— aleatory

Indy Gaming & Destroying a Platform

Zynga Twitter integration: Why on Earth?This post started off as a comparison of two of the most prominent methods of indy game distribution on the web today – app stores & social networks – but has morphed into something of a warning shot to platforms who allow their open networks to be ridden roughshot over by games ruthlessly seeking distribution above all else.

I had hoped to discuss some numbers taking both leading Facebook & App Store games as a jumping off point. But one look at my Twitter homepage this morning aroused some angst.

To their credit the realtime stream networks have opened up their far-reaching update networks to 3rd party developers without holding much back. Photos on facebook and throttling search on twitter are by and large minor holdups which would presumably have grave performance issues to overcome first anyway.

But this power in the hands of developers doesn’t come without responsibilities.

Unfortunately there has already been what I would call a serious breach of both the twitter and facebook reason d’etre – communication amongst the network. Check out this post from back in 2007 for a critique of what makes a good facebook app – and this from a marketeer of all things. Now fast forward to today’s Twitter and check out one of the trending topics – ‘pirates’. Not because of the ongoing web meme – no this Pirates refers to Zynga’s social network app available on FB & MySpace.

The lead graphic shows the gorey details – users are now encouraged to cross post their in-game achievements onto their twitter accounts. And because a bazillion of us play these games (& are willing to do anything to get special items, including filling out marketing forms on anything from insurance to mobile phones) this created enough buzz through either direct postings or the predictable but similarly idiotic “why is pirates trending?” postings now proping up numerous worthless ‘trends’ on Twitter these days.

But the value of trending topics once they have got onto the user’s twitter homepage is for another day. As is the dubious lengths some social gaming apps will go to in supplying advert networks with Facebook user data. These automated updates from gaming platforms need to be nipped in the bud right now.

garbage.One such tweet on the left here. When I think of why I have a Twitter account – to connect with interesting individuals whom I have nor might ever physically meet and to follow breaking news in near-realtime – this guff frankly does not appeal to me. It’s polluting twitter no doubt about it. As you can see Zynga have created their own special client to deliver inane bs direct to your homepage.

Personally I have a policy of immediately unfollowing anyone who feels it necessary to add such content to their account. Dealing with manual spam especially connected around trending topics is a more nuanced problem.

But mass auto distribution by gaming platforms can be nipped in the bud right now.

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