Playpanel from Adobe is a desktop application that automatically bookmarks all the Flash games played in your browser. It is a perfect tool for online and social game players because it helps to discover new games and also see what others are playing.
What’s convenient about the app is that it silently runs in the background capturing your gaming behaviour without you having to manually do anything. The app captures information such as the games you’ve played, the game links, publisher information, the date you last played the games, number of times you played them etc.
The app is also browser independant, so you could be playing a game in any browser and it will automatically make it available in your Playpanel game list. I tried it with Google Chrome, Firefox and IE and it worked fine.
Playpanel requires you to login with either your Facebook login or Adobe login. I think this login compulsion could have been avoided because not everyone is comfortable inputting their login details. But then looking at it from a product perspective, it also needs to reach out to a wide audience through Facebook invites and virality through game sharing, so it can’t be avoided.
The feature I like most is the discovery of new games from the “Discover Games” tab. This list contains high quality games from well-known publishers. The games are divided into Featured games and Popular games. The featured games are hand picked by the game editors while the Popular games are chosen based on their ratings by other players. You too can rate/comment on these games or see what others have commented about it before you start playing it.
A feature called “Pinning” games helps to pin games which are then made available to your Facebook friends. You can also see what games your friends have pinned, thus collaborating with them on a multiplayer or social game mission.
It almost feels like Playpanel is like a mobile app store, the only difference being, the games are free and played in a desktop browser. Also, with so much gaming content out there it is almost impossible to know what to play or not to play. An app like Playpanel just makes it easier to identify good content.
However, it’ll be interesting to know how much further this product will evolve. One feature that I can think of is arranging games according to genres. Another is showing “similar games” thumbnails on a particular game details page. Also, it will be nice to have the game details page show whether the game is cross-platform.
With Adobe focusing heaviliy on HTML5, will it also serve as a future platform for those games? Just a food for thought!