It’s well-known to many that gaming and social media, today, go hand in hand. In fact, some would go so far to say that social gaming is largely responsible for the meteoric rise of social media into the mainstream consciousness.
That’s why it’s such a big deal that Google announced on Thursday that its new social network, Google+, now has a social gaming platform, just a month and a half into the network’s life.
It’s not just any gaming platform, though. On this gaming platform, the host (Google) is only taking a five percent cut of virtual good sales. That’s massively undercutting the 30 percent taken by that other platform host (Facebook).
This social media battle just turned into all-out war.
“Today we’re adding games to Google+,” writes Vic Gundotra, SVP of Engineering. “With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conversations. The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life.”
“That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences. Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don’t.”
In those two short paragraphs, Gundotra makes a couple not-so-subtle jabs at the biggest, most obvious competitor to Google+, Facebook.
The first, a big distinction Google has been pushing since day one, is the Google+ focus on “real-life sharing,” giving users complete control in how they share their words and other media through the social network. The other, playing to some user complaints that Facebook had turned into a feed for FarmVille updates, ensures that the game experience will live separate from the main social experience.
As displayed in the screenshot here, games are to be accessed through a tab following Home, Photos, Profile and Circles. Only on that tab will users see game updates, scores and other related data.
Significantly, Google has secured some very strong launch titles for the new platform.
Here’s the list of games playable on Google+ (along with the responsible developer):
- Angry Birds (Rovio)
- Bejeweled Blitz (PopCap, now part of EA)
- Bubble Island (Wooga)
- City of Wonder (Playdom)
- Collapse! Blast (GameHouse)
- Crime City (Funzio)
- Diamond Dash (Wooga)
- Dragon Age Legends (EA)
- Dragons of Atlantis (Kabam)
- EdgeWorld (Kabam)
- Flood-It! (LabPixies, now part of Google)
- Monster World (Wooga)
- Wild Ones (Playdom)
- Zombie Lane (Digital Chocolate)
- Zynga Poker (Zynga)
Obviously, the launch of games on Google+ is about a lot more than just games, as evident in the simultaneous launch of the Google+ Platform Blog. Developers will likely very soon be able to create all manner of applications for the social network, just as they can on Facebook.