The Games we play: Google Plus versus Facebook

3 May

Games.  I must confess that I do play some games.  Not as many as I used to, but I do play games on both Facebook and Google Plus.  Or maybe I should say did play them in both locations.

I recently stopped playing actively on Google Plus.

I played some of the same games on both sites.  Some were different too.  Now while I avoid playing Zynga games, there is still a lot of others to try playing.  So what was the difference?  After all, if the games are the same, they are the same, right?

Wrong.

There is actually a big difference.  Facebook has already had their growing pains with the addition of the games.  Games run smoothly, on the average, and have few problems loading.  The same isn’t true for Google Plus.  Games would frequently freeze, refuse to load, or have numerous other glitches that made playing difficult at times.

Facebook games not only run smoother with fewer glitches, they often have extra features not found on the Google Plus games.  They seem more finished and less “beta” than G+ games.  It may be easier to circle other players on G+, but…adding them as “neighbors” may not be so easy, as that is a common glitch in the games.  In addition, games have been leaving the Google Plus platform.

So why is there the differences?  Only a game company insider could really answer that question, but the most obvious answer is that Facebook requires some kind of exclusive feature added to the games playing there.  Game companies are probably willing to comply with few complaints too, after all, Facebook as a portal has fewer overall problems than Google Plus does.

I really like Google Plus as a social network.  I use it often in doing research, finding interesting people and information through G+.  (That’s not to say my Facebook friends are boring though!)  It is just easier to find topic specific posts and their advocates through G+ than with Facebook.  I can then circle them or not, without worrying about whether I will offend anyone.  I don’t have to know them to do that–it’s the whole concept behind the circles that makes it so easy to use for research on a topic.  Those features are not available on Facebook at all.

At one point, I thought I may largely abandon Facebook in favor of the more dynamic interface on Google Plus, but in reality, it would be like choosing to only eat bananas rather than bananas AND strawberries!  They are different, but they both have a very useful purpose for me.  On the other hand, if merely interacting with others to play games was my goal, Google Plus wouldn’t have much of my attention.  It’s just too aggravating to try and play the games, especially knowing that many of them are fleeing as fast as they flocked on board.

So what are my favorite games? 

My long term favorite has been Hit Grab’s MouseHunt.  I love the imagery, and I love the play and go nature of the game.  I can be active without devoting hours and hours of attention to it.

Other games seem to come and go over time with me, but I do like Zuma Blitz, Bejeweled Blitz, Monster World, and Township currently.  The blitz games have been favored for some time, although the other two are relatively new to my list of games I play.  I don’t like games that require extensive “begging” from friends for bits and pieces to “build” things, and while Township has some of those features, it hasn’t annoyed me excessively yet.  I also don’t like games that require me to recruit friends to play–being a game evangelist doesn’t appeal to me!

Too many of the games on social networks seem to occupy excessive amounts of time and attention.  I want a game to play for a few minutes, and then go on to other things.  I don’t want it to take over my life–the whole point of a game is that it should be FUN, not a new occupation.  Sometimes, I enjoy competing with friends, other times, I prefer something I can just do in my solitary fashion too.

So why are social network games free?

Plain and simple, they are paid for via advertisements that players click on.  Game developers hope that players buy the extra features, whether they are special powers or game-specific “play money.”  That’s how they earn money, not by being paid by the social network to provide the games to them.  If you ever wondered why so many games have these pay-only extra features, you can stop wondering now.  One of the biggest phenomena in the modern marketplace is the amount of money traded for fictional goods in games.

That means that you can also vote with your dollars too.  Don’t spend money on games or with game companies that you dislike, and you are casting a vote that IS counted.  By spending money with your favorites, you are casting a positive vote as well.

So enjoy, and see which you prefer for your gaming entertainment.

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