Social gaming through mobile devices provides challenge to consoles

by PYB James | Dec 01, 2010

More and more gamers are participating in social games through smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, providing a stiff challenge to the games console market.

Recent trends indicate that consumers are spending less on traditional games consoles and individually purchased games, whereas cloud based social gaming via social networks such as Facebook is on the rise.

That is great news for smartphone and tablet manufacturers as 3G and wifi internet access becomes increasingly prevalent and affordable, allowing gamers to connect and play whether they are at home or on the move.

Access to games is also becoming cheaper in many instances, with social games often subsidised by advertisers and sponsors such is their mass appeal.

Marketing Week reports that Farmville and Mafia Wars creators Zynga have made the fastest-growing game in history this month, with CityVille reaching 26 million players in less than a fortnight. That total has subsequently swelled to more than 50 million in a matter of days.

That global figure of participating CityVille gamers is equivalent to almost the entire UK population, so it is no wonder that advertisers and sponsors are paying attention.

Meanwhile, those sorts of figures will be keeping games console manufacturers on their toes. There has been great innovation in the console market this year – the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 release in November being a perfect example – but manufacturers of gaming devices may soon need to make their products fully compatible with mobile social gaming if current trends continue.

Brands are increasingly subsidising game development and with the sophistication of games which can be played through networks such as Facebook consistently on the up, gamers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to web based multi-player games in 2011.

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