Most AAA big budget titles have yet to grasp the importance of social integration. A simple look at the next generation consoles and we can see that the platform holders already grasp and appreciate the importance that social gaming has going forward.
Sony and Microsoft have adopted social network like features into their next systems, while Nintendo led the charge with their game centric social network miiverse … And yet, console games have yet to adapt this idea of social mechanics into their games.
Rockstar have had success with their own social club on titles like GTA, Midnight Club, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne and Ubisoft still struggle to find an identity for their own ailing Uplay. The game that has most impressed me with it’s social integration of late has been Sonys first party masterpiece The Last of Us – the last game you would ever imagine to contain these types of features.
The Last of Us is simply amazing… For more info why not check out my review over on Gamepinion. But beyond the exceptional single player lies a robust multiplayer mode with more than enough to keep gamers happy for many moons to come. That multiplayer component is called Factions and it contains some nifty social mechanics.
When you start Factions the game asks you to link your Facebook account and import your Friends list. It states very clearly that it will not post to your friends wall or interrupt them in any way which adds some piece of mind. So what does it do then? It pulls in your friend list and as you play matches you bring more of your Facebook friends into your camp. The more “survivors” you have in your camp the more unlocks you’ll receive.
What makes this feature so good? Well you can imagine that having to keep your friends at camp happy, fed and protected carries more weight when they are people that you know. It can be funny to see that an acquaintance is foraging for food or that a cousin has found a sleeping bag but its quite harrowing to find put that your aunt has been bitten and infected by a pack of beasties…
This is a clever use of a players social network and I’m sure we will see more features like this going forward. Sonys own Driveclub on PS4 and The Crew both seem like games that will thrive on social features. Add to that titles like battlefield 4 and watch dogs which not only have social integration but second screen functionality and the future is looking very interesting indeed.
What do you think about social mechanics in games? Have you experimented with The Last of Us’ Factions or maybe Rockstars social club. Let us know – let’s keep things connected ; )