Games give Facebook-weary employers more headaches

Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:03am EST
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By Shrutika Verma and Antonita Madonna Devotta

BANGALORE (Reuters Life!) - For many employers, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites are already a scourge that cut into productivity. Now they have something else to worry about -- the games hosted by these sites.

This new genre of social gaming is called "asynchronous" or "appointment" gaming and allows people to play with their friends without having to be online at the same time.

The low-intensity engagement has made games such as FarmVille, Cafe World, Restaurant City, Pet Society, and Happy Aquarium -- developed by firms Zynga, Playfish, Crowdstar and Slashkey -- popular among employees who often log on during office hours.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, about 12.5 percent of productivity in the corporate sector is misappropriated each day by social networking sites.

"What we are seeing is that more and more people and organizations are recognizing the productivity lost so probably more chief information officers are blocking Facebook applications," Rebecca Wettemann of Nucleus Research said.

Boston-based Nucleus Research, which conducted a recent study into the effects of social networking sites on productivity, said nearly half of office employees in the United States access social networking sites at work, which leads to an average loss of 1.5 percent of total office productivity.

Facebook, which has 350 million users, says at least 20 percent of its members play games online.

Sebastien de Halleux, CEO officer and co-founder of online game creator Playfish said Asia is growing at a faster pace than other regions.   Continued...

<p>An Internet user tries to log onto social networking site Facebook in Tehran May 25, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl</p>