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Gaming and Social Media

Tonight I’m going to talk a bit about what I have observed in the gaming industry with relation with social media.  As a marketer by profession, I deal quite a bit with social media and how users interact with companies, brands, products, and even other customers.  I’ve noticed some interesting trends when it comes to gaming.

Twitter

I’m a huge fan of Twitter and what companies can achieve when utilizing it properly.  I recently wrote about SOE’s magnificent use of Twitter to essentially open a window for their players to glimpse through.  When Twitter is used to engage, not broadcast, and the company is represented more by its employees, the result is something that I feel now trumps what the forums were to the gaming industry 5-10 years ago.

Something interesting is happening.  I’ve ceased to use official forums for games, and all I do is follow their company and employee accounts on Twitter.  I tweet directly at devs and they tweet back.  Neither of us have to give much thought or spend a lot of time because we’re restricted to 140 characters.  I can find what I want way quicker.  I lose some of the deep discussion, but I gain what I need in this day and age: bite-sized nuggets of the most important information.

Hashtags, trends, etc. hold little real value.  The gimmicky parlor tricks of social media are on their way out.  The true value is found in building a bridge so that “the big company who makes the games I play” becomes “Dave and Colette.”

We mustn’t forget about customer service.  I had two recent experiences with social media that have revolutionized the way I view the future of companies serving their customers.  The first wasn’t gaming related; I was struggling with a recent experience I had with DISH network.  I tweeted at the company, and a person responded on their help account.  He got me connected right away to another real person who solved my problem.  A similar experience happened when I had a billing issue with SOE — they pointed me right to a resource buried deep in their help center that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Twitter is interaction, and interaction is paramount.  The future of Twitter is in streamlining and improving how companies can interact with their customers.  That’s a future the gaming industry is going to embrace.  Mark my words.

Facebook

My boss and I often disagree about the future of Facebook.  I absolutely believe that Facebook as a social media platform is on its way out here soon.  Facebook as a company that creates solutions based around the idea of seeing what other people are up to, however, has a definitive future.  Look at their recent products and acquisitions: Paper and Whatsapp.

I don’t see much of a future for Facebook and the gaming industry.  I look at Facebook like television; that can be interpreted many ways and I probably mean all of them.  Fewer and fewer people are going to associate their personal lives with video games, and those who do are the ones who spam their wall with the Facebook games anyway.  The gaming industry has already pulled begun to and will pull out of Facebook as a tool.

Live Streaming

I think there’s a massive future for live streaming.   I predict a shift, though.  Right now individuals are gaining personal fame and attention for building up their own channels.  I may regret putting this idea out there, but just wait until games have their own ‘hubs’ and users tap into those hubs to stream the games out to communities built around company channels.  There will always be influencers with large audiences who we as marketers can tap into, but there is an enormous amount of unrealized potential around the idea of companies developing their own stream communities.  There’s a reason more and more companies are creating channels and consoles are building in streaming.  We’ve only seen the tip of an enormous paradigm shift.

Part 2: Reddit.  I have a lot to say.

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Comments

  1. Oh, when you do part 2, can you start with explaining what Reddit actually is? It seems I spent too much time becoming an old fart during Reddit’s formative years that I missed understanding what the hell out is. It’s like a Web forum without a specific topic or something?

    I’m only half joking. I never understood what gap reddit is filling that made it successful. Come to think of it, maybe it’s like usenet for people born after 1990?

  2. Twitter’s global impact is vast. Governments use it to communicate for crying out loud. But (correct me if I’m wrong) Twitter makes no profit at all – rather it makes a massive loss and as yet no-one has a viable monetization plan for Twitter.

    Twitter is basically a Social Good like education or a clean water supply. Now we know what it’s like to have Twitter none of us wants to go back to not having it. But what happens if they can’t come up with a way of making it pay?

  3. @flosch: I’ll fill it all in for you in an upcoming post. :)

    @Bhagpuss: Twitter has been ramping up their advertising program and recently expanded it to allow small businesses to advertise with lower budgets. Previously they were only allowing larger corporations to advertise.

    I would have to look more closely at their stock and latest reports to know more about their company’s profitability.

  4. Hello Keen, I have been reading your forum for some time but have never posted before. I have definitely noticed this trend and I think it is a negative trend. Although I love SOE games, I have had a lot of issues with the company’s choices over the years. One of them is the over use of social media.

    Facebook and Twitter are great ways to get your message out to wide audience but it should not be at the expense of your own website. I always disliked that I would have to check multiple sources for info on one product. Post the info on your own website and then use twitter and facebook to pass along that same info.

    There are still a lot of my friends, 35-45 age range, that do not use any of these tools or websites. I do understand that I might not be the target demographic. If you only use those avenues for annoucements, there are going to be a lot of gamers that never hear it.

    Topauz

  5. @Topauz: You bring up a very, very valid point. I think, regardless of social media’s increasing influence, that official websites should have the tools and resources necessary to fulfill 100% of a customer’s need for interaction.

    I’ll speak on this more in a post I’ll publish today, but I do not see blogs being utilized enough by gaming companies. A nice development blog would go a long way.

  6. I expect that in 5 years Twitter will be as relevant as MySpace is today. Facebook will be a more popular but equally relevant MySpace. Society as a whole loves easy to understand and ‘trendy’ stuff, yet it also loves to jump to the next thing. General usage trends for both platforms suggest this is already happening.

  7. Even if twitter finds itself gone in 5 years, the method of communication will remain the same: Less and more efficient.

  8. Great insight, Keen. I really liked the livestream ideas and your predictions for the demise of Facebook – I hope you’re right about both. That said, I feel like a solid replacement is needed for Facebook to truly fade away. As MySpace was to Friendster and Facebook to MySpace, I’m still hoping to see something new come about that will eclipse the drivel and repetitious BuzzFeed-like links that constitute 90% of all Facebook interactions. – RH

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