Game Development Reference
Interview with Everett Lee of OMGPOP:
The Science of Social Game Design—cont'd
that users who didn't play games wouldn't see all the wall posts generated
by their friends' games. Games can still drive virality through other means,
though, like through cross-promotions from their established games or by
encouraging players to invite their friends to install the game. In the lat-
ter example, games will offer up an incentive to an existing player to pull
a friend into the game, with a concrete reward or easier advancement in
the game. When not on the Facebook platform, the same principle applies,
though the means of execution vary slightly, often replacing a Facebook
invite notification with an email and a link to the game's website.
Traditional means of virality in advertising also work, such as a pro-
motion linked to a celebrity or someone who is high profile or a particu-
larly entertaining YouTube video, but a marketing specialist can better
speak to that.
Q: Social games have ushered in a new audience of game players. How has
this changed the face of the players you are now creating games for?
A: Because the social game space is expanding the addressable market,
instead of cannibalizing from the traditional game space, the demograph-
ics of gamers are definitely changing. A study sponsored by PopCap last
year revealed that the majority of social gamers, in the United States and
United Kingdom at least, are female. In a recent presentation, Wooga
boasted a user base that is 70 percent female. Beyond the gender differ-
ence, the PopCap study also asserts that the average age of the social
gamer is in her early forties.
No longer are the 20-something-year-old males seeking hours of
immersion the target demographic. Gameplay is measured in minutes
instead of hours, and developers can no longer count on a 3D graphics
card as standard fare in the hardware rig.
Q: Most games for the social networks are created in Flash. Unity is also
gaining some popularity. How do you see the current technology landscape
of social games, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
A: Flash became a standard for video playback with YouTube years ago
and more recently became the de facto standard for social games as
well. Some browsers, such as Chrome, come with Flash prebundled, so
users do not even need to download the Flash player plug-in. Unity may
be gaining some popularity among developers, but I do not ever see it
rivaling Flash in terms of market penetration; most games will still be