social achievements

dead giveaway

social achievements

I’ve been studying up a lot on achievements and in-game trophies recently. XBL pioneered this area, but it hasn’t been adequately applied to social games IMHO.
Good post here from Matt Thompson on what Left4Dead can offer design wise for the social web.


facebook accounts and controlling your online ID

Ola, my facebook account has been blocked. In case you can’t read the image (trying to login from japan) it says “we decided to block your account. click here for more info”.


With so many people signing up each day, the false positives are basically collateral damage.

Before this happened I didn’t realize how important controlling your identity was. Facebook is aiming to be some type of identity provider with FB connect. OpenID and other federated standards at least allow you to control your identity independently, and authorize its use.

UPDATE: Facebook has become a relying party for openID. This is a big deal! Most openID supporters want to use openID to propagate their own proprietary login credentials. But a relying party means its a two-way street – you can use another site’s login to be the lynchpin for your facebook identity. This really does show how much faith FB has in openness.


opensocial playing field

OpenSocial seems to the ultimate “equalizer” in social platforms. But this piece is more about the endless battle between content and distribution, which is fought on every single media that comes along.

i spent a bunch of time back in the early 00s with a master of media, mr Robert Tercek. “aggregator is a dirty word” and “nobody wants to be portalized” are key lessons from Rob…
Parallelizing this media knowledge of the endless fight between content and distribution, he was also the first person i talked to who identified the container vs. provider tension that is current in today’s social app world.

What’s unique about the battle this time is that APIs can provide a common platform across many channels. At a superficial level this is like NTSC being glue between ABC and CBS. But in fact its more like running the same program on both networks,but the content-provider is the only one with access to the end-audience. In the grappling match the question is always, who has the bigger audience? If you can aggregate the networks, you win.. at some point the negotiation seesaw flips.

So given that OpenSocial levels the playing field and reduces service differentiation, which containers would adopt it? Generally, one would assume the underdog. “Less people will build apps for me alone, so I’ll adopt a standard and get more apps”. Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to be the case: market leaders (Bebo in europe, Mixi in Japan, Xiaonei in china, MySpace in the US) are all going opsoc.

My belief is that “social APIs” will migrate and be the *fabric* for internet experiences from now on. The coming of the “logged in internet”. EComm sites, news sites, blog portals – all stand to gain a lot from exposing social APIs.

In an OpenSocial world where the same APIs allow content to have wider distribution than any single silo, the power balance may shift back to the content provider.


第1回 OpenSocial勉強会@東京やりました!




面白法人カヤックの 吾郷さん、小俣さん
opensocial simple の説明といろいろ面白いサービス



PikkleのDC (隠している!)





via boingboing


User Generated Content (UGC/CGM) in social games

Most first gen-social games still seem to depend mainly on content pushed from the servers out. Here I’m going to look at a few examples of games that work the user-generated content into the game system.


In the game “Famous”, you can add your own fashion items. They’re checked before going public. Somehow, they charge you for the privilege of creating items, which seems in reverse from what you would want – this will de-motivate users to upload items.


Interestingly you can create both tasks and items; I guess they basically opened up their internal tools, allowing other users to create content just as the game’s authors were doing…

Pictograph has a whole editor built in that allows you to upload images and then draw on top of them. Super-cool. The items you create have a deeper meaning than the images – they are little word-puzzles. You can then challenge your friends to solve your puzzle, so the graphic material you uploaded becomes an intelligent game script to tease your friends with.

It’s a shame this mechanic doesn’t work in japanese!



Shufflebrain’s PhotoGrab allows you to turn any photo into a game by placing “hotspots” for your friends to find. It re-uses your existing facebook photo-albums.


their tools all have really nice clear tutorials to walk you through what to do.

What other games are out there that include user-media inside the game system?


第1回 OpenSocial勉強会@東京



場所:Pikkle株式会社 新宿オフィス
シミズビル 4F
TEL 03-3360-2007



  • 海外のソーシャルコンテンツやゲームのレビュー(DC)
  • OpenSocial海外/国内のAPIやcontainerの状況
  • バイラル機能の使い方
  • 1世代、次世代のopensocialアプリの特性や可能性
  • アプリのレビュー
  • ※追加したいことがあれば、是非コメントに追加してください。

参加したい人をコメントして、もしくは私宛にメールください。dc |at|

Comments (2)

yahoo design patterns

 No, its not a gardening site. This link is a nice overview (and neat icons too) for various design patterns that relate to social site design. Yahoo! still has some very smart people…  


[announce] PI is now an integer

So at least in japan, PI is now an integer: three, that is. Actually the japanese kanji for PI is poetry:
circle around ratio


Flash Content Provider – Open Source business plan!

