Getting the word out is vital for the success of a social games, and many use Facebook as both a publishing and advertising medium. However, Mike Hogan, THQ’s vice president of Online Publishing and Operations, does not consider Facebook to be the be all and end all for social game makers.
“If you’re going to spend money on a [social] game, marketing is now the big driver to success,” said Hogan. “I don’t know that you really want to spend it marketing on Facebook, because then you’re really just building Facebook. It seems like another way of looking at it would be to have these games that aren’t necessarily tied to Facebook, or maybe they use Facebook Connect instead or something like that. Then the marketing dollar that you spend, you can actually use to build your own business and not somebody else’s.”
When asked about Facebook Credits, Hogan responded, “They’re real, they’re out there, people are using them [and] it’d foolish to not at least consider using them. But I don’t think it’s the only way. It’s really just a form of payment, right, so you have to offer to the consumer multiple payment methods so that it’s easy for them to spend money. And Facebook Credits is just one way of doing that.”
While many of the largest Facebook games are new IPs unto themselves, Hogan asserted they could drive outside brands. “There’s a couple of reasons why you might do a Facebook game, and one is to have it stand alone and be profitable and generate revenue, and another one is to have it complement a game that’s already out there, said Hogan. So a Facebook game could easily be just a marketing tool as well. Quite likely it’s going to be some combination of revenue producing venture and something’s that going to try to build brand awareness and bring people into… the core game.”