The changing face of gaming
Gaming has not always had the best reputation. Gamers conjure up images of socially awkward individuals or youngsters with too much time on their hands. Nowadays, these stereotypes no longer apply. Online gaming and its incorporation into social networking has provided an acceptable platform for all types of users to feel comfortable playing games. No longer an isolating, lone experience, online games now provide a way of expanding your social circle while having a bit of light-hearted fun at the same time.
Social networking has been the catalyst for this revolution within the gaming community’s demographics. Sites like Facebook that used to cater exclusively to younger individuals such as college students now count grannies and grandpas as a large part of their user base. These older individuals who came to social media to connect with friends and family have now supposedly embraced gaming as another part of the experience. So, are older game-players actually on the rise? According PopCap’s 2011 social gaming research report, the average age of a social gamer was 39 years of age. This is probably much higher than most people would guess. This seems to show that the scales are tipping towards a less age-obsessed era where everyone can participate in gaming. Even women 50 years and older have a strong showing in social gaming. Who says you have to be young to enjoy games?
Let’s also take a look at the way in which gender demographics are changing within the gaming industry. Gaming has always been seen as male territory with a few females sprinkled here and there for good measure. The social interaction that sites such as Facebook and Google+ provide is ideal for introducing games to new users, especially female ones. Female social gamers have not only increased but are also now outnumbering male social gamers. However, when it comes to more traditional gaming platforms men still dominate, but not by much.
We looked at our flagship game, Moonbase, to see if our demographics mirrored the international experience. The majority of our players are male (74%). But females make up a large and growing segment (26%).
Age-wise our demographic is a lot younger than the typical social media game on Facebook. Still, more than 20% of our users are over 20 years of age.
The changes in gaming’s demographics are also matched by the changes in the way we play games. Games on mobile phones and tablets have turned out to be as good as the ones on consoles, PC’s and laptops. Even though laptops and desktop computers are still the primary way to get your game on, the use of consoles, mobiles and tablets is increasing as seen in the graph below. Many people now use more than one device with which to play games. This clearly shows a move towards a less stationary way of playing games since previously there was no way to take your games with you as you left home. Arcade games and console games fixed you in one place. The social interaction experienced through games was initially limited to multi-player mode and then online mode. Now one can use a handheld device to show those around you what you are playing and incorporate them into the experience. The image of gaming being a lonely hobby is simply not true.
These demographic changes prove that those who were born with the Internet, have now grown up and are challenging old perceptions and norms. This also opens up new ways of reaching out and communicating with these demographic groups. Gaming has graduated from entertaining the nerdy kid in his parents’ basement to a powerful tool that can be used to grow and promote one’s brand across all age groups. The new face of gaming has arrived.
Maxxor’s flagship game, Moonbase, is a multiplayer online strategy game that can be played on Facebook, on Mxit, on Mocospace, on Mig33, on an Android phone, on an iPhone or iPad, on a Windows 8 tablet and on the mobile web. Maxxor offers games development and social media development services to help brands to communicate with and to interact with their consumers on social networks and mobile platforms. Contact us for assistance in creating entertaining and engaging consumer applications.