Social network games have become big business. Market leader Zynga (Farmville, Cityville) reaches 250 million unique players per month generating yearly revenue of over US$ 800 million. But there are also smaller companies targeting the social games market who differentiate themselves by bringing innovative products to a market where most games resemble each other. Hot Rod Racer by GriN multimedia with support from IBBT-MICT radically changes the playing field by introducing 3D multiplayer racing to Facebook.
Hot rods were and still are a popular phenomenon that found its origins in the United States. Hot Rods are typically American cars with modified engines to increase the speed level in a short period of time. Hot rod cars are an important part of the rockabilly and pinup subcultures. Hot Rod Racer brings this retro atmosphere to life in modern media platforms by allowing players to challenge their Facebook friends for an old school Hot Rod Race, earn a diversity of cars and modify and pimp their collection of Hot Rods.
What distinguishes Hot Rod Racer from other games is its asynchronous game play. When one player challenges another, their race is recorded and kept until the other players come online and drive their race against the‘shadows’ of the other players. This is ideal for a context such as Facebook where users are not necessarily online at the same moment. Moreover, when every participant has finished their race, it can be‘replayed’ including all contestants’ cars, which adds a fun and competitive extra element to the social game.‘Turn-based multiplayer games are a perfect format to be played on Facebook, making it possible to challenge a friend at any place and time.’ says Wim Wouters of GriN. Hot Rod Racer also distinguishes itself by integrating a truly three-dimensional experience to social network games. The latter so far typically used two-dimensional or pseudo three-dimensional graphics.‘This gives gamers who appreciate three-dimensional graphics in games the opportunity to play games on Facebook’ says Wouters.
Attracting new profiles
All these elements make it possible to attract new profiles to the social network gaming scene. Games on social network sites tend to attract casual gamers who would not label themselves as‘true gamers’. Casual gamers tend to play as a pastime, to fill empty gaps in a day or as a micro-break, making graphics, multiplay and challenge less important. By integrating these elements, Hot Rod Racer will give more experienced gamers an opportunity to also take part in the social network gaming scene and find something that suits them better than the average casual social network game.
Hot Rod Racer is a Belgian product created by game design company? GriN?(Antwerp) with the co-operation of graphic designer Sam Dams, better known as? Kustom.?The music used in Hot Rod Racer was created by the surf band Speedball Jr. from Ghent.? IBBT-MICT, which is associated with Ghent University carried out research during development to evaluate and improve the game to meet the needs of the players.‘ It is easy to copy games, but in order to develop new types of games and to make them successful, one needs to work together with the target audience.’?says Dr. Jan Van Looy, researcher at Ghent University.
The game is available for free at? apps.FaceBook.com/hotrodracer