February 27, 2008 |
With all the hype about social gaming lately, there has been a gaping hole in the player roster; companies like Zynga seem to be everywhere, but the Web 1.0 companies like PopCap and Pogo have been visibly absent. Electronic Arts, however, is creeping onto social networks, with an under-the-radar release Monday of a Facebook application, widget, and embeddable game for their Pogo platform.
Unfortunately, EA is still not getting the whole social networking idea. The application allows Club Pogo members (those who pay the membership fee for the premium content) to showcase their avatar (called a mini), point total (called tokens), and includes links back to Pogo's most popular games as well as Pogo's site news, with the top link being (of course) a sale price on a membership. The widget has a jumble-of-the-day version of the popular Pogo word game Word Whomp, and the game is a scaled-down version of the puzzle game Poppit.
Pogo's apparent view, however, is that Facebook can be used to advertise the site, but all their application does is advertise their site, which uses a freemium model: club members pay a fee for additional content, while free members play on an ad-supported model. The real question is why they didn't go ahead and roll some of that technology out on the Facebook platform. They already have advertisers, and I'm sure those advertisers would love to have the combination punch of the Pogo brand with viral success of other Facebook games. Instead, they build an app that is essentially an advertisement in itself, taking no advantage of the social network. Wouldn't it make MORE sense to roll out some of the games on the freemium model, and as Club Pogo members started putting out the word on Facebook, advertising the premium content via word-of-mouth? I'm not sure my cute little avatar and token count will lure in droves of new members.