Most social games only let players interact in an asynchronous way, meaning that players are never directly interacting in real-time. Jeffrey Hyman, the CCO of Idle Games, contends that true social games need a real-time option.
"Fundamentally I don't believe you can have a social game without at least offering up the ability to play in real-time with others," said Hyman. "At the same time, you're kidding yourself if you think a purely synchronous game will succeed on the social networks. One of our mantras about Idle Worship is that users should 'come for the asynchronous, but stay for the synchronous'. That nicely summarizes our mindset and approach in trying to marry these two different styles of play."
"While the synchronous feature is obvious to users, there is another technical innovation that's just as cool but less obvious … namely that Idle Worship features an 'unsharded' universe," he detailed. "While that term sounds as geeky as it actually is, what it means is that no matter what server a player is on, they are free to roam about the universe and play with anyone (regardless of what server they are on). The one (and maybe only) nice thing about having to build everything from scratch is that we weren't burdened with legacy code and were able to craft a gaming platform tailor made for the social networks."
To find out more, read the full interview on [a]list.