Over the last week we have been discussing various ideas for social networks. Later in these discussions, we began to share enthusiasm for one particular idea – a social network in the field of gaming. Today we will give a brief overview of our idea in this field.
First, some background on this idea. The general area of gaming first arose after seeing a crowdsourced playthough of Pokemon Red (a Gameboy game) on twitch.tv. What made this pertinent to social networks was that players were collaborating to play the game – twitch had established a way to make playing a single-player game a social experience through the web. This prompted us to further investigate the social aspects in gaming.
Our main observation was that gamers are very keen to share their in-game experiences. This is accomplished through various forms – Facebook statuses, screenshots and videos, for example. On that latter example, we found that there was a huge number of videos of people playing games available on YouTube. We thus inferred that players enjoy sharing their gaming experience.
To support this claim, we made further observations on these videos. Firstly, we noticed that the view counts for these videos were, in some cases, in the millions. This indicates that gamers are not only interested in sharing their experience, but also wish to understand the experience of others. Secondly, we noticed that popular videos also prompted discussion, with thousands of comments ranging from discussing similar experiences, to criticisms of the video content. The video below is one example with over two million views.
Our observations indicate that people are prepared to voluntarily produce rich media content on their video game experiences. This gave us a strong motivation to focus our social network on gamers. Specifically, we wished to promote social interaction between people who post their in-game experiences.
The platforms we have observed so far that are used for these sharing these experiences – such as Facebook and YouTube – are generic platforms not targeted specifically at gamers. We propose a platform targeted at gamers which provides the facilities that would be useful to them for sharing and discussing gaming experiences.
In breaking out idea, we identified our stakeholders as the sharers (game players who post their experiences), the lurkers (people who view these videos) and the game developers (who are interested in the feedback which can be obtained from this network and who want to understand this market). For developers in particular, they might want to know the type of games and features that game players are interested in.
We have established that in order to identify the specific age group which is targeted by our network and the types of games that are going to be supported in our platform, a survey will need be conducted to narrow down the idea and to understand the needs of the gaming community. We will design and conduct this over the next few weeks.
Next stages: figure out why people watch, share, discuss gaming experiences, and identify similar services.