Games to Integrate With Real Life, Become More Social

Games to Integrate With Real Life, Become More Social

Mobile devices have shifted the profile of a typical gamer, which may likely lead to new types of game formats to accommodate these new players.

The booming popularity of mobile phones and tablets offer users the ability to play games anytime and any place, a change that has created an explosion in gaming and shifted the typical profile of a gamer, according to a new study released this week by research and consulting firm Latitude.

Instead of the stereotypical young male adolescent, the profile of a gamer has now broadened to include both men and women in nearly equal numbers, and usage levels range widely to include “casual” players as well as heavier-use players. This broadening audience may also likely entice game makers to create different kinds of titles, going beyond the screen and into physical reality.

“The gamers of tomorrow won’t be limited by platform or location. As technology becomes more seamlessly integrated with our lives, everyone will be a gamer, and the world around us will become the ultimate playing field,” said Natalie Stehfest, Latitude research analyst.

New gamers are shown to be very socially conscious, heavily engaged with the “offline” world and imbued with a strong drive to improve themselves and the world around them. Latitude found that 95 percent of surveyed gamers would like to see more games combining digital content with the real, physical world.

Future games may respond to people’s offline actions and use metrics such as location, mood or stress in a game. Augmented reality may also likely play a growing role in games, allowing players to overlay virtual environments and information onto their surroundings.

New gamers also may seek games that integrate more closely into their everyday lives. More than two-thirds of Latitude’s gamers would like games to help them achieve personal goals, and ninety-two percent sought more “life games” that fit into real life.

Many apps already integrate gameplay into their design, especially in the fitness category, but games may be able to do this in formats that go beyond the mobile phone and tablet.

The shifting profile of gamers may also mature games into a broader level of social engagement. Gamers increasingly show a desire to improve the world as well as engage in the social networks that they belong to, with 96 percent wanting to see more games geared towards positive change and three-quarter of gamers surveyed by Latitude interested in getting to know others in their communities.

Mobile platforms increasingly facilitate interaction and engagement, and games may incorporate these abilities into their design. “Scavenger” games may become more popular to take advantage of this, as well as games involving teams of people working together, coordinated by mobile technology.

Mobile phones and tablets has fueled the epicenter of gaming from consoles to simple, casual games such as “Angry Birds,” as well as propelled Apple’s iPhone to a Guinness World Record as the most popular portable gaming device. The result is that the gaming audience is changing, and new games will mirror those changes.

Latitude’s report studied 290 smartphone owners.

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