Gaming News

Social Media Feeds in Games

Hello Everyone. Today I want to talk about the topic of Social Media Feeds in games, specifically GTA V, Spider-Man PS4 and Watch Dogs 2.

So in GTA V, using your in-game phone, the player can access a parody version of Facebook (Lifeinvader) and Twitter (Bleeter). Spider-Man PS4 has its version of Twitter you can access from the map.

I feel these are small but great additions more games should consider using.

Here are the positives:

-1 It provides an in-universe way to learn about characters and events and background info that aren't necessarily in focus. You can go onto Lifeinvader and see what Micheal's family have been up to and get more of an idea of their characters. And Unlike, say a codex, this is stuff in-universe so it feels more immersive and "real". As Spider-Man you can get a sense of how the city feels at this moment in the plot.

-2- It provides feedback for the players about their actions.

Play that mission where Micheal's family are attacked by Merriweather at his house and Micheal's house and Micheal kills them all? There's a bleet from his neighbour that talks that De Santa's movie night should really turn down the volume. Stop a crime as Spider-Man and you'll have a few tweets from people talking about this.

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I like this because it can serve as nice reminders of things the player has done, show the world is responsive and alive despite the simplistic nature of tweets. You can also go the other way with it. Hear rumours about a topic on a thread and you can go investigate it. Or news on say financial info and you can invest in GTA V stocks or whatever.

-3- It's a good time waster

On your way to a location or waiting for something? Why not check Social Media like you would in real life

-4- It's relatively cheap to implement. It doesn't take as many resources to make a collection of fake tweets and display them as time goes on than it does to say, make radio ads, in-universe podcasts etc.

Here are the negatives though.

-1- Most players are going to ignore it. I know that most people don't even know about Bleeter in GTA V. So the value gained through optional characterization and feedback can be minimal.

-2- It can break the immersion fast if not handled well. Watch Dogs 2 shows this by how its social media feed, ScoutX has comments unrelated to what's going on in the picture.

-3- You're limited by setting. Can't have medieval twitter in Skyrim.

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-4- Other methods may be more effective like the radio or characters actually have dialogue.

So what do you guys think?


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