Here are the top fashion games on Facebook today by traffic:
Games By Genre: Fashion
The earliest fashion games for Facebook weren’t very complex: dress your avatar and look at the way your friends’ avatars were dressed. These games were limited at the time by technology and by the lower standard of art quality common to successful social games. As the platform matured and this “art bar” rose, however, the fashion genre picked up throughout 2009 and 2010 as developers were able to offer more — and prettier — clothing and accessory items as desirable virtual goods.
Then came the gameplay. Early fashion games suffered from a lack of a core gameplay loop because the reward was the same as the activity: buying the clothes. To add some sense of challenge, newer fashion games introduced energy and resource gauges that essentially limited how much a player could shop. Other games relied on different core gameplay elements, like throwing parties or getting jobs as a means of creating something for the player to do to earn the resources to spend on clothes.
Other games introduced the concept of competition, where the way a player dressed their avatar determined the type and quantity of gameplay rewards they reaped from “fights” or other fashion contests. This is also where social features became a natural element in fashion games as friends could not only gift resources, but potentially add statistic bonuses in competition modes.
Monetization occurs in fashion games mostly in the sale of fashion items and later the energy and resource items. Some games introduced additional commodities (e.g. It Girl allowed players to purchase clique members) or mini-games players could pay to play in order to win more items, like a daily spin-the-wheel activity. It could be the real challenge of monetization in the fashion genre comes from their core demographic: teen girls without much disposable income to spend on social games.
As the Facebook platform has matured and many developers are at the point in their development cycle where they want to work on new games instead of supporting old ones, fashion games now face a new challenge: how to automate the creation of new content so that the developer isn’t responsible for making new fashion items for the game. After all, “fashion” is only as good as the items for sale; and not all developers have the resources to keep making new content indefinitely.
This is where developers have the potential to expand: user-generated content. Already, games like the recently released Fashion Designer have players creating their own fashion items. The actual marketplace for the exchange or sale of user-created clothing isn’t very robust at the point, however, with Fashion Designer only allows players to vote on or purchase user-made items for use within their own game.
Moreover, there are other elements of the fashion industry that could be incorporated into a fashion game to greater effect — such as organizing fashion shows or the business of loaning dresses out for modeling events. Lastly, there is a lack of brand integrations with real-life fashion brands. It Girl has had sponsored stores selling branded virtual goods for outfitters like Old Navy; but what if a fashion game could offer coutuer branded virtual goods?
The possibilities are certainly there and it’s looking like the genre is far from saturated at this point.