Facebook gaming
Do you have active Facebook account? If the answer is yes, here is another question: What games you play on Facebook? Just please don’t say that you don’t play Facebook games and you have active account on this Jason Hope social network. I can understand that you just don’t have an active Facebook account. After all, even though this is the biggest and most extensive social network platform with over a billion active users, it is not the only one. There are at least 5 more social networks that try to compete with Facebook in terms of popularity and user count. So it is understandable if you have an account on some other network or prefer to use some other mean of social communication. If you are reading this article, it means you are internet user.

If you are an internet user, it means you are probably in those 88% of internet users who have at least one active account on some social network. And the surveys also point out that of those active internet users more than a half (around 56%) are regular players of video games presented in social network pages. Another third of internet users (the exact number is more like 37%) are occasional gamers, which means they play video games from time to time, but are not regular, daily players. Only mere 7% of internet users with accounts on social networks never played any of the video games which can be found there, and have no intention of trying to play any video game in the future. So I think it is absolutely logical when I ask about what games do you play instead asking are you a player of video games. But let’s get to our numbers from this survey. This is very extensive survey which was advertised exactly on Facebook.

There were more questions in it, concerning the amount of time you dedicate to playing your favorite games etc. Of those half internet users who are daily players, further half (or almost half of them the exact number is around 47%) spends around 2 hours daily on video games on Facebook. This is indeed very high number because people are expecting Facebook games to be short, not time consuming. But they are all based on the fact that you need to be online and get back to them from time to time. After a while people just keep coming back to them or not leaving them at all.

This is exactly the situation with 19% of people who did the survey as they admit they spend more than 3 or more hours per day, playing Facebook video games. Roughly the same number plays the video games only an hour or less per day, which leaves some 12% who are playing the video games literally for a whole day! In fact they admit that they play video games for 6 and more hours daily. This is indeed great base of players for Facebook video games.


Video games before and after Facebook
I really think that Facebook changed the whole view on video games and gamers when it comes to general population. There are several very important breaking points in history of gaming and video games in general. Of course, I don’t think to analyze the whole history of video games and all of the factors which influenced it. I am more interested in discovering why video games became such a normal thing after the rise of Facebook. Before internet, video games were an occult hobby of few chosen youngsters, who were almost always nerds and geeks. After internet, things didn’t change much although general population became less intolerable when it came to gaming. However, video games were usually reserved for occasions when someone had to talk about all the things which have bad influence on young people; and video games became more popular as culprits than even heavy metal music, when it came to explaining bad behavior of young people. After rising of fast internet, gaming became more and more popular, and sooner it became hobby in the same niche as reading, or watching movies. Gamers were not viewed as harshly as before. But the real turning point was the invention of Facebook and its release on internet. Facebook was very good as social network platform. It was more than good, in fact.

Today it has more than a billion used accounts, together with another couple of hundred millions of fake accounts. For the first time in history of internet, so many people got connected and had the opportunity to use world’s biggest social network platform for something new and exciting. And indeed people used Facebook for something new, something exciting: they started to play Facebook games! Although I am joking about this, the Facebook gaming was indeed very important turning point. Before that gamers were not accepted into society so openly and there were still some biases against computers and video games, but after Facebook games got so openly accepted and ordinary people started playing them, those same people realized that games are indeed the same as any other hobby. After Facebook, suddenly all people were playing games, and they found it completely normal thing to do. Of course, Facebook didn’t introduce games for fun and joy, they proved to be very profitable thanks to the fact that all of them were free to play, but had options for premium features which could be unlocked only with real cash. Over the years, this payment method got standardized and effective premium currency was introduced. This premium currency was called Facebook credits and could be used in almost all games for Facebook. So you didn’t even have to spend all money into one game only. Instead you could buy Facebook credits and then use them in several different games. This is a very clever strategy as it raises the chances that Facebook users will spend the money because they know they can use the credits in several games, and not just one. Earlier, when someone would mention playing video games as his hobby, it would look strange to people around him.

