Game boredom and Facebook user interaction declines pose danger to new social games

As Zynga prepares to launch an IPO, trends in social gaming are alarming investors.

Daily average users are in decline at the world’s largest social gaming company, despite a very successful recent launch of Castleville, its latest medieval play. It would seem like other games, social gamers get bored quickly, yet I personally believe there is also a decline in average time spent on Facebook by the social gamer contingent of its 800 million users.

Our own game, Greenspace, is set to come out of beta in a short while, with major improvements to the beta version. What I would be watching the most for is “stickiness”. In other words, do people stick with the game after a few plays, thereby helping retain users and revenues. Boredom seems to come quickly even to the middle aged housewife, and whereas traditional gamers are hardcore because its their “way of life”, the new social gamer demographic is far more varied..and fickle.

Since the beginning of helping to found this company, I have harped on the point that this game target is very different from the traditional gaming play. Its based on a “doing good” incentive of greening a world gone dirty, by man’s hands, yet it must rely on the same fundamental principles of social games, to attract that most desirable middle-aged female demographic (I mean this from a gaming perspective, of course :). Those who have been in environmental products for longer periods will recognize that the “doing good” is rarely a primary driver of consumers. It can be a strong secondary one, yet is still only a primary one in a small portion of western population.

So it will be critical for the final launch version to have addressed these issues if it is to be successful and “stick” with its audience, long enough for RocketOwl to be able to launch a follow-up game and help the users migrate over (when they have reached a plateau of activity and are in search of something new). Game boredom, in a twitter world where attention spans are waning, is a critical point to measure, by consistently tapping into the audience’s psyche. As for Facebook user interaction declines, this only means that other platforms such as iOs, Android, Google+ and direct web, will be as critical in assuring that our audience remains strong through the trials and tribulations of Facebook’s evolving story.

1 Comment

  1. I’m glad someone has finally voiced this concern. I have heard so many friends complain about having to log back into the games every 15 minutes or 4 hours or whatever.

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