How Social Media Is Changing the Gaming World

Opinion: Gaming is a $99.6 billion industry, and social media is playing an increasing role in shaping it

Not all gamers look like this
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Gaming is a $99.6 billion industry, and social media is playing an increasing role in shaping it.

According to research from Statista, the social gaming industry in the U.S. is worth $2.15 billion in 2017, while the social gaming industry in Asia is worth $2.5 billion.

In fact, research shows that about one-half of social network users play games on social media sites at least occasionally, and 15 percent of the time users spend on Facebook is spent playing games.

These statistics point to a growing trend in which social media is driving the gaming industry. Below are some of the ways that social media is changing the gaming industry:

Instant games and increased engagement

There is no doubt that we’re suffering from significantly diminished attention spans at this point in history, and social media has contributed in no small part to this.

According to Steve Dimopoulos, “With social media, many people have learned to expect instant gratification in a lot of things they do, and one of the ways social media is changing gaming is that people want their games to be more instantly available—they want it here and now.”

Catching onto this, Facebook launched its Instant Games feature, an HTML5 cross-platform gaming experience that allows people to play a host of games without installing new applications. While many do not yet realize it, this is the future of gaming.

The fact that we are becoming an increasingly impatient generation with decreasing attention spans, coupled with the fact that social media and gaming are becoming increasingly interwoven, will further drive this.

The continued rise of multiplayer games

Browser-based multiplayer games, which became really popularized due to io games, have risen in recent times. Further popularized by the rise of io games such as Agar.io and Slither.io, social media is further driving the growth of these games.

This time around, though, many are coming across multiplayer games directly in their favorite social media sites. You can expect continued rise of multiplayer games majorly influenced by social media.

More emphasis on peer involvement

When you picture the average gamer, you picture an isolated geek with no social life who spends most of his time playing games in his mother’s basement. Not anymore, though. Social media has changed gaming for good. Now, there is more peer involvement in gaming.

Alexander Carin, a former gamer who is now a lawyer specializing in divorce litigation at law firm Goldwater Dubé, has seen files where a spouse or child is so deeply enmeshed in the mutually addicting aspects of gaming and social media that it becomes a new social network supplanting their job or family: “Contrary to the average gamer, who used to be an anonymous teenager without a social life, many gamers today are actively engaged on social media—often sharing game hints with friends, uploading walkthroughs and progress videos and even discussing directions of their favorite games.”

A rise in social gaming ads

With the explosion that the gaming industry has experienced thanks to social media, it is only expected that businesses will try to capitalize on this as a means to increase exposure for their services—and indeed they have.

Social gaming ads are on the rise, and research shows that ads in social games significantly outperform other forms of social media marketing. One study found that the average engagement rate of social gaming ads is 20 percent, compared with just 0.5 percent for Facebook brand pages.

Dan Fox from Boss Laser believes that social gaming ads are a major trend to watch out for: “With statistics showing the resultant high engagement that comes with it, you can expect the interest in social gaming ads to continue to increase. This is good news for both game developers as well as advertisers that want more exposure for their offers.”

John Stevens is founder and CEO of Hosting Facts.