Compare People – What Do You Think of Your Friends?

comparepeople

So how well do you know your friends? What do you think of them? What do they think of you? Perhaps such questions are a bit obtuse, but people are naturally curious and want to know (though some with more subtlety than others). However, Compare People on Facebook does just this.

Though the application calls itself a “game,” for all intents and purposes, it really isn’t one. It’s a web quiz. A good one, but a quiz all the same. Users are presented with yes or no questions about randomly selected friends on your Facebook account such as “Do you think X-Person has ever used a fake ID?” As you answer your responses are sent to the person in question and you deal with the repercussions as need be.

Once you have coaxed other friends into playing, you are also able to take a look at responses others have placed for you, thus granting a reflection towards yourself through the eyes of another. As such, the key element to Compare People is the human experience. It isn’t the app that’s interesting, it’s answers of the players themselves.

The biggest issue with Compare People, however, is that it notifies people with every answer, so unless it is turned off by them, it feels a bit “spammy” (apologies to all spammed during the review of this application). For some, this might not be a bother, but those are individuals that find themselves enveloped completely in social experiences and such gossip (for lack of a better term).

Nevertheless, if you can get other friends to play as well, the experience is actually quite enticing. To be able to view even a little insight into one’s self through another’s perspective is more than enough to warrant some play. So long as you don’t have a mob the size of a small country, and your friends will forgive a little spam.

Girls in Tech Holding Panel on Casual & Social Games Next Thursday

girlsintechGirls in Tech is hosting a panel on “The World of Casual Games” next Thursday, May 28, in San Francisco. Shervin Pishevar, CEO of SGN, Sharyn Efimoff, Director of Mobile Production at Zynga, Ada Chen, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Mochi Media, and Wally Nguyen, Director of Sales at Super Rewards, will be on hand to discuss current trends in the space.

“Women are a dominant force in casual games, making up 75% of the population that pays to play.  It’s no wonder that casual games have become so popular – they’re easy to play, provide a quick hit of fun, and are highly social and viral in nature,” says Tina Tran, organizer of the event.

For more details, check out the event info below. Look forward to seeing you there!

girlsintech-gamingpanel

Acclaim Partners with Peanut Labs to Monetize its MMORPGs

spellborn1After going through a time of significant transition a few years ago, game developer Acclaim was brought back to life by Howard Marks in 2006. Now, the company is the developer of popular MMORPGs like Chronicles of Spellborn and RockFREE. This week, the company announced an exclusive partnership with Peanut Labs Media to monetize its games through virtual currency.

Now, players can earn currency through participation in 5-10 minute market research surveys, which they can then use to purchase both in-game goods (such as power-ups) and premium features.

While surveys may sometimes seem daunting on their own, they’re actually becoming an increasingly popular way for younger demographics to earn virtual currency.

“Free surveys are perfect for our teenage players that might not have credit cards, and the user experience is better for players of all ages hands down,” Acclaim CEO Howard Marks said.

A large number of teenagers do purchase virtual goods worldwide, and those that do not own credit cards have been the target of recent efforts like the Rixty and Coinstar partnership and game cards in general. Moreover, the model is not too economically sensitive, as purchases are normally cheap and players are not required to purchase expensive subscriptions.

“Acclaim’s emphasis on putting their players first is a big part of how this partnership will lead the industry in sustainable monetization. We grew up with the Acclaim brand, so it’s exciting to be joining them on the cutting edge of online games,” said Murtaza Hussain, President of Peanut Labs.

Girl Wars on the iPhone is “Mobsters in Dresses”

girlwarsA few months ago, Addmired, a new start-up, brought its Facebook Mob Wars equivalent to the iPhone with iMob Online. In the months that followed, iPhone users downloaded the free, primarily text-based mafia Role Playing Game (RPG) in massive numbers. At its peak, it reached number four on the games charts.  However, like other Facebook social game developers, Addmired was not satisfied with just one type of RPG.

With the success of iMob and iVampires, Addmired began cloning the concept. The latest off-the-line?  Girl Wars.

Girl Wars can be summed up in three words: “Mobsters In Dresses.” As silly as that sounds, this game is iMob with bright and stimulating color schemes. Players earn cash, raise their “fashion,” shop for new items at the mall, and even get into “cat fights.” There is one main difference between Girl Wars and Addmired’s previous games: Users can unlock items much more quickly.

girlwarsmallWith a visual style that feels straight out of Claire’s Accessories, it’s unlikely more mature audiences will enjoy the game. While this means Addmired hit its target demographic for the game, a large portion of Girl Wars feels very cliché. More significantly, as pointed out by some commentators, “some women [might] find the game’s focus on clothing, malls, and ‘cat fights’ to be sexist.”

