Do you own a smartphone? Do you pull out your phone while you’re at the doctor’s office or during your commute? Congratulations, the industry considers you a casual gamer. The mobile revolution has increased our demand for immersive experiences extending beyond a PC and console. As my colleague says, a smartphone is as important as electricity. We appreciate the getaway from the day via mobile games, embracing different aspects such as competitiveness, simplicity and addictiveness. Just ask the guy who created Flappy Bird, a mobile game that is as controversial and as it was successful.
Social media helped, and continues to help, influence our acceptance of mobile games, and one only needs to think back to olden Facebook and its mini-games. The onslaught of notifications for different game requests possibly still haunts you. There was a point in time these games were an important status symbol. Being ranked number 1 among your friends and other global players was as important as Instagram likes are now to millennials.
Gaming on the Facebook platform helped pave the way for us consumers wanting greater accessibility to such games. As we moved comfortably to a mobile lifestyle, companies began rolling out game applications to cater to the changing behavior of the market. Gaming applications were fully integrated with social so that users were still able to compete against friends, have their high scores visible to all, and request help from other users in the form of in-game lives or items. These multiplayer aspects tapped into our need for social gratification and always being connected to those around us.
It’s worth noting that social is not a prerequisite for success but rather an important marketing tool which builds on an existing community’s engagement with a mobile game. Social features must be strategic in adding value for players; the game itself needs to be compelling from the start to achieve the desired level of engagement.
Regardless of whether you spare ten or fifteen minutes a day or hours during the week on mobile games or you don’t play at all, it is a part of our popular culture. As is always the case, the market continues to change and it has been reported that millennials in particular spend much of their time watching persons stream games via sites such as Twitch and YouTube.
Still, it’s an exciting time for mobile gaming. The consistent innovations in technology, social media and studios’ creative content coupled with a rapidly evolving market whose tastes change faster thank a blink spells a future with infinite possibilities.
Stay tuned for the 2nd installment in my Social Media and Gaming Series…