I love video games. You probably do to. I'll play video games on anything I can get my hands on. I might have preferences in regards to systems or games I play, but in the absence of my preferred setup, I'll play whatever is available. Besides actual game playing systems, I've played games on everything from a Texas Instrument calculator to the computer in the doctor's office. Hey, what can I say...he was taking a long time and I love me some Free Cell. I don't judge people by the game they play or the system they play it on. I only tell you all of this so when I talk about the fact I play games we often label as "social games" you understand where I'm coming from - they're not my preferred game, but I do play them.

Even though I play a few of these social games, I'm a little alarmed by a trend that seems to be brewing with them - they are invading our privacy and diminishing our online gaming personalities.

Now, I can only speak for myself and these are my issues. You might be okay with it, or simply tolerate it or heck...even prefer it...but I don't. I am not really a fan of it.

I like being a gamer and I like having an online gaming personality. I like being "Saint" and have been for more than a decade now. It's not that I need the anonymity associated with being a gamer, but sometimes there are advantages to keeping your real life and your gamer life separate. For example, would you be okay if the Playstation Network or Xbox Live revealed your real identity to everybody you played with online, regardless of whether they're on your friends list or not? I know I wouldn't. Have you ever had someone say, "Hey I noticed you were up late playing Farmville last night and was wondering blah blah blah..." Are you kidding me, you really knew I was up late playing Farmville? That's only a little creepy.

Social games take a unique approach. They want to link to your Facebook and your Twitter account so you can annoy all your friends with those constant updates about your progress. These updates are often posted to your timeline and your scores are compared with the people on your friend list. That's part of the socializing. The games encourage you to do this and even have incentives to persuade you to do this. Yes, I agree it can be kind of a neat feature, and part of me likes it...but if this trend continues not only will we witness a merger between our real and gamer personalities, we're going lose some of our privacy in the process.

Nearly every new social game I've played recently requires some sort of a log-in or account to access the game, regardless of whether you just want to play alone or not. And yes, most of these also include the option to link your social media accounts with it. Some make it even easier, just log in the game using your pre-existing profiles. Of course some games will let you play them without going through all of this hassle, but you don't reap all the benefits of those who do.

One solution seems easy - create an alias Facebook, Twitter or whatever account. Too easy, right? Wrong. The problem with this approach is it kind of defeats the purpose. Yes, you can log in and play, but if you want to do the socializing part, you either have to use your real account or add all of your family and friends to your fake account. Yeah, right...who wants to do that?

Now, if you don't play social games, you have nothing to worry about, right?


The integration between video games and social media continues to evolve and expand. We have games that have companion apps for your smart phone and/or tablet...and we have games that interface directly with the major social media apps.

I'm all for innovation and creativity, but when it comes at the cost of privacy or at the expense of losing my online gamer presence I'm not so sure it's worth it. If the revised online services with the next generation of consoles does away with gamertags and has you sign in and link your account with Facebook, that might just be the end of it. Of course I don't really think that'll happen, but it is something I wonder about after seeing so many social media apps and games lean in that direction.

In other news...

I know this blog is a bit shorter than my normal...and it seems a little random, but tomorrow is kind of a big day and I'm a little anxious and excited, so it's hard to focus, heh heh. I can't say much yet, because honestly I haven't quite figured out how to, but I will soon.

Until then...

Good games.