Social Media and Video Game Communities – The Symbiosis Between Them
Social media and video game communities used to be separate. Now, it’s almost impossible to picture one without the other.
We’re all at least somewhat aware of the power and influence of social media. Social media platforms have evolved into some of the most impactful socioeconomic tools in the world. While many groups use these platforms, none approach the same unique relationship as the video game community.
In the past, gaming communities were often detached from one another along with the rest of the mainstream world. If you wanted to talk about your favorite games, you had to go to the developer’s website and create an account for every single message board.
With the help of social media, the games industry and their respective communities are unified, and the social media companies are thriving as a result.
While some relationships are forced, others are meant to be. The relationship between social media and video game communities is an effortless marriage. Both are getting what they want, but what makes them so compatible?
The Gamer Niche
Gamers share common characteristics. For one, most are technologically savvy, especially with computers. Gamers, more than most, are more frequently plugged in or online. When they aren’t playing video games, they’re engaging their friends or searching for gaming-related. Let’s be honest, why else would you be reading this?
These communities — compared to traditional, physical groups— operate primarily through the internet and are naturally more exposed to social media and other platforms.
Second, gaming communities are constantly creating content. Even before social media, gamers were scouring the internet for walkthroughs/guides, forums and messaging boards, and other content.
Now, social media links to all that content in one place. This simplification has made it much easier for these communities to create and share content.
While nervous parents may label gamers as loners, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fans of multiplayer gamers regularly partake in social activities whether that be in-game chats, online forums, twitch streams, or comment and thread sections on social media.
Social Media and the Ideal Consumer
Social media and video game companies, like all companies, want to make money. The best way for a social media website to do that is by selling ad space. The companies that buy internet ad space are depending on online platforms to reach their target audience. Gamers are hit all the marks for a perfect audience.
Gamers are (generally) young. That’s great for advertising because the youth decide what’s relevant.
Companies want consumers who are active in the marketplace and will frequently expose themselves to their promotional and commercial content. Gamers fill this role because they’re always talking about new strategies, theories, and news.
Finally, advertisers want an audience who will share their posts. When the hype train is in full swing, gamers will gladly share any news they can find.
Social media sites make a ton of money off gamers. It’s a natural symbiosis. The gamers have a place to talk, and the social media sites make money from advertising.
The Social Media and Video Game Symbiosis
Social media has been the glue that connects players to the games industry at large. Before Facebook and Twitter, it was difficult for the various gaming communities to stay informed on news, competitions, and the lives of the industry’s many high profile influencers. Social media has revolutionized the gaming industry’s ability to brand and connection to one another.
Twitter and Facebook have taken up a versatile role in being a news outlet, a broadcaster, and most of all a connecting force for gaming communities. These sites have become a hub for game publishers, gaming personalities, games journalists, and esports teams, to interact with fans. These platforms do much to keep the community in the loop and engaged in gaming year round.
This increased connectivity has elevated the fame of high profile gamers turning them into legitimate superstars. Seth Abner, an elite Call of Duty player, has over 2 million followers on Twitter. Ninja, famous for playing Fortnite, was the first professional gamer on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Esports teams are also using social media to build fan communities. FaZe Clan has more than a million followers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Social Media and Video Game Streaming
So what do social platforms get out of this? Some platforms have capitalized on the gaming community by securing ultra-lucrative broadcast and streaming rights.
Twitter has become a live-stream destination for gaming. In 2017, the site announced a deal with ESL, the world’s largest esports company, for rights to broadcast 15 Esports events —amounting to about 1,500 hours of gaming content. Facebook is also hosting esports events and has recently hosted a CS:GO tournament. Advertisers flock to these large events, but social media sites know there’s more money to be made in the day-to-day.
Some gamers spend more time watching streamers than actually playing. Twitch and YouTube dominate the streaming market and its not even close. Twitch is a social gaming platform that has 15 million daily active users, with 365 billion minutes watched in 2017. Meanwhile “gaming” is the most searched topic on YouTube. In fact, YouTube’s personal channel, YouTube Gaming has more than 80 million subscribers.
It’s genius what these social platforms are doing today. By providing a space for the gaming communities to create and distribute content, sites like YouTube and Twitch are tapping into an inexhaustible source advertising space. It’s the ultimate symbiosis, in which one provides the home, while other provides the fuel to keep the home standing.