Looking for Some of That Facebook Money, L.A. Times Starts Hosting Casual Games on Website

Illustration for article titled Looking for Some of That Facebook Money, emL.A. Times/em Starts Hosting Casual Games on Website

Casual games make money. The L.A. Times needs money. So, the L.A. Times is adding casual games to its website. That seems to be the logic at work in a new partnership announced today between the newspaper and casual gaming company Arkadium, which makes Facebook games Mahjongg Dimensions and Solitaire Heaven.

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Visitors to latimes.com will be able to play titles like Sparks or Monkey Gems on the site's new games page, which was created in the hopes of funneling ad revenue to the SoCal news outlet. The quotes from today's press release pretty much say exactly that:

"Given the ever-rising popularity of casual games, adding Arkadium's titles allows us to further engage latimes.com's users and entice previously untapped gaming enthusiasts to visit our site throughout the day," said The Times Vice President, Digital Revenue Products Jennifer Collins. "We are also creating a previously unavailable opportunity for our advertisers to reach Southern California's casual gaming audience and in the process establish another digital monetization platform."

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The weirdest thing about this move is the "if you build it, they will come" logic that's underlying this initiative. Sure, casual game enthusiasts will play content wherever they find it but there's already a juggernaut called Facebook that also serves the social needs of that audience, too. Not that all casual games need to live on Facebook, but the thinking seems to be that there's teeming masses who want their weather, Hollywood deal updates and word-finding games all in one place. It's also odd that a news outlet would host content from a company that they might cover if they haven't already. It'll be interesting to see how integrated Arkadium's games will become across the rest of the L.A. Times' website.

L.A. Times Online Games

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DISCUSSION

truthtellah
truthtellah

CNN.com also has casual games now. A whole section on their front page.

As a big CNN fan... I really don't know what to think of it. I'd be more understanding of even Kotaku having a game section than CNN or BBC. Heck, Al Jazeera is probably gonna have a casual games section soon. Why are news agencies trading away the appeal of hard journalism, accuracy, and the relentless pursuit of conveying reality for the easy appeal of the sensational and fleeting? Adding these games is far from the biggest issue, of course; it's much bigger than that.

People aren't learning anything from news anymore; they're simply being entertained with a package that happens to include bits of reality. Perhaps the bubble on this may one day burst just so we can possibly get a few trusted names in news again. There's no authority or accountability anymore, and people's perception of events are being significantly impacted. It's disappointing to see at almost every level of society.