What I want to see from Google+ Games:
(originally posted as a question on Google+, feel free to follow me there via the above link)
Default (as Plus already does) to SECURE connections – why Facebook games and apps can’t handle HTTPS is still somewhat of a mystery to me but it is a problem as more and more people use shared wifi connections.
Emphasize social games – truly social experiences This means far far more than reciprocal gift request/giving as is the model of most “social” games on Facebook today. Truly social games are ones that encourage players to interact, to cooperate or to compete – but also to talk with each other, to plot, to strategize and in short to interact – both within the context of the game and outside of the game.
Leverage circles and especially extended circles Games are a great use case for the Extended Circle concept, albeit it does make a presumption that your friend’s use circles in a somewhat similar manner as you do – so their extended circles represent people who might share interests including games. Possibly this should be further extended to a subset of the current Extended Circle – i.e. not the extended circle of ALL of my circles but ONLY the extended circles of SOME of my circles (i.e. in my case likely my FAMILY and FRIENDS circles, the ones that represent my closest friends, though possibly also my ACQUAINTANCES circle as in my case many of those people might also be online game players)
Open and creative API’s Make it easy for both small and large game companies to build for the platform including leveraging payments to make this a business not just fun (Payments being an area where Google hasn’t had as much success as Apple or Facebook). Offer LOTS of useful services for game developers – great integration into their player’s Google+ (without compromising security or privacy) but also business focused features such as rich integration of analytics from the beginning of the platform; integration into other aspects of Google such as Google’s advertising platforms – both within the game and advertising as a means to drive players to the games; rich features to aid game developers in making truly cross-platform games – specifically solving the problem the Flash heavy Facebook game community has with playing games via mobile platforms.
Rich and complex tools for game discovery This is something Facebook fails almost entirely at currently – having deprecated their App directory and offering only highly limited features to encourage app discovery and exploration. Instead they force developers to rely entirely on “viral” marketing or paid advertising, probably smart from a business perspective but not much fun for players simply looking for something fun to play or do. Discovery and search should, I would think, be among Google’s strongest additions to the social app market.
Encourage crossplatform explorations Obviously this should include cross-fertilizing the Android app markets with the likely new wave of companies likely eager to build for the Google+ market but this should also be open to iOS app developers, to existing Facebook (and other platform) social games and even game developers who build for platforms such as consoles or even Steam.
Integrate Hangouts into Games this could solve my desire for building truly social experiences. Imagine the possibilities of social interactions around playing a game with up to 10 other people while simultaneously having a video chat with them! I want to personally explore the potential to build some amazing and highly immersive RPG – in the D&D sense of that game type – which involve Hangouts but also rich applications. Hangouts which auto-invite the players of a given game to them could be amazing – especially if the UI integrates the game elements and the live video in a combined smart format – sharing a common game view with all the players while also showing each player their personal, private for their eyes only data for the game (i.e. think a card game where each player sees their cards but all the players see the table as well as each other’s faces – takes bluffing in an online poker game to an entirely new level)
What features are you looking for from Google+ Games?