EA and Social Media

Electronic Arts, one of the largest console and PC game studios, recently announced the acquisition of Playfish for $300 million. The same day, EA announced that it would be laying off over 1500 employees and cutting a dozen new game titles in development in an effort to save $100 million annually.

This seems to suggest that EA believes the future of gaming to lie more in the future of social networking than console and PC gaming. After all, Zynga (the creator of Mafia Wars and Farmville) and Playdom (the creator of Mobsters and Sorority Life) bring in millions of dollars, despite recent debates over the ethicality of their business practices. But this idea is interesting in light of our recent discussions on Twitter fiction and the prospect of the literary shift toward the oral tradition.

Manu of our narrative forms seem interested in social interaction. Of course, online social gaming has existed in MMOGs for a decade, but the prospect of gaming moving to social networks opens up possibilities of mass-authorship, social inter-dependence and levels of immersion that could blur the line between role-playing and reality. A look at alternate reality gaming shows how some of this is already underway, but with huge gaming corporations focusing on social media, it will be interesting to see whether Facebook games will be emerge from their current spam-scam doldrums.