Ok. This is embarrassing. Please don’t stop being my friend.
But I . . . have played Farmville. I know, I’m sorry.
I don’t think I am the only person who feels like they need to apologize and be embarrassed about their online gaming activity – especially one that bugs nonplayers with incessant messages about what goes on in the game. I find these games incredibly addicting
for the first 2 weeks, when leveling up is easy and you don’t require much outside help. That changes all too soon though. Quickly the things you need you have to get “friends” to give you or to buy using real world money. REAL MONEY?
Come on now, I’m not that addicted. And I don’t have 30 friends who are also playing that will send me what I need. (I’d die before I admit my involvement with such games by inviting a nonplayer to play!)
So, the leveling up and building becomes impossible. You lose all your energy in a minute or two of play. And I lose interest in all things Farmville (or whatever game of the month). Farmville actually sent me a follow up survey to figure out why I stopped playing and I told them just that. It seems like I wasn’t the only one. I only have one friend that I know of that still actively plays the game – so I’m really not going to level up even if I wanted to. I could be wrong but the whole game seems to have fallen out of favor, so should advertisers ever buy a long term contract? I wouldn’t.
So is social gaming really the next generation of online advertising? Do these product you buy in the game do anything but increase name recognition? Do they increase purchase? I don’t know that it has been definitively proven that Farmville sponsors saw an uplift in sales. They might have become better know by the players, and maybe that’s all that the brand’s goals were. But most of the branded items I have seen sold within games are earned or have to be bought with real world money, so even recognition might be limited to mostly those REALLY hard core players.
Now what about playing BubbleBlaster with Skittles or M&Ms? Does it make you hungry? Does it remind you that you should get some at the store? If you can get a game or app to get really popular, I could see this having a positive effect on users who enjoy the product being featured in the game. (Notice they usually don’t require your friends to play, they aren’t “social”)
Is this the next big thing? Game makers have been trying to make it successful for years, and as annoying as it is sometimes it seems to have worked out really well for a few companies. Sadly, you might just have to get used to the Mafia Wars, Cityville, and The Sims friends requesting your assistance (unless they realize how embarrassing it is like me).