The social gaming market is predicted to reach $1bn in 2011, a result of investment by big brands using games to engage consumers. One of the drivers for this investment is the development of technology leading to a deeper integration of social technology and online gaming, making it more attractive to a wider audience (as shown in both US and UK research).
Branded social games and virtual world environments can provide consumers with the chance to immerse themselves in an online environment dedicated to their favourite film franchise (such as Lord of the Rings Online) or book (like Scholastic’s upcoming Horrible Histories world, based on our HuzuTech platform).
But the most important development that’s opened up the market is the ability to include a social element to games. This stops the game becoming the domain of a single player and opens it up to allow players to chat to each other, share scores and information, and effectively market the game on the brand’s behalf by bringing friends in and posting updates to their existing networks (like Facebook).