Social media has invaded most aspects of our lives and it was only natural that it would have an impact on the gaming industry. The gaming industry did not develop with social media in mind and social media did not develop for the gaming industry, but over time they have become interlinked.
How are gaming and social media linked?Online gaming has become a very popular option with many games having an online version, either through their own website or through a social media site like Facebook. Many people like to play games on their mobile phones or tablets as they are on the move and games have had to evolve into mobile versions too. The fact that more and more people are spending a lot of time on their mobile phones means that the games companies would be missing out on a huge section of society if they ignored them as potential customers/players.
A lot of people who use their mobile phone or social media sites to play games would not necessarily consider themselves gamers. Even simple games such as the Facebook version of Scrabble has encouraged people to play and interact with others, even if it is just those who are on their friends list.
How have gaming companies adapted?Companies that produce gaming consoles have gone from producing units that simply attach to the TV to producing units that are interactive – allowing Internet access and contact with other players around the world. Some gaming consoles will also give access to social media accounts.
People want to be able to share their successes when they play games and social media is the ideal platform for this. Most of the games are set up so that updates on progress can be displayed on the user’s home page or news feed and users can quickly develop a strong network of friends and acquaintances that share the same interests.
However, users also expect that the gaming experience is going to be top quality when they play via a social network site. Mobile phones have been fitted with the best quality graphics units so when accessing the games on social media sites the quality of the experience is just as good as when using a console, albeit slightly different.
Gaming companies have had to develop games that appeal to a wider customer base because of this change in the industry. Mobile friendly versions and social media versions are an important part of the industry now.
An example of a company that has adapted to change is Blizzard. Bobby Kotick arrived at the company when it was struggling to survive against larger rivals and has turned it around to fit the market. It is now one of the most successful gaming companies around and offers titles such as World of Warcraft that are very popular with serious gamers.
Recognizing the potential of social media when developing games is one of the main things that any gaming company should do. People are no longer limited to their gaming consoles and offering games in different formats, particularly those that can be accessed through social media, is important to reach a wide range of customers.