutra has a long post-mortem of social games and Facebook as a platform. Basically, the article gathers quotes from various industry players who suggest that Facebook games have jumped the shark because they substitute soul-crushing clickfests for fun gameplay. The article ponders the aftermath to explore “what happened?” and “what’s next?”
Second, a LinkedIn blogger shares his thoughts on the voracious success of Minecraft – a primarily PC game that needed no publisher and no advertising to become the 6th highest-selling PC game ever. The author notes that Minecraft’s fan convention dedicated a lot of program time to topics that empowered Minecraft users to make videos in the game, promote those videos, etc. He suggests that Minecraft’s approach is “genius” because it cultivate 30 million users into marketing channels. That strikes me as overstatement, since many customer focused businesses generate and maintain brand loyalty and the concomitant word-of-mouth marketing through similar methods. Minecraft has Minecon, but Apple had MacWorld, Blizzard had Blizzcon, and CCP has its EVE Fanfest. Beyond videogames and tech, other traditional companies have long associated with and/or sponsored events dedicated to their products, such as Harley Davidson’s role in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
An interesting takeaway from these two pieces emerges. Don’t rely on treating your users as source for harvesting clicks; give customers a good product experience and stay engaged with them to share and/or fuel that excitement.