Facebook users know how it can be. You log in and notice you have a huge number of notifications. You find yourself dismayed as it becomes apparent that most of them are just app notification spam. You know the sort: so-and-so just answered a question about you, or what’s-his-face wants your help in Mafia Wars. Well, hopefully you won’t see quite so much of that anymore now that Facebook has ended support for the ‘notifications.send’ API.
We’re happy to see Facebook take even a small step to keep the service usable. Sure, developers may not like this so much, but Facebook did just give them the ability to request user email addresses for notification purposes. They also have the new games dashboard to play with. It is currently unclear how this will affect the newsfeed. Currently, we are still seeing a few app posts in it, and we wouldn’t mind if that went away.
Overall, this is a good move by Facebook. Even with the massive success Facebook is enjoying, they have to pay attention to the experience of users lest they become the next MySpace. Just think, that would have sounded like a good thing three or four years ago. Internet people are fickle.
"Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, Fable 2... uh, LittleBigPlanet," I nonchalantly listed, sliding my scroll bar up and down a ludicrously large list of games that'll begin hogging shelf space next week. Instantly, a deafening shout of "OH! LittleBigPlanet!" flew straight and true, right into my unsuspecting ears, from the other side of a view-obscuring television. "You're so buying LittleBigPlanet!" My friend's voice continued, registering at somewhere around War-crime on the decibel scale.
Yeah, LittleBigPlanet's kind of a big deal around the gaming scene's more console-y bits, but what's it mean for PC gamers? Well, in these parts it's not quite a revolution, but it's pretty damn close.
Over the past couple years, "user-created content" has crept onto many game developers' billowing lists of PR-friendly buzz words, and with good reason. Whether it's Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's character creation system or Spore's, well, everything, people love to spill their creative frustrations onto videogaming's canvas. (And drawing new Mega Man levels on graph paper is so nineties.)
Now stop! Take your finger off the scroll wheel; the comments section isn't going anywhere. Yes, PC gaming gospel states that we must fling ourselves into Internet forums, kissing the ground, and praising mods -- and games like Oblivion and Spore did not invent user-created content -- but guess what? Mods are old news, no matter how crazy-awesome they might potentially be.
Why? Consoles. Consoles. Consoles. Like it or not, aside from a few shining examples, game design has parked its heart in simpler interfaces and ease-of-use. PC gaming, its cash cow now six feet under for a number of reasons, simply isn't worth the effort these days. As a result, real mod support -- sloppily attempted in only a single console game -- watched its bungee cord snap as it plummeted right off developers' priority lists. After all, mod tools don't just appear out of thin air; they siphon extra time and cash away from other areas of development. When simple user-creation tools can offer a menagerie of similar (but less versatile) powers to a wider range of people, mod tools sadly get kicked to the curb.
Continue reading to find out why this trend might not be as awful as it sounds.