Yoav Tchelet
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Social Gaming, The Future of Social

Social gaming has taken the online world by storm and mobile is the next massive growth area for gaming.

Zynga, with its huge $1 Billion IPO on the back of its success with the likes of Farmville, Cityville and others is part of this wave of gaming sweeping the social world.

So where is social gaming headed to?

The social gaming market last year was valued at approximately $856 million according to eMarketer and is to surpass $1 billion this year, a 28% increase.

“Nearly 62 million Internet users in the U.S. — or 27% of web surfers — are expected to play at least one game on a social network per month in 2011, up from 53 million last year” – according to eMarketer.

We know that around 50% of users log in to Facebook on a daily basis – that’s around 300 million+ users on a daily basis. This doesn’t include other social networks, niche networks and of course mobile.

While social gaming and gaming providers set their sights on mobile – online gaming continues to grow and with more people spending more time online and connected in social environments, this upward growth curve will continue.

Social media is approaching mass media status and with the launch of Google+, which by the way has plans to include social gaming as part of their platform, I don’t see much more innovation in the near future in this market.

The innovation will come from social gaming and other recreational platforms that can feed the voracious appetite of social media platforms.

Social gaming not only provides an entertainment layer but also provides brands with a fantastic opportunity for branded entertainment and product placement.

Gaming users generally spend more time engaged with their games than they do with television and the opportunity that brands have to get into that environment has barely been tapped.

As devices continue to converge and tablets take the reigns from the PC market which will continue to decline, not only will it become easier to get games in front of users and integrated into websites, social networks and mobile devices – the continued rise of HTML 5 will help fuel this.

So where does this leave social media?

Well as fast as things move on social media – its hitting a phase of maturity, yes I did say this – it is maturing and companies are starting to realise the value of social media and driving revenue, albeit on a relatively small scale.

Growth and revenue drivers such as social gaming are not only going to assist brands in delivering value from social networks but also to keep users connected to their friends and pushing the word of mouth marketing that is so invaluable to their friends and family.

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