Social Plays In Networked Gaming by Kate Hancock

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Exploring the relationship between gaming, technology and social media, and what it means for marketers.

Exploring the relationship between gaming, technology and social media, and what it means for marketers.

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  • 1. Social Plays in Networked Gaming Kate Hancock, August 2009
  • 2. Video Games and Social Media Were Meant For Each Other
    • Technology propels innovation in both
    • Social media making games mainstream
      • Bridging cultural divide between hardcore gamers & mainstream consumers
    • Video games have been at the forefront of the social movement
    • Games are inherently social
  • 3. Harness the Gaming Industry’s “Brave” Social Media Attitude
    • Can use this early-adopter mindset in any business, but ACT NOW or never
      • Lots of companies are already trying new things
      • Be the FIRST to do it RIGHT
    • Social technologies enable fun & meaningful new ways to engage your customers
      • BE new, creative, bold & brilliant
      • Build & retain loyal fan base
      • Differentiate your brand
  • 4.
    • Social Technology in Video Games & Gaming Industry
    • Gaming in Social Media & Social Networks
    • Overlap & Implications
    Contents:
  • 5. Social in the Gaming Sphere
  • 6. Video Games Influence Social Media
    • Spearheaded social media movement
      • Online games > MMOG genre > VWs > SNs
    • Virtual worlds & MMOGs converged/ing
    • Now, social networks are becoming virtual worlds (literally)
      • Gaming is a prevalent feature & function of today’s social landscape
  • 7. In Games, Social Technologies = “Community Features”
    • Social technologies are rampant in video games
    • Enhance RL relationships & create new ones online
      • Competition, collaboration
      • Chat, forums, etc.
    • Now social networks & in-game advertisers are cashing in too
  • 8. MMORPG is a Social Medium
    • Avatars, screen names, IM, guilds, forums, LAN, leader boards, multiplayer modes, slang (FTW, n00b, lol), achievements, battles, UGC, tournaments, etc.
    • Companies expanding the MMO genre with new types of online communities
      • Over 200 kids’ virtual worlds in development
      • Casual MMOGs, niche interests, etc.
  • 9. Social Features on Game Consoles
    • Xbox LIVE, PSN, WiiWare
    • Avatars, UGC, achievements, contests, leader boards, etc.
      • i.e. Little Big Planet, 1 vs. 100, Rock Band, Guitar Hero
    • Facebook Connect
      • DSi, Xbox LIVE, iPhone
  • 10. Social Features in Casual Games
    • Nintendo does it their own way…
      • Makes games for EVERYone
        • Whole family from kids to grandparents can enjoy
      • Understand their audience
      • Party games - simple, fun & social
        • New Wii Mario game - 4 player mode throughout
        • Wii Sports – more fun w/group
    • Big Fish “Babes”, Pogo.com, King.com casual online portals
      • Very organic communities
        • Big Fish Babes photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/narisa
  • 11. Gaming Companies Engage Fans through Social Media
    • Early adoption by gaming industry companies & media (blogs, Twitter, etc.)
      • Not concerned about figuring out the right/wrong way to use social media
        • Risky, “brave”, trendsetters
      • Fast-paced industry
        • “ If I don’t do it, you know somebody else will.” - Doctor John
      • Be the FIRST to do it RIGHT
  • 12. Gaming Companies Live by the “Feedback Loop”
    • Developing games w/o user feedback is a bad idea
    • Beta tests, focus groups, user testing, etc.
    • Makes development more transparent & accessible
      • Fans can get behind the game before it’s released
    • i.e. LEGO Universe – Adult fans (LUPs) helping create
  • 13. Feedback is Good for Business
    • Game companies are using blogs, etc. to keep users informed
      • Build buzz, get feedback
      • i.e. Facebook TOS uproar
    • Feedback through Twitter enhances customer service
      • Faster & more PRO-active
      • Social mentions can help identify fans, etc.
  • 14. Digitalized, 24/7 News Cycle
    • Word-of-mouth, faster & more public process
      • You have to BE news to MAKE news
    • Marketers becoming a direct news source
      • Cutting out “middle man” (traditional media)
      • Social media should be included in every marketing/PR campaign
      • If you can reach fans & potential customers DIRECTLY, why wouldn’t you?
  • 15. Gaming Enhances & Advances the Social Web Experience
    • Video games are not only a facet of social media, gaming in social networks is the next step for social networks
      • 57% of internet users play games online
    • Bridging cultural divide
