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Social Gaming: The Next Generation of Interactive Fun

When I’m on campus, out shopping, or anywhere in public, I like to watch people.  I enjoy seeing what they are up to; what makes them happy; how they react to certain events.  Lately, everyone is glued to their cell phone.  Talking to friend, perhaps; or maybe catching up with the news?  Nope.  They’re all playing games.

It all began when I noticed my roommate constantly tapping away at his phone.  “He must have more friends then I realize,” I thought.  Then I found out the truth.  He was playing games.  His game of choice was “Words with Friends.”  A little less mindless than Pacman or Tetris, you actually play the game with people you know.  It is not only a form of entertainment, but a way to connect.  You can chat with your friends, meet new people, and even have an excuse to talk to that cute girl from English class.  Suddenly, games are not just for kids or geeks anymore.  Everyone is jumping on board and if you don’t want to get left behind, you better find a social game to fit your style.

With the rise in popularity of social gaming, virtual goods —  add-ons and special tools to customize a game — have become a valuable commodity.  People become so invested in these games, they are willing to pay money to have the upper hand.  And who wouldn’t?  Everyone from grandma to your stock broker plays social games these days.  Considering the amount of money consumers spend on entertainment, it is not surprising to spend a few dollars here or there to beef up a Farmville character.

More and more people are becoming hooked to these games.  Mafia Wars, Bejeweled, Zuma, and the list goes on.  No matter your preference, you will have friends who play your game of choice.  And if not, what better way to make some new ones?

According to Mashable, social gaming will generate a $1 billion revenue this year, becoming one of the forerunners in tech career choices.  The ease of use and extreme popularity makes social games accessible to anyone.  The rise of technology in our society will only help facilitate the increase in developers and gamers alike.  What comes next?  Mind games?  Virtual reality?  We can only speculate.  But for now, log on to your favorite game, challenge a friend, and game on!

– John

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