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GDC 2010: Meet BackChatter, the Twitter MMO

BackChatter is a project developed especially for the Game Developers Conference, using Twitter as the basis of what it calls a "massively multiplayer GDC game."

Detailed instructions for the BackChatter Twitter game

Both Twitter and Facebook are immensely popular social networking tools that offer real-time sharing of ideas and updates--but of the two, only Facebook has a second life as a huge gaming platform. After all, the sheer simplicity of Twitter makes it hard to imagine what kind of games could even be developed for it.

BackChatter is a project created especially for the Game Developers Conference, using Twitter as the basis of what is being called a "massively multiplayer GDC game." Though that might conjure up images of World of Warcraft, the actual game uses the definition of a massively multiplayer game rather liberally.

The goal of BackChatter is to spot trends and predict which individual words will be used most often in Twitter posts that include the hashtags #GDC and #GDC2010. The game resets itself periodically during the day, providing for 20 individual rounds over the course of three days.

Anyone can join the game by following BackChatter on Twitter, then tweeting your three word choices per round (more detailed instructions are on the Web site). You earn points each time a chosen word comes up in an eligible tweet. That catch is, as more people "bet" on the same words, those popular words (such as "game" or "PlayStation") are worth fewer points for each hit.

Winners and details for each round will be posted on, and the game runs from 9 a.m. March 11 to 4 p.m. March 13 (all times PST).

After that, the game officially ends, but the technology behind BackChatter will be released as an open-source project, which will allow others to run their own trend-spotting Twitter games. We can't saw we see a huge future in Twitter games, but we're sure a lot of people said that about FarmVille as well.