I've been watching the gaming space go social over the past few years and have been fascinated by how dramatically things are changing and evolving. The gaming industry has taken a hit during the economic downturn – many publishers finding for the first time in many years that they either have a mega-hit or a dog of a title. They are struggling with how to address new audiences that they have not served before – such as seniors or exercise enthusiasts. Gamers are demanding social experiences within games and a new wave of social gaming companies are stepping up to the plate.
I'm an enthusiastic gamer myself - I've spent way too many hours on Wii and mobile games - and many MMOG's. Recently I worked with Crimson Analyst Chris Terschluse on doing research on Gaming and the use of Community and Social Media. Even if you're not a gamer, I hope you will find the the research as interesting as we do.
Here is a summary of some of the trends we're seeing:
- Gamer Demographics: new game experiences and casual gaming have changed gamer demographics. Families and seniors are now some of the highest growing segments.
- New Gaming Experiences: Gamers want experiences that are deeply customizable and interactive.
- Multiple revenue modelsare utilized to monetize games. Micro-transactions, pre-paid cards, game services are all creating strong sources of revenue.
- Social: Gamers now demand social experiences within games.
- Gamers are avid social networkers, sharing UGC such as photos, videos, or blogs.
What will be the next big online gaming platform? Some predict the gaming platforms of the future will be primarily social networks, but what about other platforms - such as Skype?