Social Gaming has come a long way since Zynga and Facebook.In earlier posts, i had written about the Promise of Social Gaming and factors that determine its success: Content, Distribution and Platform.
More and more people are spending more and more of their online times playing social games with their friends. Users are willing to spend money on games that they find valuable. Marketers are exploring this avenue to build messages and engagement for their brands through the gaming media. The best advertising for gamers tends to be integrated into the game itself. The challenge here for social games developers is to figure out how to work better with brands to find contextual ways to work brands into social games.
The demographics depend quite a bit on the type of the game. Overall, social games cut across all age groups. Interestingly enough, a higher proportion of social gamers are women as against men (who have dominated gaming as a domain). Relative to other segments of games, there are proportionally more women involved in social games than one would expect.
Social gaming as a business for developers will need a lot of capabilities. Firstly, the businesses need to have the competencies with game design skills, so as to be able to integrate social interactions into the games. Secondly, there is a need for resources to support the game as it scales and grows in terms of usage on the net.
From the marketers and advertisers perspective, choice of a gaming platform depends on the objectives. Gaming is in a more strategic term, a service, which thus needs a long term perspective of the future of the gaming and benefits that it accrues for the brand. As is the case with any dynamic service, it’s important for developers to continue investing in creating new content for users to keep them interested. For instance Facebook as a platform gives the highest reach (They have over 200m people engaging with social games on a monthly basis), whereas a few niche gaming portals have a much higher level of gamer engagement and monetization. There is an opportunity for more specialized sites to succeed by strictly targeting folks who want to play games. The monetization rates in such cases on small platforms can be higher.