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.
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.
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.
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.