      • Hardcore gamers are embracing social platforms, play styles…
  • 16. Gaming in the Social Sphere
  • 17. Social Media is Facilitating Gaming’s Rise Among Mainstream
    • Bridging cultural divide
    • Broad, mainstream demographics are incorporating video games into their everyday lives
      • Discovering uses for SNs and social gaming – personally & professionally
  • 18. Social Games Offer Big Benefits & Low Barriers to Entry
    • Social games are ACCESSIBLE
      • Small time investment, little to no cost, easy to pick up & play, most on PC, bridge generation gap
    • Social games are ADDICTIVE
      • Stress relieving, high replay value, immediate (more public) rewards, valuable networking benefits
    • Social games CROSS platforms
      • Facebook Connect – Xbox 360, iPhone, DSi, PC, etc.
  • 19. Social Features Enhance Gameplay
    • Strengthen existing human relationships
      • More fun against real friends & colleagues
    • New platforms make social gaming accessible to all
      • Facebook, iPhone, etc.
      • 20% of all iPhone apps are games
  • 20. Social Games Make Players WANT To Invite Friends
    • Many do not exist as a single player experience
      • i.e. Pictionary
    • The best multiplayer & social games require:
      • Collaboration
      • Competition
      • Challenges
      • Personalization options
  • 21. Social Games are Serious Business
    • Social gaming industry expected to surpass $1billion in Western markets this year
    • Successful social games tap the marketing potential of their community
      • FUN games that use NEW biz models
      • Bejeweled Blitz, Mafia Wars, Bowling Buddies
  • 22. Social Games Are Not Static
    • Emerging idea of “services, not products”
    • The “design, develop, launch, market” model is old news
    • Requires community involvement
    • Whose responsibility IS it?
      • Great debate over Community Management
  • 23. “ Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” – G.B. Stern
    • Fans WANT to share their opinions & experiences with your game/product
      • Accolades, grievances, reviews, purchases…
    • Engage consumers by playing to their egos
      • Incorporate THEM into campaigns
      • Motivate & reward brand advocates
    • Advantageous for all companies
      • They WANT to talk about your company!
      • So give them something positive to say
  • 24. Word-of-Mouth Marketing Power
    • WoM marketing is blurring lines
      • Between PR, journo, brands & fans
      • Traditional media reviews less important
    • Brand marketers can interact directly with consumers through social media
      • PR as a direct news source
      • Demise of traditional journalism
  • 25. Overlap and Implications
  • 26. Convergence Of Gaming And Mainstream Through Social Media
    • Bridging cultural divide between hardcore gamers & mainstream consumers
    • Consumers undergoing simultaneous aggregation and fragmentation
      • Aggregation - on SNs like FB, Myspace
      • Fragmentation – so many distractions
        • Places to go, things to do, people to interact with – online and offline
  • 27. Social Media Spreads the Word
    • We trust our friends, family & colleagues to make better recommendations
      • Mass media lacks personal relevance
    • Traditional media sources & reviews less important now
      • Informed, individualized suggestions
    • Changing roles for marketers, journalists, brands & consumers
  • 28. “ The Social Will Permeate Everything”
    • PR is evolving
      • Level playing field
      • Skills, requirements and industry as a whole
    • Telecommunication, virtual workplace, etc.
    • Can apply to any company, any industry
  • 29. Social Games Use New Technologies & Provide New Opportunities
    • Differentiate your brand as a forward-thinking innovator
    • In-game ads, licensing, branded game opportunities, contests, tournaments, etc.
    • People like sharing about themselves & SM enables brands to harness that
      • Challenge, motivation, rewards
  • 30. Social Media Changes Everything
    • Harness the game industry’s early-adopter mindset to engage fans in fun new ways
    • Games are an effective “tool” for customers to interact w/ your brand
    • Social media makes it easy
      • Builds organic, loyal fan base
      • Social gaming valuable for any industry
  • 31. Feedback is Good
      • What do YOU think about “gaming socially”?
        • Contact Kate Hancock on the web:
            • Email: [email_address]
            • TriplePoint PR blog: www.triplepointpr.com
            • Agency Twitter: @ triplepoint
        • OR on ( you knew it was coming ) the social web:
            • Twitter.com/ katelollar
            • Facebook.com/katelollarhancock
            • LinkedIn.com/in/katelollar
            • Xbox LIVE: LollarBills