Tagged Releases Second Social Game As It Turns to In-House Development

Over a year after the launch of its only other in-house social game, Tagged has released a second, the simply-named Farm. As you might expect from the name, Farm follows in the farming game tradition, featuring a handful of plants and animals that can be bought and later harvested for more money.

Farm is a pretty simple affair, at least in its current state. Unlike most of the popular farming games of the moment, it doesn’t involve any animation, and you never see your farmer. Instead, you’re presented with a simple six by four grid to plant in. Animals and structures reside under a separate tab, and the experience that help you reach the next level is simply the amount of money you’ve spent.

Tagged will probably wait to see how Farm does before putting much more effort into it. But the game’s release is a tell-tale sign of a deeper change taking place within the company. With Facebook having become the 500 pound gorilla of social networking, Tagged is working to turn itself into a more game-centric network.

Games aren’t the sole focus, of course — sites like Kongregate fill that industry niche. Instead, Tagged is trying to position itself as a place to meet new people, according to VP of sales Steve Sarner — unlike Facebook, which is mostly about interacting with people you already know. “We use the social gaming aspect as another conduit to help people make new friends online,” says Sarner.

But with only 800,000 daily active users for its games, Tagged also isn’t going to attract many exclusive games. So the company is taking matters into its own hands by hiring game developers and working on its own titles. Sarner says that Tagged will be releasing several more games throughout this year.

It should be interesting to see whether Tagged can pull off the shift. MySpace, also, is turning more toward games, but it’s a significantly larger company, with more money to invest in new initiatives. Tagged has less breathing room, which could be good as well as bad; unlike MySpace, there’s a big motivation here for Tagged to get it right the first time.