Given the figures that there are now more flash devices outside Japan than inside I’ve been thinking about Pikkle’s overseas expansion.

Chatting things through with some of the other folks who have been breaking rocks trying to start a flashlite business gave me a good overview of some ideas. In the spirit of “a rising tide floats all boats” I thought I would throw open this thinking. What do you think is the best way to make a business out of mobile flash content?

Here are some options:

* mobile ad funded content
go for a purely ad-play. This really needs volume to make money, but there maybe some showcase deals around through an amobee or admob than has a client that wants to do a rich-media only promotion – probably more for the hype value than ROI. RedBull? Nike? Someone who wants to reach geeks – Sony Bravia?

* iPhone story
With openscreen i guess anyone can write a flashplayer for iphone – I heard theres one from barcelona that works well. So, just go after iPhone with flash content. But this would have to be fairly deep apps to sell through the apple store, and some odd hacks to get flash to play on the iPhone despite his Steveness’ will. Medium investment.

* focus on just 1,2 operators full-bore
on-deck route. There seem to be just verizon, and talk about telefonica and orange. Getting on verizon is a long-shot for an indie content provider. You could rent a helicopter in Vegas and try and fly them around town (true story).
Or go through aggregators, which will leave you with a slice of a slice. Long shot unless your uncle is Rupert.

* FlashCast
Verizon dashboard and CHT (taiwan)
focus on content for flashcast. this seems to be for little clips, weather etc. and not really a way to deliver meaty flash content, yet. Good if you’re a media company looking for another channel to push stuff down.

* Project Capuchin
Sony’s java wrapper for flash content. Should at least enable flash content to pass through the same channels as j2me content, so can use the operators same billing system. But only works on sony phones, and operators always insist on support for a wide range of handsets before they’ll let you on-deck…

* flash marketing apps
many flash developers seem to be workin on B2B projects for brands – drinks companies etc. Like the talented guys from BreakDesign, now setup shop in Singapore. this is a way to pay the bills and build up experience til the market arrives, but its not a scalable business.

* focus on something really unique
if you’re a one-man shop, you can create your own niche. even though flash-games maybe a bigger market, something unique means a smaller group of more passionate users may find their way to you. This all depends on your creative idea! A good PC to mobile messaging app could take off for example, or the next tamagochi…

* embedded deals

Since the handset guys need to differentiate there is always the chance to launch embedded apps, which are covered as part of the handset cost. Unless you are able to come up with some type of app that has carry on sales (eg you give away a flash game and sell levels), this is a simple one-off deal.

* work through other aggregators
there are a ton of channels, everywhere from taiwan to turkey selling off-deck content with SMS billing. If you have a catalog of offline playable content, this seems like the low-risk way to launch a business, but its more of a throw mud and see what sticks approach. But it’s jumping into a mosh-pit of other providers with the same idea, with low-barrier to entry.

* become an aggregator
combine with other content providers to produce a larger offering.
by having a larger catalog we can spread the costs of business development, and get more attention from operators. United Artists!
- aggregate a collection of flash games, screensavers, menus and other content.
- shared location expenses for european languages
However, even with scale, there aren’t many developed channels as yet.

* integrated portal

A full-flash portal around a brand may work if you can find money to gain a good license.  Flash is well-suited to screensavers, menus as well as games. Could be a lot of work, and supporting users who aren’t familiar with flash screensavers, and patchy implementations.

* handset maker channels
nokia, sony-eri have their own channels like Nokia Download. At least this gives you a targeted channel to reach users that can actually play flash content.
Can anyone with experience here say how big these channels are? What kind of price points? I like this approach as it seems you won’t have to deal with lots of accounts, even though the overall numbers maybe slow.

* desktop app with mobile billing
FMC (fixed-mobile convergence). Habbo hotel did this really well in their early days; using SMS as a billing channel, but playing the content on the desktop. Another benefit of this is you have a full-connection to your users on both desktop and mobile, and a billing connection, and can upgrade the mobile experience as more functions become available (or even persuade your users to upgrade their devices to a flash phone!). The billing can be off-deck through SMS aggs, or through official carrier deals. Build up an audience and you have a better chance of getting that Verizon or Voda deal.
This will take a lot of investment, but seems the high-risk, high-reward strategy. Throw in widgets and this is by far my favorite option.

I’ll see you all on Facebook!