Sports is a largely untapped genre on Facebook and companies are looking to grab a piece of the pie in order to take advantage of a highly engaged audience that loves sports. We’ve covered news like ESPN’s partnership with Playdom to launch branded sports games this fall, signaling a strong interest from sports media companies in the social gaming space. The latest announcement comes from Watercooler, makers of Kingdoms of Camelot, who is partnering with Fox Sports to release a soccer game called Epic Goal on the web and Facebook.
The casual title differs from EA’s latest fantasy soccer management game on Facebook by providing a playable action game, somewhat similar to a console experience. The focus of the game is on movements and coordination, allowing players to take control of specific players during the largely automated match. The movement takes place on its own and different players are highlighted that you can pass to. Once your player gets near the goal, the word ‘shoot’ appears and clicking your mouse allows you to shoot. Defensive controls are similar and allow you to ‘tackle’ a player. We can assume that the game requires a decent computer to run efficiently as live movement games tend to work jerky in a flash environment, often slowing and getting stuck.
In a sense, the game is very similar to an RPG game, with energy required to play games. There are plenty of virtual goods to purchase, including functional player and team performance boosts and stadium related items like increased seating and improved landscaping. In the past, Watercooler developed apps targeting audience interested in sports and television and they seem to be growing faster, with games like Kingdoms of Camelot currently at 3.7 MMAUs.
Social gaming is more about asynchronous gaming but with the Fifa World Cup close, we might see strong user adoption assuming a decent marketing budget. Inside Social Games reports that Fox Sports will begin running animated TV ads for the game, which could provide a strong boost to this game. Watercooler will also apparently localize Epic Goal, internationalizing it for different audiences starting with Spanish. With soccer games like Bola already at 3.4 MMAUs, will Fox Sports venture pay off?