Review of Social Features in Social Network Games

Paavilainen Janne Alha Kati Korhonen Hannu
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Although social network games on Facebook have become popular, their actual sociability has been questioned. In this paper we review the social features of 16 social games and as a result present a list of 30 social features in three categories: presence, communication, and interaction. A common set of features which were found from all examined games are mainly focused on presence and communication aspects, while neglecting player interaction. In addition, social features are primarily used for acquisition and retention purposes, rather than monetization. These findings are useful for the study and design of social features in social games and in other games with social network integration.


Exploring Playful Experiences in Social Network Games

Paavilainen Janne Koskinen Elina Korhonen Hannu Alha Kati
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Social network games are popular pastime for millions of players on Facebook. Despite their popularity, qualitative research on experiences in these games has been scarce. In our study, 110 informants played 23 games on Facebook and reported their experiences using the Playful Experiences (PLEX) framework. We analyzed 110 reports containing 330 PLEX descriptions and present findings from three perspectives. First, we provide an overall analysis on playful experiences in social network games. Then we focus on genre specific experiences in casual puzzle, casual simulation, and mid-core strategy games. Lastly, we provide examples of interesting outlier experiences. Based on our study, Competition, Completion and Challenge are the most common playful experiences in these games. The genre-specific analysis revealed both similarities and differences between the genres, while the outlier experiences provide new perspectives on social network games. Through the PLEX framework, this research helps to understand the playful experiences in social network games.


Systematic Analysis of In-Game Purchases and Social Features of Mobile Social Games in Japan

Shibuya Akiko Teramoto Mizuha Shoun Akiyo
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

The mobile social game market is expanding rapidly. Thirty-one popular mobile social games selected by young people (N = 2,660) in Japan during November 2013 were analyzed. The results showed that players could make additional in-game purchases after starting to play 30 of the 31 games. Moreover, limited-time events allowing additional in-game purchases were available in 90% of the games. Results also indicated that not only competitive but also cooperative features are prevalent in social games, and connections to social networking services are recommended in more than 80% of the games.


The Play’s the Thing: Practicing Play as Community Foundation and Design Technique

Fullerton Tracy
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Earth balls, parachutes, word plays, provocative magic ... This session is a discussion of the USC Game Design Community, an attempt to encourage inter-disciplinary game design and research through community play experiments. The USC Game Design Community is a cross-departmental student group responsible for initiating a series of social play experiments designed to bring students and researchers from various schools of the University together. The play experiments of the previous year culminated in a game innovation research grant offered to an inter-disciplinary student team and a test of our overall assumption that playing together can provide disparate groups with common vocabulary, social relationships and collaboratively generated design concepts.


Playing your network: gaming in social network sites

Rossi Luca
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Recently the use of social network sites have emerged as one of the most important and time-consuming online activities. In the large and diversified social network scenario Facebook emerged as one of the most important sites at least in the United States and in Europe. In the Facebook-based gaming scene Playfish, a UK based company, has recently gained a leading position with more than 50 million registered players. The paper will analyze these five games, observing, starting from Playfish’s games, how Facebook games use the social network site and the social relationships between players as a core element for the game experience. In SNS several different contexts of life seems to exist one near the others and eventually overlapping. Closest friends with co-workers, relatives with ex-schoolmates: the paper will present how the new SNS environment can be used for gaming and how gaming activities change when they enter the collapsed context of SNSs.


Serious Beats: Transdisciplinary research methodologies for designing and evaluating a socially integrative serious music-based online game

Kayali Fares Schwarz Vera Götzenbrucker Gerit Pfeffer Jürgen Franz Barbara Purgathofer Peter
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Recent studies show that the second generation of migrants is not adequately integrated into mainstream society but tends to segregate into secluded segments. ‘Internet Use and Friendship Structures of young migrants in Vienna: a Question of Diversity within Social Networks and Online Social Games’1 is a transdisciplinary2 research project with the objective to create a serious music-based online social game, which firstly is intended to be a positive impact game with the purpose of furthering integration and encouraging the manifestation of meaningful multiethnic relations. Secondly, the game shall make social interaction observable for evaluation. This paper gives an overview of which methodological approaches can be combined in the phases of the game’s design process and shows how the mutual embedding of game design researchers and social scientists works in this context.


Social Architecture and the Emergence of Power Laws in Online Social Games

Kirman Ben. Collova Francesco Davide Fabrizio Ferrari Eva Freeman Jonathan Lawson Shaun Linehan Conor Ravaja Niklas
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This paper explores the concept of the “social architecture” of games, and tests the theory that it is possible to analyse game mechanics based on the effect they have on the social behaviour of the players. Using tools from Social Network Analysis, these studies confirm that social activity in games reliably follows a power distribution: a few players are responsible for a disproportionate amount of social interactions. Based on this, the scaling exponent is highlighted as a simple measure of sociability that is constant for a game design. This allows for the direct comparison of social activity in very different games. In addition, it can act as a powerful analytical tool for highlighting anomalies in game designs that detrimentally affect players’ ability to interact socially. Although the social architectures of games are complicated systems, SNA allows for quantitative analysis of social behaviours of players in meaningful ways, which are to the benefit of game designers.


In Perpetual Beta? On the Participatory Design of Facebook Games

Jacobs Melinda Sihvonen Tanja
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

This paper proposes a new way of looking into the ‘sociality’ of social (network) games. On the basis of looking closely at the development of Frontierville, a popular Facebook game, and more abstractly at the development of its fellow Zynga Facebook-based games (such as Farmville or Cityville), we argue that various network-based forms of participatory design are increasingly becoming both influential and indispensable in social (network) based game design than ever before. Although participatory design in gaming is not new, the way in which participatory design is being used in social (network) games is new, giving the player a greater and more immediate role in the game design than ever before. Whether this is for better or worse, this form of participation fostered by the structure of social networks has allowed social (network) game players to become much more powerful than previous in their relationship to the game industry.