Game-specific social networks are all the rage right now, with Call of Duty Elite, Blizzard's Battle.net, and BF3's Battlelog leading the charge, to name a few. But are they here to stay, or will they be in social network heaven making angsty MySpace posts about their failures before too much longer? Activision, naturally, doesn't even doubt for a second that it's the former. VP of digital Jamie Berger didn't stop there, though. He claimed that future blockbuster games will go the way of Blockbuster if they don't hop aboard the social bandwagon.
“We believe that a 24/7, year-round services strategy that broadens the game experience beyond just playing is going to be a necessity,” Berger said in an interview with
. “Right now, it's an option but in three to five years, it won't be. To support a diverse player base, you will have to have a services and ongoing content strategy. I don't see how games are going to manage without that."
“Elite is about Call of Duty being bigger than ever five years from now and laying the groundwork for that.”
And certainly, I think he's onto
. I mean, social networking sort of rules our lives now. We live in a constantly connected world, and ignoring that would be like continuing to nonchalantly watch TV while a stampede of elephants charges through your living room.
That said, I for one am not sold on the idea that we need a billion
social networks. It's already getting hard to keep track of EA and Activision's multifarious plans to milk this cash cow for all its worth, so what happens when everyone's doing it? Platforms like Steam do an excellent job of conveniently bringing gamers together. Why has it suddenly become a good idea to force us apart?