Sunday, 13 June 2010

The poor usability of friends lists

Just read a great interview with John Vechey, Popcap co-founder. He has some great opinions about Facebook and friends lists:
I'm very pro-Facebook. I never want to make a friends list again... I hate making friends lists in games. Take League of Legends - I was playing for three weeks until I found out some of my friends had been playing!
The problems with friends lists as a concept include:
  • For some games you have to re-create the list each time
  • The need to know which of your friends to add - you've got to stay in contact externally to keep track of who's playing what
  • They involve the input of a complex string of characters (an email of series of numbers). This is less of an issue with a PC, but with consoles this turns into a real effort
Efforts have been made to reduce the pain for example using shared lists on the consoles and Steam, among others. But why bother at all? Most people have a ready made friends list in Facebook.
I've seen Blizzard is looking to get into Facebook - and it's not a moment too soon!

There are some provisos however:
  • The game must not spam/announce to all your friends on Facebook what you are doing, at least not by default (I'm sure several people don't want all their friends to know they're playing Dead Or Alive Paradise!)
  • The game should allow you to add other people the traditional method (many people aren't 'Facebook friends' with everyone they play games with) 
Further research would have to be done with gamers to find more provisos and the ideal behavior of a friends list when merged with Facebook.

The additional benefit of keeping track of achievements and progress, combined with player controlled (and I really mean player controlled) invitations would certainly help pull gamers together.

No comments:

Post a Comment