We all used to play our video games at home on our TV through our PC or home video game console. Not anymore. Now there are many more choices to get your video game fix. With mobile phones and portable devices like iPads and Kindles portable gaming has really taken off. U.S. revenue for games on iPhones and Android devices topped a billion dollars in 2011. It was only $500,000 in 2009* – 100% growth in just two years. Conversely home video game console sales have been declining for the last four years. Part of this is because these consoles have been out a long time and are coming to the end of their cycles. But the main reason is because of the rise of mobile and social gaming.
Social gaming really took off with the introduction of Facebook. You can play games on your phone with apps or you can play them through Facebook with companies like Zynga, Playfish and Playdom, to name a few. Social gamers now represent a large and powerful segment of the population with significant disposable income. For example the Market cap for Nintendo is $16.3 billion with annual sales down 36%. As opposed to Zynga at $4.5 billion with annual sales up 91%. There are 35.2 million people playing Zynga Poker on Facebook every month**. You can see the trend of where gamers are going!
Will this continue? I would guess yes and so would the people at Tap.Me. They are targeting the mobile game market by trying to make gamers game for ads. The idea behind Tap.Me is to find the most non-intrusive way to make ads in mobile gaming as beneficial as possible to the gamer and the advertiser. Most people just click past ads, or click them by mistake. Tap.Me creates context around advertising, tying the characteristics of a brand to a game’s mechanics through optional “power-ups” that give the user a bonus in the game and potentially in real life as well. For example, a user chooses a speed bonus sponsored by Redbox (who the group has already struck a deal with, though the specifics haven’t been made public) and could possibly see a discount on their next rental. And while the average engagement rate of a regular banner ad might be around .03% per day, Tap.Me has found that users opt in nearly 5% of the time. Certainly not the majority, but it is unquestionably a giant leap forward.
The moral of the story? Know where your audience is heading and then try to find a way to reach them.