Family gaming is set to be one of the biggest growth generators in the consumer technology market with research Company Park Associates forecasting that it will generate over $1 billion a year in revenue by 2013.
They claim that online gaming companies should embrace social networking and integrate community features as a key part of their strategy if they want to continue the rapid growth of the gaming market say Parks Associates.
In their new report Networked Gaming: Driving the Future II, the firm forecasts the market for premium casual games will exceed $1 billion in revenues by 2013.
Parks Associates claims hat social and community features can help companies in casual gaming expand beyond their traditional target demographic of women ages 35-54. Offering features such as a persistent identity and integration with social network sites allows companies to maintain their core audience while broadening their appeal.
“Game companies should use social networks and gamer communities as marketing and distribution channels for their new and existing games,” said Stuart Sikes, president, Parks Associates. “Gaming has proven remarkably recession-proof, so as companies try to capture subscriber dollars, these offerings will serve as differentiators in a very competitive market.”
These features can also build gamer interest and loyalty among the growing number of free-to-play MMORPGs, which will include over 20 million gamers by 2013. The report recommends large game publishers should build cross-platform, gamer-centric networks. Online publishers should also leverage open-platform efforts like Facebook Connect and MySpaceID, allowing users to enter online gaming websites with their social network ID and share their online activities with their network of friends.