When you think of somewhere where people spend time online engaging in their passion, and doing it with a like-minded community, you’d probably think of social media. But this is equally applicable to gaming. Gaming isn’t a sector, category, or even a media channel. Gaming is social media; a network of people all focused on doing something they enjoy and sharing their interests with others.
While older audiences generally make for less likely gamers, a significant 65% of all baby boomers play games (for Gen Z and millennials, the figure is 92%). And our Global Digital Report April Statshot found that more than a third of internet users have been spending more time playing video games since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
If Fortnite is a social platform, its 350m registered accounts make it bigger than Snapchat. Candy Crush has 500m players and there are over 50m people playing Call of Duty Warzone. These are significant numbers. And people are not just mindlessly browsing. They are constantly engaged, invested in what they’re doing, and contributing to the community.
WHAT ACTUALLY CHANGED DURING PANDEMIC??
2020 brought massive unexpected change into the world, shutting down most countries due to COVID-19. During these challenging months, mobile games quickly rose to become one of the most versatile and accessible forms of entertainment for individuals stuck at home. People in the game industry have already started pointing to 2020 as the beginning of a new era for mobile games.
This year, App Store downloads grew by 35% year-over-year to nearly 3 billion, while Google Play installs increased significantly by 38% to 10.3 billion, leading to record growth for both stores. At the current pace, experts predict the mobile gaming industry will reach $98 billion in revenues by 2024.
One of the main reasons that mobile games have made such an impact during the pandemic, beyond being an inexpensive escape from reality, is their ease of helping people stay social while social distancing.
Party games such as Escape Team, Heads Up, and Words with Friends provide a great way for friends, new and old, to come together, share a laugh, and just have a good time. With the new reality of many of us stuck at home right now, these games can be a distraction and a much-needed source of laughter during an otherwise serious time.
Another reason why mobile games are gaining traction is their “happiness” factor.
A recent study directly linked gaming to positive effects on people’s moods. The study shows that adults who play certain video games have higher levels of happiness, and in some cases, relaxation, as a result.
Furthermore, the lead author of the study, professor Andrew Przybylski (the director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute) wrote that “play can be an activity that relates positively to people’s mental health.”
Importance Of Social Media In Online Gaming
Today, youngsters are well connected to the gaming world and they enjoy sharing their experiences on social media. In some way or the other, the majority of gamers are on social media. In fact, it is almost assured that nearly every gamer is either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat.
Gaming companies have realised that social media platforms are very useful as a tool for sharing information about new deals, rewards, launches of games and fascinating facts; which not only keep their followers updated, but also help attract new players. Moreover, gamers have now created their own version of social media in the form of Platforms like Twitch and steam.
Live game streaming technology allows gamers to capture interesting game moments with high-quality videos, and use streaming platforms to further share them with a large number of viewers. Online gaming is now more socially accessible than ever. Since the rise of multiplayer games in gaming alongside social networking, gamers can chat with people they may not know when they’re playing.
For all the above factors, gaming companies not only expanded their social media presence by getting their own sponsored page but also raised their advertising budget for these pages.
Online Gaming and Social Media are Rapidly Merging Together
Not too long ago, the social media and gaming industry remained largely completely separate, without working together to attract and please their customers. The bridge between the two common industries seems to get more blurred by the day. Let’s look at how we got to that level, and how in the future social media and gaming could rely even more on each other.
• The First Accidental Meeting of Social Media and Gaming
The marketing departments made several conscious efforts to establish the conditions required for effective cross-promotion.
It all began with immersive Facebook browser-based games such as Poker, Mafia Wars and, of course, FarmVille.
Social media administrators were looking for ways to keep users logged in and engaged. It seemed like a good idea to allow this to happen with games.
• Competitive streaks had come to light!
Game developers and members of social media soon realized how players not only enjoyed playing against each other but also enjoyed the bragging rights that came with high scores or completing a particularly tough level.
All of this didn’t take long for savvy marketers to realize that many players were so keen to do well in the games and share their victories on Facebook feeds that they would be willing to pay for an advantage.
This is how online gaming has been discovered as an efficient means of keeping people logged into their social media accounts.
• The Platforms Support One Another and Can Evolve Simultaneously
As the gaming world has changed, so has the gaming culture. Online gaming culture has begun to create its own communities, where people came together to discuss their favourite games, making a new medium of global communication possible. There are many online media platforms gamers use which are an ideal place to engage with their target gaming audience and learn about them, and one such platform is Reddit.
Reddit’s active online community is a go-to hub for gamers. Gamers use it for all kinds of things:
o Sharing detailed information about new game updates
o Researching how other gamers are navigating a difficult level
o Asking for feedback about a game and suggestions for game changes
Gamers make use of social media to create their communities and for effective communication between its members.
• Gaming Enabled Development of a Whole New Segment of Social Media
The emergence of new technologies and competitors within the gaming industry has given rise to a wide variety of different media content streaming platforms that target a wide range of traditional broadcast audiences online.
Streaming allows for a new type of social television that provides an interactive platform for audiences to engage with their favourite gamer personalities on a personal level. With the increase in professional gamers and their fan base, streaming platforms such as Twitch TV have created an exclusive new interactive internet marketplace that doesn’t require traditional broadcast methods.
The gaming industry is booming, and the professional and amateur gamers’ community is now a culture-and an industry on its own. Since the rise of modern digital culture, streaming channels such as Twitch TV are attracting rising attention and viewership among the gaming community’s active members.
Enthusiastic audiences are deeply attached to tournaments, tutorials, competitive league play and sociable chat rooms with their favourite personalities playing their favourite championships.
Game sharing sites and channels are used worldwide by gamers to share their gameplay live, collect reviews, create a community, and earn money from gaming.
Online Gaming- An Emerging Platform for Social Interactions
Online Gaming platform has emerged out as a great platform for social interactions.
Online gaming companies embrace the world of social media more than it might have been expected. Gaming communities are transforming into social networks designed around online video games. Social interaction among members of a multiplayer community shares similarities to social media group interaction.