Social gaming whether on the web or on smartphones has not just captivated the attention of teenagers but adults as well. Women especially who were indifferent to PC and consoles or hard core gaming as one can call it have taken immense liking to these games that are to their taste. Women make up for 53% of mobile gamers which shows how these games have changed the market demographics.
The gaming industry as a whole broke nearly $75 billion last year and if Gartner predictions are to be believed then sales will exceed $110 billion over the next four years. No matter how annoying you find those Farmville requests from your friends who want you to save their un-alive and un-dead animals, the fact is that gaming on Facebook has become a big business.
Social games put out by companies like Zynga, maker of one of the most popular Facebook games “FarmVille” and “CityVille,” helped the industry grow to almost $12 billion in 2011. Analysts expect that with the rise in sales of smartphones and tablets more and more people will find themselves playing and even paying for virtual goods and digital subscriptions.
The smartphone and tablet market could control 20% of the market share by 2015. Mobile gaming industry revenue is projected to reached $8 billion last year, and that figure is expected to soar to $11.4 billion by 2014.Games are the most downloaded apps on smartphones and in the Apple’s iPhone App Store games top the list of the paid-for apps accounting for a massive 72 percent of all downloads of the top 300 most popular apps there.
A recent report by Nielsen, a game quality assurance and analytic group, shows that an iPhone user spends around 15 hours on average every month playing games. Android users spend 9.3 hours monthly average while other smart phone users were at 7.8 hours. Overall around 64% of people who download applications installed a game in the past 30 day period making gaming apps the most popular genre of apps.
The market players when it comes to social games are no more than about 10 and obvious for every one to see. Rovio is the creator of the smashing hit game “Angry birds”,Kabam (Kingdoms of Camelot), Rumble Games (KingsRoad) and last but not the least Zynga are all names that have made spectacular success stories on facebook. In Pakistan White Rabbit has the distinction of becoming a partner and making it alongside big names like Atari and Kabam in the list of 6waves which is the largest facebook game publisher in the world.
It is infact the only Facebook gaming studio from the entire South Asian region, to get featured in the list of key social game developers. It is funded by 29 year old Hassan who is a Pakistani-American entrepreneur and broughtPakistan’s first facebook game “Feline Frenzy” in early 2010.
With all the hype surrounding gadgets like smartphones and tablets people increasingly prefer the virtual world to real world. There has been an ongoing debate about social networking and the impact it has on the real life relationships of people.
In theUSit was found that nearly 50 percent of girls between the ages of 8 and 12 are pouring $260 billion to the Internet for entertainment and social gaming. Once they are hooked average playing time doubles from 38 minutes to 1 hour and 18 minutes.
Research indicates that consoles and PC gamers are still mainly males but social gaming has become the forte of the ladies since social gaming is more interactive and engaging because it involves friends/other people as well.
Many popular mobile games like “Words with Friends” encourage people to play against others via social networking sites. The social aspect of these games continues to draw in more women and girls and the developers have not let this fact escape. They have started creating more titles that would target the female market out there. Capcom a Japanese video game firm, known for creating the top-selling “Resident Evil” series, is now building its way into the mobile gaming world with games such as “Smurfs’ Village,” which may hold more appeal for female players.
Even though Social gaming unlike console gaming is more interactive and helps cultivating friendships, it is not without its cons.
For instance people loose their sleep over it. They end up being so irritable that others start avoiding them. When it comes to this people are said to be addicted to gaming. They start spending so much time playing that their real personal relationships start deteriorating and they don’t even notice until it’s too late.
There is a longstanding debate between virtual social interaction and it’s impact on real interaction in our world. Some people are of the view that being too engrossed in social networking sites and gaming leads a person to become sort of a recluse who lacks proper etiquettes and manners. Others are of the view that virtual interaction and experience with people allows them to overcome their shyness and get confident enough to replicate their success in the real world. So I suppose in this matter as in others it is always best to tread the middle path. Excess of anything is bad!