Facebook Gaming survey shows casual gamers are important to metaverse growth
Gamers are bombarded with press coverage of the metaverse, from thoughts to product announcements, but what do they really think about it all? Facebook Gaming and Newzoo have teamed up to launch a 2022 survey to better understand player sentiment, from what they think about the press to what they expect from technology, products and developers development — and most importantly, how that perception varies among gamers, from ultra-casual players to AAA consoles, publishers, and developers.
During a virtual session at GamesBeat Summit 2023, Stephen Gray from Facebook Gaming at Meta shared the lessons learned from important industry research. He then discussed with Tim Lion, Head of Game Marketing for Facebook Gaming at Meta, and Alexis Pamboris, Research Partner at Newzoo, about the future of the metaverse for gamers.
“The goal of this is to build industry knowledge to the point where we can offer some advice to developers,” says Gray. And in the course of their research, they learned that gamers’ willingness and enthusiasm for the metaverse is immense and success depends on meeting your consumers where they are in the game. their metaverse.
Here’s a look at what they found – and what it means.
Gray explained: The survey covered six markets and tapped respondents who play at least an hour a week on any given platform. They ended up with four segments: casual gamers, two separate mid-range groups (one leaning more towards casual and the other more serious) and really hardcore players. The survey delves into player sentiment, but Gray highlights four key points:
- About half of gamers know what a metaverse is — but that number is driven by hardcore gamers. About 50% of respondents expressed excitement about it, but again, that reaction varied among gamers.
- Gamers are already engaged in super-universe and contiguous tech experiences, with about a third using VR and AR, and nearly half using cross-platform play.
- For the heavy gaming aspect, players are excited about playing the game, while casual players are more interested in diverse non-game related experiences like virtual travel.
- Gamers are familiar with cryptocurrencies and NFTS as they are in the metaverse, but sentiment is not as positive.
Player base chart
Pamboris explains: “The main goal of the survey was to disrupt the metaverse spectrum of knowledge among the larger group of players, and so when designing the survey, they were very intentional in how they segmented the respondents. words, ranging from normal to moderate to advanced, Pamboris explains.
“It is based on gentle questions about motivation, attitudes, why people want to play games, what platforms they play on. There are a few practical questions in that, he said. “We want to visualize that spectrum so we can then look at the differences.”
This segmentation, as well as slicing data by verticals such as age, gender, etc., also allows them to identify key personalities, helping survey respondents — developers and businesses to cater to those groups. players of this game — make action points easier.
Understand your cohort — and a broader audience
One of the most urgent points of need for action, says Lion, is something the developers already know, but it’s something that needs to keep front and center.
“Gamers are not a monolith,” said Lion. “More and more, we’re seeing a wide variety in the game, people even if they don’t necessarily identify as gamers, but they play the game and interact, up to the people who actually identify as gamers. determined to be part of the gaming community.”
And while the industry talks about the metaverse, turning it into a buzzword and linking it to VR and blockchain, the consumer world is on a very different level, Gray said. The majority of people who are gaming don’t play Fortnite — they’re moms who play Words with Friends every day and never consider themselves a gamer.
“They don’t even know what to think about those things. It is important for us to consider this,” he added. “You need to think about the metaverse in a way that matches the expectations of the players. I know I’m a consumer researcher who says you need to do consumer research, but that’s the point I wanted to make. You really need to make sure you understand your player base.”
Why casual gamers are important to mass adoption
Gray points out that consumer response to the metaverse is what will guide its trajectory.
“The core and console will help influence us, but I think what is really more important for casual gamers will lead to mass adoption,” he said.
Understanding what these groups want from the metaverse is essential, Pamboris agrees — and key to not leaving the entire demographic behind. Core gamers and mid-tier gamers are moving much further on the adoption scale, he said, but there will come a time when casual gamers realize that an increasingly ubiquitous technology has eliminated them altogether. whole.
“All signs point to slow development, and when we talk about metaverse features for developers, then they need to look at the games they’re making and they need to say, what What can be expected in the next few years which is the new type now? he say.
In PC and console environments, it’s easy to envision that technology, as crossplay is already ubiquitous and players should expect support for that. Or it could be something similar to Epic’s recent move, which combines Rocket League and Fortnite perks and purchases for Fortnite Crew subscribers. Casual players can soon expect to be able to share scores, talk to other players, share tips, and possibly even rewards and lives in the short to medium term.
Ultimately, success in the metaverse depends on staying in touch with who your players are, their gaming motivations, and expectations. But don’t be too concerned with ordinary people and think that they are looking for Candy Crush VR.
Gray explains: “A better way of thinking about the development cycles ahead is to roll out social features continuously and make casual gaming a more connected experience — these maybe close to where you want to think about it right now,” Gray explained.
At their core, they were familiar with metaverse concepts; after all, World of Warcraft has been around for more than 20 years, along with the idea of a sustainable economy and social avatars, etc.
“This is where you can get a little more creative,” he said. “Never revolve around the crypto technology stack. Focus on making great games. Focus on a good gameplay experience and let that grow as it comes.”
Eventually, as gaming culture becomes more ubiquitous than ever, the promise of the metaverse will follow suit, Gray said.
“The future is about games being more and more integrated into our lives, and through that, the idea of a consistent digital world will naturally evolve,” he said.
Don’t miss the full discussion — See full discussion here.