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Synchronous "social network" gameplay is, on one hand, a possible key to deeper "social" connections between gamers. On the other hand, it is an awkward fit for environments that thrive on asynchronous interaction within the social graph. Synchronous gameplay is growing in popularity on Facebook, but these games generally offer interactions independent to the social graph -- meaning you play mostly with strangers, not friends. Game developers often assume synchronous friend-to-friend interactions happen serendipitously, if at all.
Ziemowit Poniewierski from Can't Stop Games disagrees. "Pirate Saga" uniquely utilizes Facebook "Groups" functionality to encourage synchronous friend-to-friend interactions, and drive ongoing engagement with the game world even when the game isn't open. Don't miss this opportunity to hear how an Eastern European developer creatively applies underutilized Facebook platform features to encourage friends to interact in real time, and attracted big publisher attention as a result.