The Opportunity at the Intersection of Social Entertainment, Social Gaming and Social Commerce
I recently wrote about how niche social networks are turning to social gaming and social entertainment and mentioned Hi5, Tagged and Ibibo as examples (now Friendster has also ventured into social gaming).
Ravi Mehta (@ravi_mehta) from social gaming platform Viximo has shared some thoughtful comments on how niche social networks can leverage social gaming, using MyYearbook, Quepasa and Fubar as examples.
Ravi argues that niche social networks often have a tight-knit community with higher engagement, and therefore get higher ARPUs for similar social games, as compared to Facebook. So, niche social networks should build a partially open platform with a site-wide currency, develop a curated portfolio of social games and other applications that appeal to the network’s core community and promote the behaviors that are central to the network’s appeal and promote these applications as core features.
I think the underexploited sweet spot in ‘social’ is the intersection of social entertainment (film, TV, music), social gaming and social commerce. Many niche social networks are seeing this opportunity and pivoting to benefit from it. However, they will need to do several things right to truly tap into this opportunity –
- Integrate their platform deeply with Facebook and Twitter, to deepen their discovery-driven social graph and grow virally.
- Build a portfolio of three to four entertainment-focused games on the lines of Booyah‘s Nightclub City, Conduit Labs‘s Music Pets, Loud Crowd and Super Dance, Heat Wave‘s Platinum Life, Foo Brew’s JamLegend, Acclaim’s RockFREE, Instant Action‘s Instant Jam and TheBizMo‘s Hit or Not. Zynga has recently bought Conduit Labs and closed Music Pets and Loud Crowd, leading to speculations that it might be launching its own music game.
- Create celebrity-endorsed virtual goods and connect the game with artist fan networks, verified artist profiles, music sharing, talent contests, and online soaps to deeply integrate celebrity-fan interactions into the game experience. Ibibo is close to getting this right; I like their integration of the film ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai‘ with their Mumbai Underworld social game.
- Start experimenting with entertainment-focused location (see Get Together) and intention (see GetGlue, Miso and Philo) apps on the iPhone and Android platforms after the above pieces have fallen into place.
What do you think? Will niche social networks be able to benefit from the opportunity at the intersection of social entertainment, social gaming and social commerce? What else will they need to do to build a strong positioning in this space? Do share your insights in the comments below.