As I have been diving in to Facebook games, I discovered that in order to succeed in the games I had to add strangers to my friends list. Â Unfortunately, this has a side effect that is quite bad. Â As Facebook has become more popular and the use of Facebook Connect and other APIs has grown, my Facebook friend list travels with me lots of place. Â I don’t mind my real friends following me around, but game strangers who I only added because I needed more people to advance in a game since no more of my real friends would play I don’t want them around.
Last year I bought a Palm Pre. Â Best phone I’ve ever owned or used, absolutely love it. Â One of its best features is Synergy, which is what they call the blending of profiles without syncing them. Â So, I added my Gmail account, my Facebook, my AIM, my work Exchange account, and so on, and when I look at my contacts it shows them all, in one view, duplicates are combined into a single entry but not sync’d. Â For example, I have my older brother as a friend on Facebook, a contact on AIM and an entry in Gmail. Â In the Pre, I see his picture with a small subscript 3 telling me that this entry is a blending of three accounts. Â If he updates his Facebook profile, that will automatically update in my phone, but items in his Gmail contact entry only change when I update them.
Combining my Pre with my recent use of Facebook games and suddenly I had dozens of people in my phone, with phone numbers, whom I don’t know. Â This is the side effect, and this is why I removed all those people as friends on Facebook. Â Going forward, playing games on Facebook is going to be harder, slower.
The failure of most Facebook games is this: you have to choose, sacrifice social for games or sacrifice games for social. Â That’s a horrid dilemma for a social gaming platform. Â Facebook needs a way for people to be game-friends that links them for the game but for nothing else, and gives people the option of allowing that relationship to grow and step outside the game. Â Until that happens, I choose Facebook as a social platform, not a gaming one.
Additional Note: I have noticed that in some games you can get what I am calling “former friend benefits”. Â Taking Hero World as an example, once I add a person to my Super Team, I can remove them from my friend list but my team size doesn’t decrease. While this prevents me from using them actively in the game (training, gifts, etc), I can still use them passively (my super team is currently 37 people, even though I only have 8 or so that are on my friend list) for content that requires team sizes of a certain level.