Is viral the only economically feasible way to distribute a social game?
No, answered a panel of four game developers and publishers at the Social Gaming Summit in San Francisco which should have been called the “Facebook” gaming summit. Every time someone mentioned “social” gaming, someone asked the question, “Are you being social anywhere else?” The answer was always no.
That’s because by using viral hooks, the cost to acquire a player through Facebook is essentially costless. You can still pay to acquire players through Facebook advertising. None of the panelists during the session “Lessons from Leaders – Distribution” admitted they did. Although they did say they were willing to try as many realized that the viral “honeymoon” of collecting players goes very quickly soon after launch. Once it starts to settle down you have to look at other options, like traditional marketing, to gather more players.
I was thinking about how my media consumption has changed recently. Much has been written about the subject, and I’ve definitely changed my media consumption over the years. Here’s what has drastically changed:
Podcasts, not radio: I am a heavy podcast consumer (see my podcast listening lineup for 2010). I rarely listen to the radio, even though I appear on it sometimes.
All news online and via mobile: My main news channels are RSS feeds via Google Reader. Ads rarely get through and when I go to a blog, I mentally block out all ads. I can’t recall a single banner ad I’ve ever seen. I’ve never consciously clicked on an online ad. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a print newspaper.
TiVo is my friend: I never watch TV live. I always watch pre-recorded shows and zip through commercials. The only live TV I watch is sports, but that’s starting to time shift as I’m watching the Colts and Jets play right now but I’m about 20 minutes behind so I can zip through most of the commercials.
I’m sure most of you reading this blog have similar stories of shifts in media consumption. And it got me to start thinking, if a company does want to reach me and people like me through traditional media, where can they go? What is the one area of traditional advertising that hasn’t been affected by the Internet and social media? The only answer I could come up with is outdoor.