Does Social Gaming sound like more new age computer jargon that seems to mean very little. It is normal now to hear online, gaming and social in the same sentence everywhere you go. The young generations are obsessed with gaming either online using the Xbox or PS3; or simply downloading mini games online and trying to figure out which block goes where.
According to lord wiki social gaming ‘commonly refers to playing games as a way of social interaction, as opposed to playing games in solitude, like some card games (solitaire) and the single-player mode of many video games.‘ Wiki goes on to give examples of social gaming including ‘board games’ and ‘role play games’; this means social gaming extends to the non-computer world. As a child I used to play a lot of monopoly I don’t remember calling it social gaming.
For the purposes of this article the type of gaming that is the topic of conversation is ‘social causal games’, defined as ‘browser based casual games that have social network integration or elements’. These games grew from two directions, games created by independent companies that have social network functions, and games created by social networks themselves.
Earlier this year POPCAP GAMES , a brand synonymous with casual games (ever heard of Plants vs. Zombies), commissioned a survey into the casual gaming world. Its findings were quite interesting; the average social gamer is a 43 year old women, 55% of social gamers are female and 45% male; 83% of gamers have played on Facebook; and 28% have purchased in-game currency using real world money.
Casual gaming is lucrative too, one hundred million people are playing and it’s expected to make $1 billion in revenue this year. This maybe the reason why Google has just acquired SocialDeck a creator of casual games and gaming platforms. The home page of their website states:
Big news! We’re super excited to announce that someone found our social games as fun as you have – in this case, that ‘someone’ is Google. SocialDeck has been acquired and we’ve joined the Google team.
We started this company with the goal of connecting friends through social games on all kinds of exciting new mobile devices. We’ve been amazed and humbled by all of the stories and experiences our customers (you!) have shared with us.
Thank you for all your support and for being a part of SocialDeck’s success so far.
As yet no financial details have been released for this potentially lucrative deal.
This is not the first social gaming company Google has acquisitioned. Slide and Jambol were the first to be eaten up by Google. Many of you may have played Farmville and/or mafia wars well these are products of Zynga and Google has invested in this firm.
Google is gearing up for some massive social web offensive and casual social gaming will play an important part; the offensive will come as a three pronged attack. Leading the charge will be Google Chrome with its Chrome Web Store where users can buy web applications (including social games); charging forward on the right will be the Android encouraging users to play games on their phones (which will stoke the flames of mobile advertising and Google TV); and on the left ‘Google Me’, Google’s social web project which will use social gaming as a way to bring people together and stir up interest for this SOCIAL NETWORK .
If you ask me social gaming is a waste of time, but I guess that’s exactly what they are used for by the millions of us stuck in offices the majority of our lives.