Today, I’ll discuss how social media is a game changing technology for the gaming industry. I will show how social media will change the evolutionary process for the development and marketing of games. The take home lesson is that social media will introduce new audiences to gaming. The collaboration and participation facilitated by social media will synergize with these new audiences to create new markets and new business models for the gaming industry. Through complexity and ubiquity social media are changing every aspect of our lives. They are also changing every aspect of business. So there’s no doubt that social media is going to change the gaming industry. It’s not just going to change what games we play, it’s going to change who plays games. It’s going to change who gamers are. It’s going to change what a game is. Social media will change how games evolve.
Social media will impact all aspects of gaming, whether you are a player, designer or vendor. As I will show, it isn’t just moving the goal posts, it is changing the playing field. Let us think about how games are developed, reach the market place and become successful, or not.
There are a multitude of games on as Facebook.
One popular game on Facebook is Mafioso. Like most games it uses the social aspect of Facebook. The idea is to use your Facebook friends to grow your mob. Players with bigger mobs accumulate properties, weapons and money faster than players with smaller mobs. You can invite your friends to join you with the click of a mouse. Every time you play the game, your profile status updates. Thus social networks recreate the village element of computer games. Rather than testing your skills against a machine, you can now see how you match up against other people. And the social element takes interest in games to new audiences.
The US Army has arcade-style shooting games in malls to help with recruitment. At the the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia, gamer recruits can see interactive maps, experience simulated attacks from an Apache and play on Xbox 360 gaming consoles.
The Department of the Treasury partnered with the Ad Council to create a game to teach kids about the importance of good credit.
New audiences are also being introduced through new gaming applications. Politicians such as Howard Dean use web-games to teach democracy and increase interest in their campaigns.
So to summarize the bottlenecks to growth, we see: Limited business models. (Epic is a star but has only 80 FTEs and no turnover.) Thinking about gaming, the business models for these pre-Internet games were limited. The arcade games were a pay to play model. Console games depended on a combination of hardware sales and selling the game. Revenue from home computer games was based solely on income from software sales. Perception of gaming as entertainment. Perception of gamers as nerds or dropouts. (Karen’s brother dropped out of college.) Institutional and societal resistance to change Social media is going to change all that. We are going to see a paradigm shift in the gaming industry. Through social media, we are going to see a change in how games are conceived, created and sold.
The biggest change to directly affect the gaming industry is user-generated gaming and content. Boyd Multerer from Microsoft said, “It’s going to get easier and easier to make games” He’s right. in one year, users contributed 50,000 gaming applications to Facebook, everything from puzzles to monster slaying. For the Spore game, you can make your own creatures. The site gets two million uploads a week of peculiar creatures, items and planet features—85 million of them and counting, from nearly three million registered viewers 3,500 new users are joining every day. The Web site Kongregate has 14,000 games on it, almost all of them made by just a few users. Control is moving from top down to bottom up. One almost certain change is the use of portable profiles. Social media developers are looking at ways to create identities that remain constant across the Web. It’s just a matter of time before someone figures out the advantages of using such a profile in online games. Another game changer is the role of hardware. Software will move entirely online, so consoles will become obsolete as their function moves to the home PC. There may be some role for technology such as the Wii, but it will integrate with home PCs or integrated home communication devices. There is a big market of console players yet to adopt online gaming. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “Online gaming … is still relatively small compared to offline gaming… There is still a large, untapped market for gaming in general and online gaming in particular.”
An emerging technology that will facilitate this move is distributed computing. With Onlive, we will see gaming on demand. Through distributed computing, users will no longer need high-end equipment to get the best gaming experience. Onlive provides a multi-user platform across all games through its community. It also promises “massive spectating” with “instant community on an epic scale” Onlive also promises to take full advantage of social gaming. It also promises “massive spectating” with “instant community on an epic scale”
If everyone can make games, you can outsource game development of microgames. With low cost, even thin streams of revenue from ads, payments for game items and/or fees for games make profits. If you’re looking for a surefire blockbuster, crowdsourcing can help you refine the game without high inhouse R&D costs. However, gaming is still limited to the traditional audience. A broader perspective sees games as part of everyday life. Games can be used as research tools to impact every aspect of life. People will play more games in more places. Social games will help product designers focus on customer experiences not products. Social games will help designers engage in addition to making something better/faster/cheaper, and easier to use or market. Social media will help the gaming industry understand what people like most about playing and how games unlock player emotion. Gaming will help manufacturers, designers and retailer understand how to increase enjoyment of non-game activities and products. Games will provide insights into how to make other products and services more enjoyable. Games can help us craft a consumer’s cognitive and emotional responses to provide better customer experiences for products and services, work, and other cultural artifacts. In this way, gaming will become an intrinsic part of how businesses communicate with customers. It will as relevant in everyone’s lives as social media is today. Games will re-design how we work and shop. Employers will use games to screen potential hires for 3D reasoning skills and train them to solve problems with multiple variables. Games will change consumer processes such as the games of shopping, driving and dining.Games and elements of play will be used to increase product appeal. Adding playful elements to goods and services will increase the attraction of everything from advertising messages to the design of public spaces. Playfulness in design evokes emotions Understanding how games create emotions offers further insight into how to make other products and services more enjoyable and even improve the quality of life. Social media will play a critical role in realizing this reality. So will gaming.
