You've been logged out of GDC Vault since the maximum users allowed for this account has been reached. To access Members Only content on GDC Vault, please log out of GDC Vault from the computer which last accessed this account.

Click here to find out about GDC Vault Membership options for more users.


Session Name:

What Really Makes Social Games "Social"? Demystifying Social Mechanics in Online Multiplayer Games, from MMOs to Farming Sims


"Social games" is an often heard buzzword, originally used to refer to casual games on Facebook. But as gaming platforms become increasingly online and mobile, multiplayer social interactions become increasingly integral to engaging and monetarily successful experiences. Understanding social mechanics and how they affect business and user goals is critical for today's game designers, producers and PMs.

This talk will explore three useful heuristics for understanding social mechanics in free-to-play online games: synchronous/asynchronous, symmetrical/asymmetrical and strong tie/weak tie interactions. Numerous examples of each will be provided to illustrate the effect of these mechanics on player acquisition, retention and monetization.

The talk will conclude with a case study analysis of the Facebook game Kingdoms of Camelot, applying these heuristics to the social mechanics featured in the game. Attendees will leave the talk with a new set of tools for analyzing and implementing great social features.

Did you know free users get access to 30% of content from the last 2 years?

Get your team full access to the most up to date GDC content

  • GDC 2012
  • Matthew Ricchetti
  • Kabam
  • free content
  • Game Design
  • Design