Click the Red Button
March 1, 2011 Leave a comment
The recent surge in the popularity of online games is hard to ignore. Firms like Zygna come out of nowhere to suddenly garner $7B+ valuations. Tightly integrated into Facebook and its community of 600M+ users, the game’s stickiness has many returning often for repeat visits.
However, the complexity and energy needed to play some of these games is a big turn off for many would-be players. This trend could change, however, with the advent of newer, more simpler games that achieve many of the social gaming objectives but without the complexity.
For example, Click the Red Button (www.clicktheredbutton.com) challenges players to click a simple red button as often as they can, and more than anyone else. It features a daily, weekly, monthly and all-time leaderboard. Players can join using their Facebook ID so no additional registration or sign up is required. A mobile-optimized version is also available allowing players to keep up while on the go. The game’s Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/clickredbutton) tweets out the hourly leaderboard, as well as the daily, weekly and monthly winners.
I reached the developer to ask his motivation for creating such a simple and straight forward game.
“A popular online game such as Farmville is deeply engaging, but also an enormous emotional and intellectual investment”, he says.
“We hope to achieve many of the same social and competitive features, but without all the elaborate overhead. We wanted to see if we could pique people’s interest in competing with their friends, but without having to sign up for the learning a complicated game. It should be an interesting online experiment.”
Aside from learning from the experiment, its not clear how profitable such a game could be, but by including non-intrusive online advertising, the game’s developers hope to draw a respectable level of traffic for monetization.
“Once we prove the concept, we’re going to expand quickly into other venues and platforms. An iPhone and Android version of the game is already in beta test, and generating modest ad revenue. We’re very encouraged by our early results.”
Gameplay peaks at the top of each hour when the hourly leaderboard is updated, as players jockey for the number one position. The developer hopes to include prizes or other incentives for reach the number one spot at the end of each day, week or month. Discussions are already in the works with potential partners on ways to make achieving the top of the leaderboard a worthwhile pursuit.
“Our goal is to give people a fun and engaging way to win, without necessarily being the best at anything in particular. Anyone can click a button, so in theory anyone can be a winner in this game.”
One might question the utility of a game that involves only pushing a button, but with the complexity of gameplay removed, only the competitive social gaming aspect remains, and the popularity of that remains to be seen. The game is clearly not challenging, but staying ahead of your friends could be an exciting pastime.
This is definitely one to watch to see if this trend toward simplicity continues…