It’s a tough challenge we’re facing, But exciting opportunities too. Through the intersection of gaming and social media, we can see a gaming economy emerging. Gaming can be the currency of this economy. And, combined with social media gaming will be the new paradigm for communication.
Social media dimensions of gaming
Games People Play
Social Media Dimensions of Online Gaming
Gaming is at a crossroads
Social media and gaming are
Where social media and gaming meet,
– What are the challenges?
– What are the opportunities?
Social media is game
Social media will change the
evolutionary process for game
marketing and development
Social media will create new business
social media/gaming equation
New audiences x (collaboration + participation) =
Changing the game plan
Social media are changing every aspect of
So social media is going to change the
It’s going to change
– What games we play
– Who plays games
– What a game is
Social media will change how games evolve
Social media is going to
change the playing field
Social media will impact all aspects of
– That’s players, designers, vendors
Social media isn’t just moving the goal
posts, it is changing the playing field
Social media will change how games
are developed, reach the market
place and become successful, or not
Adapt or die
Have you heard of the dodo?
Evolution dictates that weakness and
inefficiency do not persist in complex
environments, such as the Internet
When environments change too fast,
animals go extinct
To survive, animals must adapt
Survival of the fittest
The fittest games will survive
Easiest to play
Easiest to share
Best meet our basic needs such as human
Crap games do not last long in the market
The best games persist
The best features are copied and passed on
to other games
• Customers are selecting, like natural
• Due to natural selection, all the
dinosaurs went extinct.
• The birds are the only relatives of
the dinosaurs to survive.
• With social media selection in the
gaming industry is going to be ever
more ruthless and faster.
• Selective processes will move away
from top down conception, design
• Selection will occur at the earliest
• Control of game conception
development and marketing will be
• This pressure will lead to
Adapting to change
The gaming industry must adapt to change
Another lesson from evolution is that
complex environments provide many
The gaming industry will exploit niches and
There are niches within the industry that
don’t exist today, and that we can’t even
We’ll see later what some of these might be
Mafioso on Facebook
Click of a mouse: invite friends
Bigger mob = more
properties, weapons, money
Profile status updates
Recreates the village
How you match up against
others, not a machine
Social element takes games to
Howard Dean used web-games to
teach democracy and increase
interest in campaigns
US Army’s arcade-style games help
Dept. of Treasury and Ad Council
created a game to teach about
importance of good credit.
Kids use Sim City to design their ideal
city for the Future City contest.
Elf Island, with Second Life-like
functionality, empowers kids to
benefit environmental causes
New applications = new
• These games are being used in new ways
• They break out of the mold of game as
• They introduce new audiences to games
• These games lack a strong social
• Bringing a social element will allow gaming
to break out of bottlenecks to growth
Bottlenecks to growth
Limited business models
– Pay to play
– Hardware and software sales
Gaming as entertainment
Gamers as nerds or dropouts
Implementing social media models
– Institutional inertia
– Low value or misleading content (spam)
– Kongregate, Facebook
Onlive is gaming on demand
High-end equipment not needed for
optimal gaming experience
Multi-user platform with social gaming
“instant community on
an epic scale”
Augmented reality games will emerge into
the real world through geocaching, such
Ubiquitous computing = everything is a
– Second Life + Google Maps + GPS
– Walk or drive, find and identify friends via
augmented reality systems
– Look inside the shop before deciding to go in.
– They’re already doing this in Japan.
• Chipuya Town is a virtual world accessible
on a cell phone.
• Users create custom avatar, for a version
of Tokyo's Shibuya shopping district.
• Companies pay $4,000 a month for ads on
• Players socialize with other avatars and
• They recruit friends, go on treasure hunts,
and attend sponsored events.
New business models
Crowdsourcing development and marketing
Games for everyday life
– Work (e.g., employment screening)
– Play (improve your game)
– Shop (optimal instore experiences)
– Drive (safer and faster)
– Dine (finding a restaurant)
– Health (learn healthful lifestyles)
– Think (mind-mapping)
The Gaming Economy
Gaming is the new communication.
Gaming as communication
• Tough challenges create exciting
• Where gaming and social media intersect,
a gaming economy is emerging
• Gaming can be the currency of this
• Combined with social media gaming will be
the new paradigm for communication