Social Networking, Online Gaming AND the future of our Industry

The online gaming industry has revolutionized the way we look at life. The Bureau of Labor predicts that the growth of software publishing, of which video game design is a part, will expand by 67.9% by 2012. This is the fastest growing industry across all sectors. Revenue from computer games now exceeds that from the Hollywood box office.
To top that off, a June 08 report estimates that Facebook, Bebo and LinkedIn are worth $15 billion, $850 million and $1 billion respectively. Therefore, the rivalry between these two software concepts cannot be denied. Let’s discuss the origin of both concepts, and consequently, the future of our industry, keeping these two IN genres in mind.
Are both followings rival competitors, or is there a similarity of sorts? Does this imply that man’s ‘company craving’ nature and his lifelong label of being a ‘social animal’ contribute to the success of both industries? If so, then what does the future hold? Will we see:
A) gaming taking over the major share of the software industry for good
B) social networking wiping off ‘fantasy world’ culture, and relating online presence to real life
C) amalgamation of both concepts (my pick)
D) something completely out of the box, eating up both industries?
One of our clients implemented an amalgamation concept-a bit too elementary and abstract, but may prove useful as a reference in this discussion.
Please cite your choices (one, from A to D) with rationale; comments appreciated. New ideas are also welcome (option D).

Please note that when I talk of competition between the two facets, I am referring to the cash inflow/investment, + the human resource captivation and utilization of each sphere.
It’s no rocket science that Social Networking has taken away a major portion of online activity time from online gaming as well, at the user end. I remember times when all we used was MIRC or messenger, but now gamers spend more than half their time within social networking paradigms(blogs, communities, profiling, making friends/clans, making public clan appearances); and spend lesser time actually playing.
A geek is no longer a geek; he is now an online celebrity, thanks to SN.
So we’re talking time + money- n these are territories that these two (and in fact, almost all business spheres) are fighting over. So let’s look at it in this context and choose our picks, A to D, as to what will grab the major market share of the software industry in the future.


  • do not believe that these two software segments are in competition at all. At least not for market share. People like to eat out, and so there is a restaurant industry. People like to be entertained, and so there is a movie industry. These industries do not compete. Indeed, they both thrive when people have disposable income, and they both suffer when people must cut back on unnecessary spending.
    If online gaming and social networking compete for anything, it would be for development resources in the form of software professionals, and as long as the supply exceeds the demand, the competition will not be very intense.
    An interesting question will be, what will happen when the supply starts dropping off? Will software developers decide that gaming is frivolous, and move to other industries? Will finding jobs become so easy, that they will not have the need for networking, and lose interest in social networks?
    So I am torn between C and D.

  • Gaurav Asthana

    I agree with Roy that these two software segments or industries do not compete. Playing and social networking refers to two different needs of people. One will not be always playing or networking, so there is always scope for both. There may be a set of people who like online networkig only, and a set of people who like only play online. But I dont think that all people will start doing one activity or other, So I will go with C.

  • I agree that C is the most likely outcome. Gaming cannot snuff out software markets that have nothing to do with gaming. “Fantasy” culture will not die out either as even if the software world turns completely reality-based people will inherently find ways to turn it into their fantasy world. Eventually, something like (D) will happen – that’s how paradigms work, but not at a speed that concerns us today – until evidence arises that indicates it may.

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