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June 20, 2011
4 Questions with GSN Digital's Peter Blacklow
Gamingis hot, ask anyone from teenage to middle age. At one time the key gamerdemographic was a teenage boy playing war games, but today the average gamer islikely to be a woman in her 30s playing social or casual games. According toone expert the social/casual gaming trend will only increase over the next fewyears, and advertisers need to be ready.
Kristina: What caused the switch from teens playing war-games to moms playing Bejeweled and Farmville?
Peter Blacklow, Executive Vice President, GSN Digital: It's funny, I think that the MMOG games were the games people talked about more, they were more prevalent, but the reality is that the more casual games have dominated the online space for years. The number three activity online for AOL users was online gaming even 7 years ago. People were playing casual games and were skewed female, 35-55 years of age. With the increased exposure that games have gotten, casual gaming is more mainstream and less under the radar.
Kristina: What is the draw to social gaming?
Peter: I think the casual gaming/social gaming terms get used similarly. I consider strategy, quick play games to be casual, and social gaming is anything on Facebook. The dominate form of social gaming has been Farmville or Mafia Wars forever, and the draw is that there is no end point.
Kristina: What do brands need to do to capture the gaming demographic?
Peter: Building a hit social or mobile game is like capturing lightening in a bottle. More and more advertisers are looking at the larger, Facebook style games as a property to itself and we're getting calls from advertisers about our Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy games who want to create custom advertising within the existing games. We're seeing very large numbers of consumers, including the traditional online gamer, moving to Facebook in huge numbers to get their daily dose of gaming.
Kristina: What trends do you see in gaming?
Peter: I'm seeing 2 major trends: 1) Competitions in games. We're seeing in our application that people like to compete while they're gaming; they want to earn virtual currency or prizes or be on the leader boards. Even if those 'prizes' can't be traded for real goods. 2) Branded titles. There is no doubt that a year or two ago there was a perspective that traditional brands didn't work in Facebook. We never bought into that; we believe those big games make great online games and that you can allow players to compete online. The Family Feud app was hugely successful, now there are Wheel of Fortune and Deal or No Deal games. We're getting comments from players, telling us that they watch Wheel of Fortune on TV and then play online right after.