Casual game revenues will exceed $1 billion by 2013, predicts a report by market research firm Parks Associates.
Game companies that specialize in direct downloads should embrace social network sites like Facebook as a key strategy to continue rapid growth of the casual game market, says the report entitled Networked Gaming: Driving the Future II. Doing so as well as offering persistent identities will expand companies’ traditional target demographic of women ages 35 to 54, the report says.
"Game companies should use social networks and gamer communities as marketing and distribution channels for their new and existing games," said Stuart Sikes, president, Parks Associates. "Gaming has proven remarkably recession-proof, so as companies try to capture subscriber dollars, these offerings will serve as differentiators in a very competitive market."
These features can also build gamer interest and loyalty among the growing number of free-to-play MMORPGs, which will include over 20 million gamers by 2013, the report says. Large publishers should build cross-platform, gamer-centric networks and online publishers should also leverage open-platform efforts like Facebook Connect and MySpaceID, allowing users to enter online gaming websites with their social network ID and share their online activities with their network of friends.