07th Feb2020

How Social Media Has Become Vital to the Gaming Industry

by James Smith

The connotations of online gaming have changed dramatically over the last decade. Once seen as an anti-social pastime enjoyed exclusively by teenage boys, the gaming industry is now a billion-dollar sector with a global community of millions. So, what’s driving this change?

Like most aspects of our lives, online gaming has been completely transformed thanks to social media. Sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have made gaming more accessible to a generation of players which lives and breathes the internet. Today’s gamers know what’s trending on TikTok and where to look for a new script for automatic likes on Instagram – and the gaming industry has embraced this obsession with social media. Let’s take a look at how social media has changed, and become vital to, the world of online gaming.

mobile-games

We Can Publicly Share Video Content

Before it became so easy to upload videos onto social media, gaming was a pretty solitary endeavour. If you were unable to complete a challenge or level on a video game, you had no choice but to struggle through and find a solution on your own. Now, we have thousands of gameplay tutorials and even livestreams available at our fingertips. With help from professionals only ever a click away, getting stuck is suddenly a thing of the past.
Tutorials have a greater impact than simply putting their viewers’ minds at rest, however. The gaming industry moves rapidly, with new releases and downloads always available. Players are able to keep up with this pace by finishing games more quickly, which means they can move on to the next game faster. As a result, we’re playing more games now then ever before.

Games Are Integrated Into Social Media Sites

Social media doesn’t just change how we play online games – it also changes where we play them, too. In November 2016, Facebook first launched its Instant Games feature on News Feeds and Messenger. Initially offering 17 games, with no capacity for adverts or in-game payments, the app currently offers more than 1,000. It’s also now possible to livestream your gameplay to friends or connections, while the integration of payments has fully monetised the platform.

It Creates Online Gaming Influencers

Think of your typical Instagram influencer, and you’re likely to picture a fashion blogger or aspirational lifestyle coach. But there’s also a huge community of online influencers who have shot to fame by sharing their love of gaming on platforms such as YouTube and Amazon’s livestreaming service Twitch TV.

The Swedish influencer PewDiePie is arguably the most famous online gamer. With more than 100 million YouTube subscribers – and a staggering 16 billion views – he was at one point the highest paid influencer on the platform! The popularity of gaming influencers helps to drive the industry; they’re able to recommend and advertise games to millions of followers, helping to decide what ‘the next big thing’ is. Social media is therefore a vital tool for members of the gaming industry – both for brands launching marketing campaigns and players in search of trustworthy reviews.
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