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New MMOSG: Sociotown


A new MMOSG (that's Massively Multiplayer Online Social Game, which I don't recall seeing before, but sure, why not?) has sprung up, and it's called Sociotown. Now, not to knock something before it's even been released, but when I hear 'socio-' anything, I immediately think sociopath. And that's not the image you want to send across for a virtual world.

Regardless, from looking at the latest footage, there are a few things I need to comment on. Won't you follow along with me?

First of all, point-and-click movement is awkward. I've never liked it, despite the fun to be had in Diablo and Mythos, and prefer WASD movement. Second of all, the look of this world is similar to a lot of other similar social spaces, so no innovation there. Third, there is some interest in not being able to immediately see another person's name, forcing you to introduce yourself to him/her. Fourth, 'Socio dollars' is just more awkwardness -- why not SoBucks?

Fifth, I like the little changing booth. Sixth, I'm not seeing a ton of avatar customization, which is, by now, a must-have element in any social world. Seventh, "Get away from that prisoner. He is extremely dangerous. You there boy, click on me." What the ... ? Is this Oz: the Game?

Eighth, I know that these new ways of graphing social networks are all the 2.0 rage, but it's always seemed more like doing homework than fun in and of itself. But now you can do it in your virtual worlds, too. Ninth, 'mental notes' are a good thing. Second Life has a Notes field into which you can put things to remember, too, but calling them 'mental notes' is cute.

Tenth, the notion of musical instruments that can actually be played is nothing new, certainly, but I like the idea of a spontaneous jam session, dependent only on your owning an instrument, rather than the music being location-based. However, eleventh, I hope that we're seeing only a default dance, 'cause oh man, that's gotta go. I can't even imagine the kind of tune that would match up to the awkward movement of those steps.

This is likely still early, so I'm hoping these things will be ironed out, or I don't see this doing terribly well. There are already so many social games out there that newer titles have to do a lot just to match up, much less pull ahead. Offer us some innovation, even just one amazing thing that none of the others have, or see your market share eaten up by already-established spaces like Habbo Hotel and Cyworld.

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