Facebook and Instagram Chatter Suggests Middle-Aged Men Are Getting Back Into Arcade Games

Reliving their Pac-Man days?

Understanding social chatter—particularly on Facebook with its roughly 1 billion daily users and Instagram, which Gen Y loves—is becoming increasingly important for marketers.

Produced by Facebook IQ, the Hot Topics data visualization below measures the topics that drove disproportionately high volume on each platform last month. It marks the latest segment in a Facebook-Adweek series that began in September. (Scroll down for analysis.)

 

 

 

 

From the charts, it appears that more people—men of all ages, in particular—are discussing video games on social media. For instance, "arcade game" popped on Facebook among older men, while "strategy game" was big on Instagram with mobile-minded younger dudes. Is gaming becoming even more mainstream, pulling in Gen Xers who haven't played since their Pac-Man and Asteroids days? It's possible.

And consider what virtual reality headsets could do to gaming's popularity. Being able to experience an intergalactic adventure or a simulated tennis match (as just two examples) in 360 degrees seems to be, well, game changing. On that front, Facebook's F8 conference this week is expected to entail news around the company's Oculus Rift, which is expected to become widely available for $599. The cyber goggles actually hit the market online for preorders three months ago and sold out within 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, St. Patrick's Day and Easter generated notable social chatter last month as did Super Tuesday, International Women's Day and March Madness.