Google Plus Games – The Beginning of the End?

Google Plus GamesToday Google+ rolled out their gaming system for casual games. They also rolled out info on the Google+ Platform at the same time. The Google+ Platform announcement got buried under a horde of anti-casual gaming sentiment. As a designer I’ll be paying attention to the Google+ Platform blog so I can see what some of the developers I work with may be digging through for new projects. You can read about the Google+ Platform here: Google+ Platform

About my brief experience with Google+ Games

I was fortunate enough to be on right as the announcement was made about Google+ Games rolling out. In fact, I was fortunate enough to have access to the game stream for a very limited time. I did have enough to try out one of the games, was a zombie game but I forget the title, it behave similar to money casual games. Click this. Click that. Level up. Here’s a mission for you to click on more stuff. Wasn’t anything unusual, except, that’s right there’s an except, except that I did not face any of the lag that I’ve faced in the past on Facebook. In fact, it went very smoothly.

The things I didn’t get to test before my button got revoked was how it messaged people and how people would be messaging me from the game. It was very clear, extremely clear, that none of the casual game spam that Facebook has existed. Even as I write this I’ve still yet to get a single bit of casual game spam posting in my stream. If this is how Google+ Games are going to be running then I’m all for it. My only concern is the impact the games will have on the servers. If they are forced to be hosted on Google+ then we could face the same sort of slow down that Facebook has.

Zynga already had a game in the line up, along with I think about 14 others, to include Angry Birds. There was a wide selection of game types though I suspect they all shared similar game models. The thing I did note though was that despite Zynga’s presence there didn’t seem to be a load time like you have on Facebook. Which makes me wonder if the typical slow performance of Zynga is a Facebook issue; been so long since I was on MySpace I don’t remember how they played on there or if there was a difference in speed between MySpace and Facebook.

Google+ Games did ask for the standard access to my friends list. Not to sure I like that but on the flip side I understand the casual games need that access to be able to “invite” them. As long as it’s just the list and not their email addresses, and they have a way to isolate themselves from the games, I’m O.K. with that.

The thing that has me the most excited is the mention of incorporating Google+ Hangout with the Google+ Games. You can read a bit more about it here. I think it’ll be pretty spiffy if Googlites [that’d be Google+ folks] could “talk smack” while they pound each other into virtual oblivion. O.K., Googlites might not have the opportunity to for that sort of action [I did see what looked like a star fighter game in the line up.] but they surely can talk smack to each other. Think about the gaming options for Google+ Games combined with Google+ Hangouts. If you’re like my fellow Googlites and play “board” games already, Call of Cthulhu, Settlers of Catan, Kingsburg, Munchkin, Arkham Horror and Dominion then being able to play these through Google+ Games with Google+ Hangout would be the total spiffy awesome sauce. O.K., so I have a bit of a board game addiction. I blame it on one of the co-owner of Lily’s Garden [their Facebook page] [their online store] located in Ann Arbor MI. Yes, that was a shameless plug for a friend; but, she really did get me addicted to board games. Curse her, in a friendly way, I need my fix.

But I digress, so to look at Google+ Gaming from a designer’s point of view, I thought the layout was nice and clean and very not distracting. The fact that the games are on their own stream makes me more willing to embrace casual gaming again; especially since I can use it when I want and dump it when I don’t. Unlike many of the Googlites that have condemned Google+ for adding casual gaming I’m still on the fence. If Google does it right this could be a successful monetization of the social scene or it could kill the fledgling social network that has, up to this point in my opinion, been doing things right.

What’s your thoughts?

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2 Comments to “Google Plus Games – The Beginning of the End?”

  1. I was a little surprised to see Zynga on the list because of their exclusive contract with FB, but I’d forgotten that they are allowed to have a game here as long as it requires an FB login. I can hardly blame them for trying something out on G+, I’m sure they’re even more curious about load time difference than I am! If the load times are that much faster on G+, FB will definitely have a problem on its hands.

    • I did some digging and discovered that Zynga has a per game contract with Facebook so they aren’t violating anything. Good thing too because I’m getting bored with all these lawsuits lately.

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