Social gaming has become, without a doubt, one of the major forces in the industry over the past few years. Mushfiq Zaman traces the popularity of these games, hoping to understand what makes them tick, and if they have any drawbacks. This marks the beginning of our social gaming category.
The last decade has seen the rise of several social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, and most recently, Google Plus. It’s not surprising that along with this came the growing popularity of the games being played on these websites. With online micro-transactions and multitudes of followers, this segment has now turned into a billion dollar industry. The question that comes to mind the most is why and how has this happened?
Sony has dropped its precious XMB user interface from the NGP in favor of a simplified interface so that touch screen controls could be added. They believe it will make the device “very social network orientated”.
SCE worldwide studios boss Shuhei Yoshida revealed this while speaking to Edge. He noted it as the key reason behind the company leaving XMB behind.
As for the “social networking” factor, he said that the company wanted the potential for friends to join in and interact at any given moment.
“To do so, we thought it was important to let users keep track of their game even when they weren’t playing it – with the LiveArea, for example,” he stated.
The NGP is Sony’s second attempt at handheld domination. It is due out later this year. No price has been given yet.
Ahead of the game’s release next month, Harmonix has announced details behind ROCKBAND.com, a website that will hook into the upcoming rhythm game’s multiplayer and band features. The social community site will launch alongside the game on November 20 and will feature in-depth leaderboards, personal and band home pages, and a “Musicians Meeting Musicians” classified section to help form bands online. The site will offer members the opportunity to message each other and blog about their musical tastes and accomplishments. Here’s the deal:
- Personal & Band Pages: ROCKBAND.com will automatically load your in-game characters and game stats from an online database so your personal profile page will always be up to date. Choose from four genres in the game to customize your profile pages with cool background skins that reflect your rock tastes.
- Band Classifieds: Find and create your own band through the ROCKBAND.com Band Classifieds page. Here you can advertise your own rocker skills or search through dozens of rocker profiles to choose band mates who share similar music tastes.
- Rock Band Leaderboards: Climb to the top of the charts as a solo artist or band! From band rankings to solo scores, the ROCKBAND.com leaderboards will earn you fame and fortune as you progress on your journey to Rock Band stardom.
- Rocker Blogs: Find out what’s happening behind the scenes with your favorite bands through their blogs. Use your blog to communicate with band mates about practice times, meet others with similar musical interests and keep your groupies in the loop with the website’s unique blogs.
- Rock Band Forums: Interact with other rockers and music lovers about anything and everything rock!
- Photo Creator: (Coming Soon!) Take the ultimate promo band or solo shot with the website’s Photo Creator. Pick a location, the right lighting, and a coordinated (or not!) pose for your band. Take it over the top cheesy or seriously intense. It’s all about your band’s total image.
The site is being developed by San Francisco creative powerhouse Mekanism.