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Social Game Smackdown

Submitted by Meg on December 22, 2010 - 2:40pm. Casual Corner

I see so much potential in social Facebook games, that I’m frustrated when actual gameplay falls short. (Translation: Why isn’t the real world as awesome as my imagination?)

I’ve written before about the anonymous, automatic nature of virtual free gifting, but virtual trading doesn’t have to be so thoughtlessly spammish. What if we traded finite resources instead of blasting our social networks with free virtual goods? In MyTribe, that would be seeds, recipes and crafted items, as well as swapping salvage with friends to complete collections.

To see the appeal of trading for virtual items, just look at any MMO’s auction house, shopping in Big Fish-style casual games, and I even remember trading with NPCs at certain stops on the green-and-black Oregon Trail.  Instead of offering open borders (Don’t do it. Montezuma’s a jerk.) or weapon enchantment, a casual game tradescreen would offer players the chance to trade for new seeds or give surplus stock to new players. With so many possibilities for trading in Facebook games, it seems like a waste to be stuck on socially spamming free gifts.

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