Gaming Through Social Media
Social gaming has always been around, whether it was sitting around a Nintendo console or playing CounterStrike with friends online. But in recent years, gaming through social media platforms has become much more visible as a mainstream phenomenon. Of course, we can’t discuss this topic without mentioning Facebook games, which are now easy to play through smartphone and tablet apps as well. Words with Friends is a now-classic example of a multiplayer game that integrates seamlessly with social media, and FarmVille brings memories of tending sunflowers individually, but stopping by friends’ farms to help out, too.
More serious social media gaming is hitting the scene as well, as we see in Plyfe and Kiip, which combine social media, real life and games in just the right way. They allow users to earn real-life rewards, like merchandise, snacks and vacations, by playing games and interacting with others through the platform. These sorts of companies will expand their reach even farther as they tap into established social media networks.
Cloud Gaming Takes Off
The days of simple web games are long gone, thanks to the sudden surge in cloud computing. Now it’s possible to play huge, graphically detailed games, all without downloading anything to a computer. This transition from gaming on connected devices to gaming on the cloud is an important one because it makes it easier for people to connect with one another, given that they’re all tapping into a game run from the same set of servers.
The two leaders in cloud gaming are OnLive and Gaikai, which both allow users to play games on the cloud and connect with others at the same time. For instance, Gaikai has methods in place for people to chat with other gamers and even look in on what they’re doing, all in real time and without having to download anything. This social aspect is appealing, as is the ability to pick up the game from any device, which is important for people who aren’t tied down to a single desktop or laptop computer anymore.
The Future of Gaming: Bringing it All Together
Companies are looking to draw together these converging factors to create new gaming experiences. For example, take GFace, a new social network focused on gaming. The network is cloud-based and seeks to bring gamers console-quality play within the convenience and connections of a social network. By taking a hobby and designing a social network and gaming system around it, companies like GFace are likely to take off as people get drawn into the connectivity and ease of use.
Technology is increasingly shaping the way we spend our time, and it’s largely doing so in a way that connects us with one another. Social media’s role in the gaming world is an increasingly important one, given that technology is allowing people to play high-quality games through Internet connections alone. The connectivity has big implications for the future of gaming as people can more easily connect and collaborate on games in the cloud. With cloud hosting companies like Rackspace–a founder of the open source cloud platform OpenStack–offering high availability in their data centers, it’s only a matter of time before we see more cloud gaming choices pop up and experience a spike in cloud gaming adoption.