Social media draws us into the lives of our friends and followers, with more activities and entertainment options available on social media every day. The versatility and availability of social media has grown exponentially for everyday Internet user; an Experian Media study suggests that one hour in four hours online is spent on social media platforms. Social media is set to grow even stronger across entertainment horizons, especially in the video game market. How will social gaming affect tablet development in 2014?
One aspect of development favors the investment in tablets and social games over traditional consoles and PC games. Over the next five years, Gartner Research predicts that the sale of handheld games will drop by 50% while mobile games will see a 250% increase. There’s plenty of reason why consumers want tablet and mobile games rather than consoles and handhelds, and tablet manufacturers have taken notice. Tablet and PC manufacturer Lenovo gives customers listings to browse through based on their personal and professional interests. As such, gamers can search for tablets that include word processing while professionals can look for a tablet with a good video card.
The Freemium Revolution
The days of purchasing a game for $60 may soon go the way of the dodo bird. Nearly every game on Facebook runs free of charge, and brings in revenue by way of advertisements and a “freemium” business plan. Under this plan, tablet gamers can pay for in-game upgrades or items or score boosters, usually costing no more than a few dollars. These microtransactions have caused a profit revolution for game studios, such as Finnish design firm Rovio, which pulled in $200 million in 2012 from freemium Angry Birds games. Tablet gamers love freemium play because they don’t have to pay for a game up front; developers love it because each purchase represents pure profit. Even major companies like Electronic Arts (EA) announced that they are pursuing microtransactions as part of their business model going forward in an attempt to latch onto the popularity of free-to-play tablet gaming.
The Line Between Social Media And Social Gaming
In the rush to provide customers with tablet gaming options, some companies have to re-invented the wheel to their own specifications. Video game developer Valve moved heaven and earth in order to bring gaming and social platform Steam onto tablets, even going so far as to release the platform on Linux. Valve not only wants all computer gamers (tablet users included) to rely on Steam as their window to gaming, but wants to muscle in on Facebook’s ability to connect gamers and friends with one another. Steam users can create profiles, share scores and achievements, and even sell games to other users simply by tapping a button. Indie tablet game developers love Steam, furthermore, since it connects them with a huge, established audience looking for new entertainment.