Predicting the future of social games

Ben Parr and the staff at Mashable take a stab at predicting 5 emerging trends in social gaming. In the spirit of their predictions here are a few more trends to consider.

Prediction 1. Social Games will eventually be played on your IPTV.

The inevitable collision between social networking and television will open up an immense opportunity for developers to create innovative new social gaming experiences for the television. Whether through the consoles, web widgets, applications or some other delivery method, there will eventually be social gaming on your tv screen. You know EA is kicking around a few crazy ideas as you read this.

Prediction 2. Interest in creating digital avatars for gaming and networking will skyrocket in 2010.

The upcoming Avatar film is going to create massive worldwide interest in the concept of digital avatars. As more people learn about avatars, they will move from a niche market in virtual worlds like Second Life to the mainstream. Interest in creating/owning a cool avatar to represent yourself online will create entire new industries such as commercial avatar development, which will in turn lead to avatar auctions, gifts, beauty, bling, fashion, universal currency, etc.

Avatars are already an important component in many social games (especially in Asia) and the new 3D movie by Jim Cameron will help take interest in avatars to a whole new level.

Prediction 3. Mobile will take social game experiences into the real world.

The ability to bake incredible new technologies such as augmented reality, online video and GPS into mobile applications will create amazing opportunities for creative marketers and game developers to engage end users.

Foursquare is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine being able to organize/crowdsource large groups of like-minded gamers into participating in ad sponsored quests and competions. Similar to Amazing Race but with lots of interesting twists and hurdles presented through the integration of social network games, mobile applications and augmented/virtual reality.

Prediction 4. Guitar Hero and Rock Band will attempt to invade social networks in 2010.

It is becoming clear that the Guitar Hero music gaming business is in decline. The combination of the recession and the fickle nature of young gamers is pointing to a slow death for the industry. However, the incredible power of social networks to garner attention will be seen by the music game marketers as a way to regain the critical buzz for their products. Look for (hopefully) innovative and novel approaches to merge music games with social network games next year.


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One response to “Predicting the future of social games

  1. Very much agree with 2 & 3. Absolutely. Consider them a given.

    As for 1, I’ll be interested to see how that pans out. I definitely think that virtual social viewing will continue to rise, and begin to get built into the viewing process more (double-screening) as we see happening in the cable news business: requesting Twitter feedback during live broadcast.

    As for 4, the whole Guitar Hero and Rock Band thing, I’m not close enough to it to speak.


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