FFD: Is “social” ruining videogames?

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FFDSocial

In this internet connected age, games have changed. Whether you’re playing a single-player opus or the latest military combat shooter, or the newest in city-spanning racers, your games are connected like never before – and bound together with one industry buzzword that’s pretty much taking over: Social.

Just about every new game is coming with some sort of social feature; Battlefield has the Battlelog, Need for Speed’s got Autolog – and Resident Evil 6 has an entire social platform, residentevil.net, launching alongside it. The new Sim City, fantastic  as it is, has the social features of the game so ingrained in to its single player, that you need a persistent internet connection just to play it.  Even  the recently released, decidedly single-player open-world game Sleeping Dogs has social integration built right in – allowing you to compare stats with friends.

Nintendo’s building social right in to its next console with MiiVerse – A Facebook-like service that gives players another platform to brag about their in-game achievements.

"We have reached an era where even a single-player game experience [can] have a social component that is very important," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata told  Kotaku. "And I think that social component is mandatory."

Do you think it’s mandatory? Do social components make games better – more fun and exciting, is it a mere distraction – or are they ruining videogames by shifting away from a focus on gameplay, to one of “shared experiences?” Personally, I want none of that stuff in my games. I don’t care how fast my friends drive their virtual cars, how far they’ve jumped or how many people they’ve killed by stabbing them in the toes; I just want to play games.

Last Updated: August 24, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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