As social games continue to pour onto Facebook, developers are looking for ways to make their offerings stand out from the competition. According to Big Splash Games’ Michael Thornton Wyman, the key to making your game “rise above the noise” is to create games that appeal to smaller, targeted audiences. For example, a cafe that serves nothing but desserts, or a farm where you only raise ponies.
This philosophy was explored in a recent Gamasutra article:
“Instead of creating games that appeal to a broader population — for instance, one that that’s highly generalized, like the wildly popular FarmVille or Diner Dash — [developers] seem to be targeting, say, connoisseurs of specific foods, like wine lovers in the Facebook game My Vineyard or chocolate aficionados in Chocolatier and its two sequels, the latest being Chocolatier: Decadence by Design.”
There are plenty of examples of this on Facebook, and not just with food. Playfish’s My Empire takes city building and puts a Greco-Roman spin on it, for instance, while PonyLand and Birdland are pet-raising games that target fanciers of a specific animal.
Games are always more interesting when they bring something new to the table instead of simply trying to clone whatever’s the most popular genre or theme of the day, so Wyman just might be on to something here.