Of course there are similar concepts on Facebook and MySpace. User ratings of Girl Wars on the iPhone have ranged to the extremes. Most reviewers either found it terrible or really good (with a preference given slightly more to the latter).

SGN Bringing Dogfighting to the iPhone

dogfightWe have seen the lengths to which SGN has exploited the power of the iPhone with its hit titles of iBowl, iGolf, and its other Wii-like sports titles, but from the looks of things, the social developer is taking its iPhone games to a new visual level.

The last major titles from SGN, Mafia: Respect and Retaliation and Agency Wars, were within a familiar space of simple images and text-based, RPG game play. However, the company recently showed a preview of a new (and as of yet untitled) fully 3D dogfighting game to be released later this year.

This isn’t the first in the genre for the iPhone (i.e. Top Gun), but it does have a level of polish way ahead of existing apps. Unlike so many other iPhone titles, the unnamed dogfight game makes full use of the touch screen and accelerometer, using them to completely control the movements of your jet. Remember those people that used to move with the controller as they played games? You even evade missiles by shaking the phone!

As it stands, the game is still a month or so from launch, and is expected to have premium options and upgrades, training modes, and more levels. We’re guessing that the game will, at least at some point, be integrated with Facebook Connect and allow live social gaming too.

Check out the following game play video via TechCrunch.

Playdom Launches Poker Palace on hi5, Integrates hi5 Coins

playdomhi5 announced today that Playdom has launched its popular Poker Palace game on the hi5 Platform. Poker Palace is also the second major game to incorporate the social network’s virtual currency, hi5 Coins, into game play. RockYou was the first to announce integration with hi5 Coins last week with RockYou Pets.

Playdom’s Poker Palace ranks 12th and 22n respectively on the MySpace and Facebook gaming charts. Players will be able to find Poker Palace on the hi5 Games page, and users purchase of poker chips using the site’s variety of payment methods.

According to Playdom CEO and co-founder Dan Yue, the company hopes to monetize hi5’s worldwide user base. “In addition to leveraging hi5’s virtual currency,” says Yue, “we gain prominent placement in the hi5 Games channel and hooks into hi5’s viral marketing system.”

hi5 says that the use of hi5 Coins has increased rapidly since their launch last December. This is hardly a surprise, consider hi5 has been trying hard to make acquisition of its virtual currency as convenient as possible through partners such as Paymo and Playspan (mobile payments and game cards).

“Direct user transactions are central to our social entertainment strategy, and Poker Palace provides a logical monetization hook with integration to hi5Coins,” says Ramu Yalamanchi, founder and chief product officer of hi5. “[It is something] every major social network is talking about… but we are doing it today.”

While the details are still unannounced, hi5 has stated that it is working with more game development partners and that Playdom will be bringing other popular titles into the hi5 fold.

Maybe we’ll be seeing some Mob titles soon?

Some Social Games Have Facebook Pages With Over a Million Fans

While Mafia Wars and Texas Hold’em may be two of the most popular applications on the Facebook Platform, their Facebook Pages are also getting a lot of traffic, too.

In fact, Mafia Wars has over 1.6 million fans and Texas Hold’em Poker has 1.2 million, according to PageData. Not surprisingly, the total number of fans is steadily increasing for the two social gaming Pages, as each are adding about 150,000 fans per week.

texas-holdem-status-update

Promoting social gaming applications may not be the first thing you think of when seeing how Facebook Pages are most often used. While most Facebook Pages are used by advertisers to market their brands, the main purpose of public profiles like Mafia Wars’s and Texas Hold’Em’s is to drive traffic to gaming applications (app developers can also publish updates from their application’s about page in the upcoming redesign of the Facebook application directory). Compare this to advertisers whose goal may be to drive traffic away from Facebook to their own websites.

>> Read More at Inside Facebook…

Leaf Trombone is an “MMMG” that’s Turning iPhones to Brass Worldwide

leaf tromboneWhen done well, rhythm games can be one of the most addictive types of entertainment around. They allow for the realization of something one may not normally be able to do (like Guitar Hero, for example). Disregarding the prospect of becoming a rock star for a moment, there is something gratifying about creating music (just look at the popularity of the Tap Tap games), and even more to be said from showing off that music.

A little less than a month ago, iPhone developer Smule took its music games to a whole new level. With hit title Ocarina under their belt, the company has stepped up the tempo with a new application, Leaf Trombone: World Stage.

