Social gaming is a big business these days, with companies such as Zynga (maker of popular Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars) making millions. Social games are different from traditional games in that they spread virally by using social networks. Many companies are discovering that social gaming can benefit their businesses, too.
What defines a social game? There are three primary elements that a game typically must have in order to be classified as a social game.
• Social network. Players connect with other people in their social network while playing the game, as opposed to playing alone.
• Frequent visits. Games are designed to bring players back for frequent, short visits, rather than occasional marathon sessions.
• Free play. Most social games follow a model where they are free to play, but players can spend money on in-game purchases.
Types of social games Believe it or not, social games can be an extremely lucrative form of entertainment for your business. That’s mainly because the tactics used are meant to bring people together and compel them to share information. Some of the most common types of social games are:
• Arcade and casual. Scrabble is a classic casual game, which has been turned into a social game online. Tetris is an example of a classic arcade game which is now played with social networks.
• Resources and building. In these games, players gather resources, and build their systems to higher and higher levels. One example is Farmville, an incredibly successful game, where people develop their farms, growing different crops and raising animals.
• Caretaking. These games involve taking care of pretend pets or avatars. Players feed their pets regularly, or breed different types of exotic fish. These games can be emotionally fulfilling.
• Gambling. These are similar to regular casino games, except that players use pretend money instead of real dollars. In some games, players can accumulate enough points to win a prize.
The audience for social games is huge
Social media games are not just for kids. Everyone from teenagers, to soccer moms, to grandparents are participating in these games today. As players progress in the games, they post their winning scores for all their friends to see. Many social games also encourage interaction with friends in order to collect key resources, or battle a common enemy. The Social Game Summit reported that 50% of the gamers on Facebook are over the age of 25. More gamers were women (56%) than men (44%). MSN Games reported statistics showing that 55% of their gamers had a household income over $50K. 40% of them had college degrees, and 25% had a job with professional or managerial responsibilities.
How companies can benefit from social gaming
With demographics like these, it is clear that many businesses could benefit from tapping into social gaming. Social gamers build a connection with their games, and return to them over and over again. Many gamers will check in on their game every few hours, and never miss a day. If a company can tap into this, they can build a network of loyal fans. The social aspects of these games then help to expand that network. As players bring more and more of their friends into the game, that fan base increases virally. Social games can create brand retention; they capture attention for more than 30 seconds, and the interaction may lead to better preservation of the company message.
Social games are incredibly challenging and entertaining, creating viral advertising that enterprises want and need for their products. Every marketer’s goal is to get exposure for his brand and thus make his company known to the world.
Just wish to say a big thanks to Jason Phillips and Dirt Bike Games 365 for the guest article provided above.