A self confessed social gaming addict

I pulled together a presentation a few weeks back on social gaming and I have to say I was astounded by the meteoric growth in the past 6 months.  Here’s a few facts: Cityville had 84.2m active users 1 month after launch http://bit.ly/eWJ9Zt .  17.5m people in the UK now play some form of social game. 40% of time spent on facebook is done so gaming. What’s also interesting is that the heartland of social gamers isn’t teenagers, no, it’s women in their late thirties.  It’s clear that social gaming is part of the mass culture but have brands cottoned on to this?

Brands have already been engaging from McDonalds through to Citibank http://bit.ly/l4WiSY  and I suspect we’ll see many more in the next few months.  Interestingly, it’s not just brands.  Lady Gaga made a recent donation to the Tsunami through Zynga’s fund and is now in talks with Zynga about a potential collaboration…I think Gagaville would be a little too obvious http://bit.ly/fJL5uR

Games such as Cityville (I’m a self confessed addict) are clever because of their inherent sociability and the strong compulsion loops which encourage repeat play. Smart brands that understand the interplay between these mechanics will reap the rewards in this space. Indeed, Citibank has done well to integrate its own rewards scheme into Farmville.  Members of Citibanks Citi Thank You scheme can now redeem points for in game rewards on the Zynga platform.

The challenge for any marketer is to justify the spend in this space as it’s not a simple case of calculating reach and frequency,  it’s about understanding the value of a brand interaction within a social game.  I would also argue that it’s not about acquiring new customers but about engaging existing customers in a space where brands are welcomed (well they’re welcome at the moment anyway).

We’ll keep watching this space with interest and will update you very shortly.

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