Play is fairly simple. Like a trombone, players blow into the microphone (though this option can be turned off) and slide their fingers along the leaf to play songs from the game‘s library. Already, the game has incorporated the tactile sense of immersion that enhances the experience ten-fold. However, the game still takes a turn for the better.

leaf judgesWhile one can practice alone if they desire, the most popular feature is to perform on the “World Stage.” Through this, the developers have dubbed the title a “massively multiplayer musical game” (“MMMG”). Though this terminology is highly debatable, the fact remains that you can perform in front of a panel of judges that can hail from anywhere in the world. These judges, in turn, can rate your performance with brief messages and emoticons that will eventually lead to digital fame and fortune (okay, not really).

Leaf also comes with the ability to play user-generated content. Though this is a bit more for the musically talented and opens the door to the inevitable… ahem… “bad” content, it does provide with a means to add to game play without the direct intervention of the developers. Music is written with a separate web application called the Composer. This tool comes directly from the Smule website and allows new scores uploaded to your iPhone. And though there will always be and abundant amount of poor content, there will also be a number of gems, some original, some not, littered amongst it such as these:

Thus far the game is doing well, as Smule states that the number of performances have reached numbers well above 100,000, and in less than two weeks after release had more user created content (approximately 1,500) than its Ocarina title. In fact, the company also reports Leaf to have reached the Top 10 in 13 different App Stores worldwide, including the US, France, Portugal, Germany, and the UK.

Twitter – Now With Dating?

twitterlogoTo those on the outside, Twitter is a free social network and micro-blogging service used for online communication and sharing. To those on the inside, however, it is a whole new way of life – and one that can be very time consuming. Users write tweets, play new Twitter games, and follow thousands of people, celebrities, and companies. Consequently, the site has evolved into the Web’s new hotspot for social interaction.

As Twitter chips away at your time 140 characters at a time, developers have been finding new and interesting ways to exploit this limitation into short — but effective — applications. The latest trend to hit big on this social platform came as a surprise to ISG: The emergence of dating applications for Twitter.

There are three applications of particular interest that come up when talking about “Twitterdating:” bubble, Twitcrush, and Radaroo. Each one takes a slightly different approach to this online dating trend.

Bubble

Bubble, by @twitbubble, is perhaps the most curious of the three, since it’s invitation only. Although it’s not like trying to get into the hottest downtown nightclub, you do have to enter your email address and await your digital invitation to use Bubble.

The wait seems to be worth it, however. While it is no Match.com or eHarmony, Bubble attempts to help you match up with someone based on your tweets, friends, and followers, making it what Online Dating Insider dubs a “semantic dating engine.”

Twitcrush

Twitcrush from @missburrows helps break the ice, too. While it doesn’t locate people for you or match you up with anyone, it enables harmless flirting. In its cutesy fashion, Twitcrush lets you declare a crush on “three tweeple [you] <3 most.” And, of course, you can always find out who has a Twitcrush on you, too.

Radaroo

radaroo tweet example

Finally, there is Radaroo. Similar to Bubble, this application has a semi-matchmaking feature based around its “profile” setup. Users send a tweet to @radaroo with their sex, location, and what they would like to do on a first date. This tweet serves as an example: “!FM, 90210, sushi, beach, movie, star wars convention.” The app then lets you search for singles that have sent a tweet based on your country or area code.

Are you going to find the love of your life on a Twitter dating app? Probably not. But they are interesting for some casual flirting and light dating.

Pet Society Expands to PetSociety.com with Facebook Connect

petsocietysitePet Society, the addictive virtual world of fluffy animal, is one that Playfish has always kept in motion. The denizens of the game experience everything from the daily running of track races to the trading and gifting of furniture and clothing.

While Playfish has added new shops, rewards, and rooms for Pet Society users, its latest addition doesn’t actually appear inside Facebook – it’s on the “public” web. Now that the Facebook version of the game has grown to nearly 11 million monthly users, Pet Society has expanded its reach beyond the Facebook platform with its new website, PetSociety.com.

Using Facebook Connect, visitors can play directly from the site. It’s one of the smoothest implementations of Facebook Connect we’ve seen, allowing users to play the same version of the game in a simple popup. The site also has links to Playfish forums, downloads, links and videos submitted by fans. While the videos might seem strange, it shows us what is beyond those fuzzy, cartoon critters in hats.

PetSociety.com also shows visitors everything they would want to know about the game, such as an informational web version of the virtual world’s town. The site updates users on the latest gifts or weekly drawings. It also provides free newsletters and Pet Society merchandise. If you are a frequent player of Pet Society, this site is worth a bookmark.

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