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May 7, 2010

Sony launch major Facebook game The Agency

soe_agency_fb_game.jpg

If you're bored of your farm on Farmville or don't want to feed animals, run a hotel, dig for treasure or any of the usual Facebook game fodder you can now become a secret agent in a new game call The Agency: Secret Ops from Sony Online Entertainment. Launched just days ago in the lead up to "The Agency" which is their new spy based MMO (think World of Warcraft but with a James Bond setting) that as of yet does not have a release date. Not to be confused with EA's APB game which is an MMO with a cops and robbers setting.

Now rather than explain the feature their "trailer" does all this for me. First off you'll notice is that Sony have put a lot of work/money/time into this.

Here is a video from Mashable with an interview with the development team.

Here's what Kotaku and Mashable have to say about it.

What I liked
- The look and feel. Compared to more static Facebook games of this kind it is dynamic and fun. Compare this to the very popular Dante's Inferno game which at one time clocked up over 8 million players.
- The mini games break up the "click to do X" repetitiveness but you'll easily get sick of the "find an item" game and "word scramble" (which for me had the unfortunate big of choose a rather nasty 4 letter word on my first go. And no not that 4 letter word... another one)
- The deep gameplay: There are 6 locations and I'm 2 days in and haven't touched the surface of location 1. There are so many elements to the game (weapons, agents, general missions) so for those who are playing constantly it's enough to keep you interested for weeks.
- The integration with friends is simple and actually makes the game better. By adding friends you can use them in your group missions.

What I didn't like
- This is less of a promotional game and more a money spinner for Sony. There is a heavy push for their SC dollars and thus your progress is haltered along the way as you are pushed to buy credits.
- When you have no "cover" to make any moves the game gives you nothing to do but move around furniture. A few simple training missions or really anything to fill the time would have been nice.
- Why did this have to be in Facebook? Why not just use Facebook Connect/Open Graph and have the app live outside?
- The customize HQ. This just seemed like a waste of time. The amount of work that went into it is quite amazing though.

Here's my HQ with all the essentials.

soe_agency_fb_game2.jpg

Overall
It'll be interesting to see how this goes. This really raises the bar for other companies who are serious about "wanting their own Farmville".

I followed the Dante's Inferno app a little and it did amazingly well, even reported to have contributed directly to 2% of game sales. Source I wonder if this will have the same success?

Inside Social games has a great in-depth review of the The Agency: Covert Ops which also highlights Sony's first FB game Poxnora. Sony, it seems, is not just dabbling in this area but focussed.

It was interesting to see the comparison with Playfish's (owned by EA) Ganster City. I had not played it before but the comparison is quite close. It seems we're all stuck in the "this works so let's not rock the boat" mentality with the FB RPG games.




 

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