Social media, design and technology with a twist


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Ever played Words with Friends on your iPhone, helped harvest a friend’s crops on FarmVille or put your sports predicting expertise to the test on ESPN’s Streak for the Cash? If so, you are part of the 20 percent of U.S. consumers that have participated in social gaming.


According to a study released last week by The NPD Group, a leading market research company, roughly 56.8 million Americans have played a game on a social network in the past three months.

What makes a game social?

Social games, which are shared through a user’s social network, have three core elements summarized in this post from Social Media Examiner.

  1. Social graph data is an aggregate profile of revealed preferences such as your friends, interests, demographics and lifestyle information.
  2. Game play should be casual and designed for short duration, leveraging-high frequency and brief visits.
  3. Games are usually free to play with revenue generated through virtual goods.

Who is playing social games?

According so Industry Gamers, the average American social game player is below 30 years old, with gender demographics split almost evenly between men at 45 percent and women at 55 percent.

What’s next for social gaming?

The growing world of social gaming, which generated $500 million in revenue in 2009, is getting a boost from companies like Google, which announced early this month that it was buying social network app producer Slide and reportedly made an investment in Zynga, the company behind FarmVille, and Disney who acquired social gaming company Playdom.

The NPD study also noted that 10 percent of social gamers have spent real money on virtual goods and 11 percent said they are likely to purchase virtual goods in the future. Last year, virtual goods brought in $2.2 billion dollars in revenue. In 2011, it is expected that advertisers will spend $293 million on social games and applications.

What does this mean for brands? Would you buy virtual goods from a social gaming application?

Written by René Smith

August 30, 2010 at 4:58 pm

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