The changing face of gaming is providing new opportunities for marketers, and more surprisingly, politicians, according to a major study of gamers in Australia.
The study, conducted by online entertainment & media solutions company Spiral Media, found the increased penetration of social gaming as part of the marketing mix.
Scott Wenkart (pictured), founder and MD of Spiral, said that with the federal election looming in September, gaming is now an engagement channel given the enormous smartphone ownership among the voting public.
“In a market where 14 million people are registered to vote, online, gaming and mobile brands naturally have an enormous audience, so there is a large opportunity to reach voters by default,” Wenkart told B&T.
The Spiral study revealed that 69% of smartphone users spend a total of 30 minutes per day playing social games, with 40% of that number playing for an hour or more.
Wenkart said given the accessibility of free games and apps, political parties now have the opportunity to use existing games and apps to draw audiences and support for their own mobile applications, be it for contributions, attending rallies or disseminating policy of voting information.
“No one has ever really provided any research on social gaming,” said Wenkart.
"We interviewed 800 social gamers to find out about them and what they’re doing … not only to educate ourselves but to educate brands and organisations about how to understand this audience better.”
Interestingly, the study found that 66% of social gamers in Australia are women.
Facebook, which has more than one billion members, has revealed the number of people paying to play games on its service rose 24 percent the past year.
Desktop-game users on the site jumped to more than 250 million from 235 million in October, while it's been reported the social media giant paid a total of $2 billion to game developers in 2012.