Social media and video gaming used to be different things a while ago, but now the boundaries between the two are getting thinner by the day.
The number of games that takes advantage of social media, in one way or another, is constantly increasing, so it’s just a matter of time before these two once independent platforms will completely merge together to form the ultimate multi-purpose platform out there. If you’re wondering how things got here, we might have some answers from you.
The first encounter between social media and video games was almost accidental: social platforms were at their debut, searching for new ways of keeping users logged in, and simple browser-based games seemed to be the perfect way of doing do. These games were simple at first, but once the popularity of social platforms skyrocketed and the user base grew rapidly, games started focusing on the social element – making players compete with each other. All the social media hype didn’t just change the direction of the game, but it also changed the way marketers could make a profit from them by giving birth to a new marketing model: freemium content.
Freemium content relied on several key elements:
• The attraction for free content;
• The player’s desire to win and obtain social recognition;
• The willingness of some players to pay money to gain an advantage in a competition.
Combining these elements together, freemium content managed to deliver a balanced solution that worked for everyone by offering the games for free, but allowing the players to make in-game purchases that would boost them on the leaderboard. This proved to be a huge success, making the competition tighter, while also enforcing social interaction between the players.
Facebook is the best example to illustrate just how successful this model really is. Games such as Candy Crush Saga or Farmville gained a lot of traction, quickly becoming favorites among its users. Since everybody was playing these games, but not everyone had the same amount of free time to allot to them, investing real money just to stay in the loop became a very useful option to have.
Marketers and game developers started taking advantage of social media outside the platforms as well by integrating the option of sharing scores and stats. This made it easier for players to compete against their friends on social platforms, as well as allowing the game to promote itself to an ever-growing audience.
By signing in with his Facebook account, a user basically gave the developer access to his details, allowing them to create a database of users that contains a lot of precious data that could be later on used for precise ad targeting – a database that be otherwise very costly to build. By saving a lot of money on marketing and advertising costs, game developers are able to deliver more free games and features to players and still end up with a profit, which is basically a win-win situation for everyone.
Marketing and monetization is not everything, though; game developers and publishers also took advantage of the social bloom to create an online presence and connect with their audience at a more personal level by creating dedicated pages and groups for all the major games and their fans. The fact that a big game developer like Valve opted to create their own social platforms – Steam, indicates something that’s clear already: social platforms are a must-have for the future of video gaming.
Another indicator for this is the fact that all the latest gaming consoles are social-media oriented as well. They all allow, and even encourage, the player to create a gaming profile and be as competitive as possible. The integration of Internet connectivity and support for social media apps is no coincidence either.
Putting the pieces together makes it quite clear that social media and gaming may be two different worlds that got together by accident, but they fit perfectly together, and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. Offline gaming is about to become history. Welcome to the era of social gaming.
OSM would like to say a big thanks to Jason Phillips and Motorbike Games 365 for the contents of this article above.