Facebook: the New Gaming Console

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The US$52 billion facet of life that has become the gaming industry is still growing at an amazing momentum. Homes are no longer complete without a gaming console or two. Since the birth of video games, the rapid growth of the industry has made a lot of people addicted, some even rich. As much as we want to credit Nintendo Wii for this booming trend, the gaming developers rather praise the popularity of casual games. Not requiring days and days of endless gaming, casual games are those that can be played in 30 minutes or less. Targeting every age by developing a variety of games, dependent on either memory, strategy, or skill, these browser hosted games promise entertainment whether at home, school, or even work.

Joseph Olin, the president of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences himself noted that people have been playing games most often these days. Seems like everyone is more focused on deciding which games they should buy this weekend than any other dilemma there is.

Starting Line

Perhaps the biggest push that the gaming industry has ever received is from the rise of social networking sites. The main theme that these sites offer is to get connected to either people you don’t know or people you want to know. The passion of these sites, focusing on providing connecting links, involves getting two or more people interacting on the same level. What better way to make members interact than by games? Several interaction-driven games have been built on platforms such as mobile phones, live browsers, and most through social networking applications.

Before the inception of social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Friendster, etc., video games have been way different. What may seem as eons of ages ago is actually just a few years back; one simply couldn’t imagine a world without blogging. With the rise of interactive sites, attention span became shorter. No longer do people have the time to play games that consume weeks of their lives since they have to persistently tweet or update themselves in what other people are doing every so often.

What has been the trend back then was to spend 40 minutes or so roaming plains and rooms looking for a minute detail to lead the players somewhere else, is now totally unacceptable. Games are now built on finishing stages and levels within the minute. Games are no longer situated in boxes that limit the players within the virtual realm, but are now raised on playing fields designed to interact with other players around the world. This surging trend teaches developers that players now have different gaming priorities and definitions of entertainment. What may seem as the traditional, longer video games now are actually a combination of quicker mission goals and levels.

Fast Games, Faster Consoles

Several gaming consoles have caught up with these trends. The Nintendo Wii promotes gaming experiences build on shorter terminal points, and other consoles are starting to adapt as well. Microsoft and Sony are headlining with gaming consoles developed to cater quicker games online.

Game developers are as quick to adapt as society changes. With every rise and fall of a trend, games have been keen on riding the social trains. Developers now put all their effort in running after these trends rather than creating it. Following the boom of social networking sites, developers now focus on creating games that allow the players to contact other players in-game.

These casual games strive on the wave that players now want entertainment they can experience all through out without having to take a bathroom break in between.

It has been commented that the beauty of casual games lies in their honesty and shortness. People want to be entertained in the span of 10 minutes, and casual games prove to be an effective stream of quick entertainment. With thousands of individual casual games available on-line, players can enjoy one game after the other, without having to spend money and effort in buying or installing video games.

Games Come in Different Boxes

Xbox Live, a gaming platform created by Microsoft, is perhaps the right one to blame of the industry’s ascend in casual gaming about four years ago. Its gaming environment offers online gaming that served as the gateway for players to rush into collaborations. There have been ideas of games created on mobile platforms, but technology isn’t quite ready yet. As a result, these games were launched in easier ways to reach their market.

In consequence to the strong trend of finding free casual games online, game publishers and developers alike are now struggling to remain market ably competent. While content issues are increasing, and as video games’ shelf lives undergo a complete makeover; gaming companies are getting continually worried about their money makers.

The most important factor that developers look into is getting and retaining their players for video games. They are in constant search for ways to increase their market size through the boom of casual games.

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