Joos Rietveld from Gamasutra.com has a great blog post on three pretty cool things that are inadvertently shaping the social gaming segment. His article is great, and you should read it if you’ve got the time, but, here is an overview of his post:
Mobile Gaming: The overwhelming popularity of smartphones is pushing social gaming to new levels of popularity. An awful lot of those smartphones are Apple or Android devices and according to Rietveld, “both operating systems offer app stores that stimulate data usage as 94 percent of iPhone users downloads apps (games included) and 89 percent of Android users do so.”
LBS and the Gamification of Where You Are: The second trend Rietveld discusses is the impact of location based services. The drastic increase in LBS-related applications is probably best illustrated by the skyrocketing success of FourSquare this past year (growing from 100K to 4.5 million users). LBS technology enables social games to pass through that membrane between digital reality and physical reality; expect way more innovation here.
Marketers Want a Piece of You: The third trend that Rietveld touches on is what he calls “advergaming.” This has evolved from relatively weak product placements to rich media experiences with features, plotlines and characters shaped by brands. Marketers are finding that games provide a great way to deliver significant value to the consumer while getting a product message across to them.