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Game On: Energize Your Business with Social Media Games by Jon Radoff

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Chapter 2

Games Have Changed the Business Playfield

In this chapter, you’ll learn:

  • Why games are popular today
  • The common themes that emerge from thousands of years of games
  • Cultural trends that are driving social gameplay
  • The types of people who should be curious about the impact of games

Once upon a time, there were gamers and nongamers—and then things changed. Those who had grown up with microcomputers, Dungeons & Dragons, Nintendos, and Ataris started to have their own families, and their children began playing games.

In the fall of 2008, the Pew Research Center surveyed American teens from age 12 to 17 and learned that more than 97 percent of teens play games. Meanwhile, some of us who grew up playing games had become engineers, marketers, and business leaders. There were entire populations of people who missed out on games, which were now created for new audiences—women, families, and retirees—who had been overlooked by the game industry. The result was the social game market, one of the fastest-growing industries in history. By the middle of 2010, Zynga, the largest company in this new industry, had reached more than a quarter billion users per month in only three years of operations.

If a social game is defined as a game that people play with their friends, social games have existed for thousands of years—so what combination of social, cultural, and economic factors have converged to make them so popular now? This chapter discusses some of the changes happening around ...

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