After Facebook era, suddenly everybody were playing video games there, and people realized that playing video games is just a fun thing to do, like everything else we do for fun, or for hobby. And suddenly it was not awkward to say that someone is playing video games, because it was a normal thing to do, among other normal things like watching movies, reading books etc. Facebook changed it all. Another big move was moving the video games to mobile gaming platforms like phones and tablets. Introducing video games to normal phones was I big thing indeed, but with the raw power smart phones had, it was finally possible to play the games on the mobile devices which were almost the same as those on computer. At least they were the same or better then games for Facebook. This is the reason why even today this sub-class of video games usually includes release for mobile platforms and Facebook.


Gamers before Internet and Social networks
I suppose you bumped into this text because you are interested in playing video games. Otherwise you would not read a blog about video games, right? A few years (or tens of years) before, you would know what to expect from gamers. They were specific kind of people, and a really closed group. Back then gamers were really considered for some kind of exotic geeks. People considered them to be nerds attracted to some exotic hobby, such as playing video games. Over the years, more and more people started to play video games. Soon, they were considered to be in the same group with other hobbies and activities such as watching movies, reading books and similar relaxing things. But gamers were still a bit different than other groups. First of all, they needed some kind of skills before they could play video games, or so people thought (at least those who didn’t play any video game thus far). To read a book or watch a movie, you didn’t have to have any particular skill except knowing to read or not being blind. But for playing video games, you still had to possess some kind of exotic knowledge, at least in area of connecting your console with your TV or turning your computer on and off. Of course, I am joking a bit, but nevertheless gamers were always a bit different in eyes of normal population. They were always considered to be something more than ordinary people who like to pursue their hobby. Things were like this for a long time, since early 80’s when first home computers entered the houses. Over the years computers became more and more accepted, and instead being watched as some exotic piece of technology, they became more and more familiar. By the beginning of 21st century, computers were almost as usual in homes as TVs and CD players or audio devices. But still, there was some limit for gamers and their acceptation as people who “have just another hobby”. I remember those years, just a bit before social networks started to appear. Computers slowly started to become normal part of the household. People started to accept them and children started to talk about learning some computer operation in school. Suddenly, parents started buying computers because it was modern, and their children needed it for school. But the truth was that they didn’t really need the computer, and that stuff they learned in schools wasn’t really all that important. I remember one funny scene, when I visited some old friends. They just bought computer for their daughter. She was in high school, so they thought she needs the computer “because of the school, and anyway all the other children have it”. But the computer was on the table, all covered in plastic sheets. The keyboard was still in the plastic bag, to be protected from the dust, as they said to me. I remember laughing silently and thinking how they threw their money on something that will become obsolete in just a few years, like all technology is.


What happened when Facebook appeared?
Just a year later, I heard about MySpace for the first time. I wasn’t so interested, and social networks came to me only after Facebook was introduced. Even then, a couple of years passed until I was intrigued enough to sign in and make my own Facebook account. Suddenly a whole new world was opened to me. I must remind you that I was already a hard core gamer back then, with background in programming and even a bit of hacking. But I was not really interested in social networks until my sister forced me to join Facebook. I was really shocked when I joined it and discover a whole bunch of people who I knew from school, work, from my family and a lot of other occasions; all of them having an account on Facebook. That was probably the main cause for me to become more active on that social network, and even today it remains my favorite social network platform although I am active on most of popular social networks today. At first, I was focused on communicating with my friends over Facebook, but later I got used to just spending the time on it, looking through the content. And, to my surprise, it had games also. I mean real video games on Facebook? I had to try them. Of course, I was deeply disappointed after first few tries. For me as old gamer with multiple years experience in all genres and countless complex and complicate games, playing on Facebook was like playing with child’s toys. But soon I realized that more and more people are playing these games. Suddenly people, who didn’t even use computer up to a year before, started to be active on Facebook, playing games and sharing their in-game success with other friends. To my astonishment, suddenly all Facebook users became gamers to some degree. And this phenomenon brought another refreshing change. Classic gamers, who were playing video games before Facebook existed, suddenly were accepted by community as people who have a hobby, just like everyone else; only in their case, the hobby is: playing video games. The introduction of simple games on Facebook turned the whole gaming thing into normal hobby just like everything else.