Sponsored By

Featured Blog | This community-written post highlights the best of what the game industry has to offer. Read more like it on the Game Developer Blogs.

Discussion of social aspects of social game

This article is about sociality of social games. How people interact with each other in games are important in today’s games. Games are still under evolution, especially social games.

Fred Tang

August 11, 2015

8 Min Read

This article is about sociality of social games. How people interact with each other in games are important in today’s games. Games are still under evolution, especially social games.

I also proposes some ideas about how to make game more attractive.

  • Add friends

Give player a reason to add friends. To form ties, to keep them playing.

If a title is in a particular platform, then it can make use of the platform’s friends lists, like in Facebook, and Mobage, you can invite your platform’s friends to join with you. The more friends those platform have, the more potential friends you can invite.

In most of Facebook games, you can add friends through the in-game inviting panel, but you can’t invite stranger to become your game friends, I guess they just want to make use of its propaganda function, to promote their game, not enhance gameplay itself.

But in Mobage, you can invite strangers to become your game friends, you can invite Mobage friends to become your game friends, and you can even add your Mobage friends by the game friends list. So they are all exchangeable.

You can add your Mobage friends through game friends list.

You can add your friends through Mobage friends list.

In GeGeGe No Kitaro-Monster Alley, they integrate adding friends feature into theme. A envoy can carry the friends request message to you. So you can click envoy directly to accept or refuse that request. I think it is good, because it is easy to see those message on main screen and it enhance the theme of game.

Integrate adding friends feature into theme

In many Japanese games, you can add friends who you have asked for a mission with you. That co-mission experience give you a reason to add them.

  • Greet

Greeting feature are usually seen in Japanese game, maybe it is a manifestation of culture difference. You can greet friends to get some bonus. Greeting each other also can fortify ties of friends. So keep them greeting, you will keep them playing.


In GeGeGe No Kitaro-Monster Alley,greeting between friends by envoys


How about some tangible greeting? Leave greet messages, leave presents, others friends also can see them on screen, like a wish tree full of greeting messages. That is more attractive because greetings are showoff in some sense.

  • Give and ask presents

Giving and asking presents is a means of enhancing relationship, so most of social games encourage giving presents to friends every day. It can be the forms of sending free gifts to friends, buy gift to friends or asking presents from friends. They are also a good way to invite new friends to join games, so almost all games give player free gifts for sending every day. Wish lists are prevails in America, what you wish can be seen by friends, so they can help you. But that are not very often seen in East Asia, because people in those area may think actively ask presents is not polite.

Wish lists are prevail in America

Seed free gifts to friends every day


Wish lists is a powerful feature that has many possibilities. One new way is they can form a completed item, which you can put on main screen of the game for friends helping. They are under construction projects that need helps from your friends. All of your friends who are visiting your space can see your projects. Each friend can give a component of the projects, eventually you can have the projects completed if all components are collected. Your friends may happily help you if they see their avatar can be show above the under construction projects and they become a part of your helping friends team.


  • Help and ask help

Similar to asking and giving gifts, helping and asking helps from friends is a good way to enhancing relationship and interactions between friends.

Ask help when you accouter difficulties or want to accelerate works.


Why can’t you see who are helping you in the first place, so you can help him too, visit his space and leave messages or presents. In many games, there are a lot of people are helping you, you can’t see who, because helping trails are not showing, you will only receive the benefits they had leaved latter. So I recommend displays helping friends in the first places. Best you can see their avatar. So they can show off their accustomed Avatars, which are monetized points.


Show your helping friend’s avatar

  • Message

Almost all MMORPG game have message function. It can be divided into different channel, like private, clan, group, area, world channel. But not all social gams have message function, Socially powerful game have more strong message function, in contrast, many social games that player are in parallel spaces may not have message function

All kinds of message channel

  • Display friends state

Better to display friend’s state with friends list, so you can know which room they are in, what are they doing and what you can do with them. It is a quickest way to interactive with them. Though they are not very often in Facebook games, I have seen many in Mobage.

  • Pose

Pose can express your feeling, players of a team pose at the same time can show group solidity. I have seen many synchronous genres like MMORPG have pose feature.

  • Avatar & decoration

Avatar are MONEY, avatar worth many. Don’t suspect, in China, internet and game giant Tencent sells a lot of decoration items that make a lot of money annually. Especially. Chinese games feature a variety of Customized functions through which players can show off to other person. 

All can become showoff item, like costume, Background, music, icon, and accessory.

  • Profile

Your profile has information that you want to present to others, you timeslot available, your comment, your title…like your business card, it is a good way to inform others.  

  • Cooperation

You can do anything with your friends in game, no matter what it is. Like in real world, we build rooms, bridges, roads in groups. In war time, we fight with comrades. Almost all works are done by team.

But in most of social game, players actually play game themselves, they do not complete projects with their friends, they only help friends sometimes. Some social games essentially lack of sociality in those aspects.


Since many social games lack of sociality, but actually almost all works can be done with others, how about we design game tasks that need many players cooperate to complete.

Like co-build your clan farm or co-build your clan city…all harvest are shared by participants. To encourage player take part in, the co-projects have bonus.

Co-build your community farm

  • competition

Corporation and competition are constant themes in human history. Social games also have many completion between players, like battle. But games also exist other kinds of competition.

  • Trade

There are so many trade forms in games, like Bartle, fairs, automatic shops, auction, though they are often seen in MMO, they are seldom seen in social games. Because most social gamers are casual gamers, they maybe have not so many time to play with trade. The only seller is game company.

Auction house in Social Wars

  • Leadboard

Though leadborad is very useful mechanic in its social power that make players chase up with others, but it often lose its magic when players are show with irrelevant list. That list may be full of people too far to chase, or may all be strangers that player don’t know. Why are leadboard useful? In that it may arises competition between close players, in that it let players showoffs records or achieves to their friends. So better give a leadboard that displays close people or friends, or divide leadboard into player’s region or group.

Tencent Music master leadboard only include your friends list

Read more about:

Featured Blogs

About the Author(s)

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like