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Twitter and the Gaming Industry
Just like every other business in the world the video game industry has jumped onto the twitter fad. I’ll admit that I don’t use twitter very often. I wish that I utilized the tool more because it actually does a great job of keeping me updated with what’s going on in my favorite games. I just am not a big fan of social networking sites. But when developers announce a new title, or new DLC it’s always publicized on their twitter accounts. My friends who don’t follow any other gaming news source keep up to date with what’s going on in the gaming world just by following a couple big name developers.
But Twitter is becoming more than just a powerful communication tool for developers and publishers. It’s become a way for gamers to share their video game interests and achievements.
Last week I was playing an indie game called Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. The game prompts players to update their Twitter in-game. It has a pop-up window when you learn new secrets and finish levels that ask if you’d like to share your experiences with a Tweet. This is a super smart feature for developers to add. It’s free grass roots marketing; having players broadcast their experiences to their friends and family because they are interested in the video game.
Adding the ability to make Tweets in-game is an idea that I think could spread to other games and systems. If it’s easy to add I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing bigger named titles following suite. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP didn’t make the Tweeting mandatory; it merely gave me the unobtrusive option to share what I was doing with my friends. And if there is a possibility for companies to get free marketing without upsetting their fans then I can’t see how this idea won’t spread.
This idea could be implemented in all sorts of ways. When I have a great K/D ratio in Call of Duty I wouldn’t mind being able to Tweet my end game stats. When I make game changing choices in Mass Effect I’d like an easy way to tell my friends what decisions I’m making. When forming a party in any multiplayer game it would be easy to send out a Tweet from my in-game browser and see if anyone would be interested in joining.
And I don’t think it the idea would stop at video games either. Consoles like the Xbox 360 already have downloadable Twitter apps. It wouldn’t take much to incorporate Twitter into other areas of the Xbox 360. Like when players get in-game achievements. If Microsoft gave players the ability to share their achievements on Twitter I think it would be a big hit. Not only does it continue with the free marketing, but it gives players a sense of accomplishment that surpasses just their Gamerscore going up. Twitter transcends communicating with just the console and broadcasts what I’m doing to my friend’s laptops and iPhones.
I’m not a big fan of social networking. But I think that if developers continue to incorporate it into video games it could be an extremely useful and fun tool. Everyday social media is finding new ways to be used in a variety of mediums. And these new ways get me more and more interested in finally using my Twitter account. The fad might not get off the ground, but if it does don’t be surprised if you’re sending out Tweets from the start menu of that next big title.