Nickelodeon Luvs Social Gaming
Williams then offered up data from a big Nickelodeon research study into casual gamers, which revealed that “nearly half of all internet users are playing games regularly or even every day”.
He elaborated: “Moms, dads, teens are all playing casual games in droves. This shows there are huge untapped markets in this space.”
Nickelodeon has identified key audience segments, he explained, These include ‘Time Fillers’, who account for 17 per cent of the audience and play online games just for fun; the ‘Gaming Enthusiasts’, who are 19 per cent of the market and are challenge-loving players; ‘Guilty pleasurists’, another 17 per cent chunk who play games to blow off steam; and ‘Average Joes’, the 19 per cent of the audience who see games as a form of social currency – but don’t tell people about it.
Said Williams: “It’s vital to take abroad and inclusive view of who is playing casual games and give the audience a wide variety of choices in how they play. Targeting multiple demos and games-related services are the best ways to succeed in this rapidly changing environment.”
Social functions in games “has become a must have part of games – and it’s accelerating across all media, not just games,” said Williams, saying that adding social elements to games is key for all web-based casual games companies. “Players want their casual experiences to be social experiences.”
Pointing to today’s announcement of big venture capitalist spending on casual games firm Zynga, he said it was clear investors like it too. “VCs have been spending like it’s 1999 in the social games space and casual games developers are turning themselves inside out to become social gaming companies or causal MMO firms – and all with good reasons.”
“We expect the gold rush to continue over the next few years,” he said. “Casual games are becoming more about ‘us’ than ‘me’ for key segments.”
He added: “But social gaming is not the same thing as social networking. Consumers of all ages tell us they really don’t want another social network – they have enough trouble keeping up with the one they already have.”
Nickelodeon’s take on this is to push forward ‘create and share’ games that encourage user created content, like Pencilracer – and Williams said the firm will be launching more create and share games launch later in the fall as the company had seen its usage hours soar by 30 per cent after adding a mix of social features that highlighted the achievements of his sites members.
Sweet insight from Nickelodeon & their luv of gaming. UGC & Social Gaming? Not new concepts at all – I’ve been playing social Turbo 21 for AGES (well, at least since ’98), and UGC was the BIGGEST buzz word of 05/06.
The trick here is – what next level of UGC & Social Gaming is he referring to? Ooo the excitement of future offerings. There’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of exploration that can be done to improve, change, and flip the whole industry on it’s side.
Just when we all thought cell phones were going to turn into gadgets about the size of a press-on nail, Apple busts out with the iPhone, which ultimately changed how we view & used cellular phones.
That’s the beauty of the web + tech world. It’s all gadgets & sci fi, techy-techy smarty-pants & imaginations!
Let’s just hope that WHATEVER they do (“they” being anyone who presents such fun to the mass market) keep in mind safety & usability for youth. Or at least some sort of usability/safety education to help arm the masses with their own filters & systems.
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