EA recently announced their newest browser-based online game entitled Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, and it has a few interesting social features that set it apart from previous games. The main addition is Facebook Connect, which allows players to invite players to become fans of the game. It also highlights Electronic Arts ongoing push for integration with the social web.
According to the press release:
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online connects to Facebook, allowing players to invite their friends to become fans, thus earning additional in-game experience. Players are also able to publish their accomplishments to Facebook.
This is an important step that they had announced earlier last year but has finally come to fruition. It rides on the coattails of Peter Moore, head of Sports for EA, talking about the potential for more Social Gaming acquisitions, potentially in the sports space. We can also see EA utilizing the Facebook fan page for the game to highlight updates and free beta invites. As a company, EA is embracing the word-of-mouth virality, supplementing all releases with Facebook campaigns. Also, looking at the top Fan Pages, we can see the great use of Sims as well.
Regarding the game, while they incorporate Facebook Connect in the game itself to invite players, they are not fully integrated into Facebook’s social network features, and the reasoning is pretty obvious once you hit the site: the TWO home page is a social network in itself. The entire game and page is meant to be a home for TWO fans and golfers to get together and chat using the live chat bar, the friends system and more. It would be interesting to pull your Facebook friends’ into this bar, and I imagine this may be part of a next release.