Social games and Facebook in Brazil and Latin America
By Raquel Recuero via DMLcentral
A recent post from Inside Facebook has shown that Facebook is growing fast in Latin America, and a large part of this growth is happening in Brazil (33 percent each month, according to the same set of data). Interestingly, other news pieces about research from institutes such as Ibope (link is in Portuguese) have also shown that social games are increasingly popular in the country, especially among young adults. One hypothesis researchers here have is that Facebook growth has spiked partially because of the burgeoning popularity of the social network’s apps, especially the games.
Social games in Facebook are usually casual games in the sense that they allow users to play intermittently, not requiring too much of a time investment; and they are social because they allow users to compete against themselves and others so they can interact with their networks. This type of game is not only directed to leisure, but also to sharing, creating and maintaining social ties. Three games are strikingly popular for Facebook Brazilian users: FarmVille, Mafia Wars and Café World. In FarmVille, users are required to create and maintain a farm. Although the focus is in leveling up and acquiring a variety of buildings and seeds to plant, part of the game is strongly connected to exchanging gifts and making moves within your social network. Mafia Wars is more of a role-playing game, where the user is supposed to create a character and tries to improve by gaining power, properties and money within her/his “mafia.” Although the game doesn’t incorporate that many social tools, the communities that emerge around it are strong motivations for groups to maintain ties and to keep the fun going. Cafe World gives users the opportunity to own and operate an online cafe and attract as many “customers” as possible.