14:52 25 November 2014
A brand new video game industry of online social gaming has boomed enough to warrant the creation of its own subculture and game development firms. The effect social gaming had on the entire gaming community was felt immediately, causing changes in the way games on all platforms and mediums were made and marketed.
In the 90s, online social gaming was limited to simplistic AOL Online games such as chess and checkers, with gradual advancements made until faster home internet speeds led to the rise and success of large-scale PC games such as Counter-Strike and online console gaming platforms such as Xbox Live.
In modern times, the term “social gaming” has become the primary phrase used in association with games that are played via social networking platforms such as Facebook. With the exception of gaming anomalies such as World of Warcraft, which at its peak boasted over 15 million concurrent users, most old-school social gaming communities consisted of a few thousand players, with popular games garnering hundreds of thousands of players. This all changed with the first true social gaming juggernaut, Farmville, which at its height of popularity had more than 100 million active users on Facebook. Social gaming had finally found a way to attract what we now know as a casual gamer, which in turn required a shift in the market in order to accommodate this new customer.
The first change came in the development of the games themselves. Complex games were abandoned in favour of simplistic titles that could be churned out quickly. Social game developers knew that this new breed of gamer would be hard to hold on to, as each competitor in the industry was also working on their own social games, so the new goal for game makers was to create titles that could grab a casual gamer’s attention for half a year or less, while having a new title ready to take its place once attention dipped.
As these industry changes took over, so did the habits of gamers. With the popularity of mobile device gaming also on the rise, gamers now have more opportunities to play than ever before. School bus rides for younger gamers used to be filled with thoughts of what game they were going to play on their console or PC when they got home. Now they can play games using their phones during the ride. These games were designed to be played in short sessions, allowing a gamer to easily integrate social gaming into their lives.
The most popular social game that has been played in local venues for several decades is bingo. The game’s move into the digital world seemed a natural one and the ability to play bingo games online was met with great enthusiasm by bingo fans. The social aspect was covered by the use of chat rooms provided on the site. The world-renown bingo calls and banter, things that fans of the game value the most, were a good fit for the lively discussions in chat rooms.
These user-friendly games have also lead to a massive change in the standard gender of a gamer, with more than 40% of all video game players in the world now being female. What this has also created is a larger, more diverse community to interact with in online social games.
With gaming now a part of communication outlets such as social media sites and mobile devices, the ability to chat with other gamers and share various experiences with them has also grown. This further indicates why social gaming in general has become the preferred leisure of choice for a wide demographic that stretches from young, casual gamers all the way up to older, more seasoned veterans.