The Real Housewives of Farmville?

The sudden rise in social gaming has taken some of the worlds top game companies by surprise. A recent study by POP Games and Information Solutions Group found that the average player of games on Facebook is 48-years-old. Oh yeah… and they’re women. We think there are a couple of reasons for this… first, the games are more simplistic than games you would play on a console like the Xbox or Playstation. Second, you can play them in bite-sized pieces. They aren’t starting a campaign to win a battle during WWII or trying  to conquer the demons of Hell. They are harvesting crops, running a virtual cafe and trying not to Farkle.

So now you want to create the next Farmville. There are a few questions you need to ask before travelling down that road and putting it in the mix of your social media strategy.

  • Is your tattoo expandable into an online game environment? Be aware that not every brand is. A virtual accounting department probably won’t be a hit (no offense to our accounting friends out there).
  • Does my brand appeal to the mass market? Remember what we said here, the average demographic is a 48-year-old female. If you’re a skate boarding company, then most likely you aren’t talking to the right people. You should go where the kids are. But let’s say you’re a hospital or a grocery store chain. Both used by the demographic. And both easily translatable into a social game environment.
  • Can I provide a legitimate means for social interaction? Can you offer the player a way to expand their followers and “team members”? Can you keep expanding if the need calls for it? Mafia Wars, for example, added different countries to keep the Mafia Bosses interested.
  • Are you willing to put your name on the back burner? Let’s face it, no one wants to play “Panera Bread’s Cafe World.” But let’s say you keep the name as just Cafe World and then add little Panera Bread signage and ads, etc. Now you can still get the awareness without being too “in your face.”

Of course there are a plethora of other issues that need to be addressed before launching the next Bejeweled Blitz. But before you begin, make sure you can answer the above basic questions prior to heading down the long, and sometimes expensive, road of social game development.