In the hubub around Fred Wilson’s comments on Twitter apps as opposed to Twitter features, investors often ask, “could Twitter be a good game platform?” Twitter has three features which make it worth considering as a gaming platform:
- Size: Twitter is big, it’s mass and even if a small percentage of people played, it’s still millions of people
- Social Graph: Games can be built on social relationships already delineated by users thus enabling viral spread and collaborative play
- Daily usage: Users who are active check twitter daily and probably several times a day, making Facebook style games possible
But for now, Twitter is a pretty poor gaming platform and I don’t know of any developers building games for it.
There’s no private space on Twitter to play. Everything I do is published to the feed because the feed is effectively all the app is. That means I don’t play in private and share in public. On Twitter, everything I do is seen by everyone, creating not only too much sharing but too much noise for my followers. That’s why to date, users share achievements on Twitter for a game – but the game is played elsewhere.
There is no “app platform” for Twitter. Games on Twitter need to use Twitter to support them but right now, any game is virtually indistinguishable from anything else I might do on Twitter.
Twitter is not visual. Unless we’re hearkening back to the land of text based adventure games, making a game with just words and no images is limiting and boring.
In some ways though, the Twitter service is young in its development as compared to Facebook. Take away wall posts, the first minifeed and the app platform and games would not have made sense for Facebook either.
If Twitter is serious about games and about apps, it has to restart with a rewrite of the visual interface I see on Twitter.com. If what I saw instead was something column like, like Tweetdeck, with Twit Pic built in, and “apps” such as games were segregated from the main feed, we could begin to understand how there might one day be games on Twitter.
The ultimate hurdle though, and one that won’t change, is the fidelity of the social graph on Twitter. Unlike Facebook, where I know all my friends, on Twitter I might follow a musician (P. Diddy), and athlete (DeSean Jackson), a tech guy (Robert Scoble) and my investor (Bijan Sabet). I have a hard time believing they would all pitch in to help me on my farm.
Dan Porter is CEO of fun games site www.omgpop.com. He is also an investor in songkick, producteev, linguabyte and socialflow. You can follow him on twitter at @tfadp and find him at www.danporter.org
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